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Monday, April 30, 2007

Book Review: The Dark Dreamweaver by Nick Ruth

I recently received a review copy of this book after wandering through a series of blogs. I found out about this book from one such blog and thought to myself that it sounded really good. So I request a review copy.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though it was written for an audience somewhat younger than I am used to. I love Harry Potter, Leven Thumps, and other such novels that are written for that slightly older teen audience--the more versed groups. The Dark Dreamweaver is written, obviously for a much younger audience. The language, while at times a little advanced, is perfect for those 8-13 year olds.
That being said, the story basically is as follows:
David is a young boy from our world. He collects caterpillar eggs with his parents, pretends his a magician (the real kind, not tricks), and goes about life like any young boy does. Then one day one of his caterpillars starts talking to him. This is Houdin, a wizard who has been cursed into a constantly repeating life cycle as a caterpillar--growing, sprouting, dying, all repeated over and over. David soon learns that the dark dreams he keeps having and all the dark dreams plaguing the world are due to a dark wizard named Thane from the world of Remin, where Houdin comes from. Remin is the world of imagination, dreams, and spectrum--the curious magical glitter than allows select few people in Remin to do amazing things. Now David finds himself caught in a battle not only to save Remin from Thane's destructive path, but also to cure Houdin of his curse and save his own world before it's too late...

I found the book to be delightful. It's not a perfect book, and I think that won't matter considering the audience it is meant for. Younger kids aren't too concerned with scenes that move a little too quick. The magic of this world is really interesting too. The idea of having to 'load' wands with 'spectrum' the way you might load a gun is a neat little twist. Some of the characters are great too. Sir Head-a-lot is a guy who can change his appearance by switching his heads. Houdin, obviously, a little caterpillar. And there are more characters too, all lovable in their own way. I couldn't help but find Houdin as my favorite--and I think that stems from reading Leven Thumps some time ago where one of the characters was a talking toothpick.
One notice for this book as that it does have some dark sections to it. It is not so dark in the same sense that Stephen King is dark. There are mentions of some blood, which for me is perfectly fine, and themes that I think might be a little scary. Regardless, I think kids can handle it. It's a powerfully driven tale with swift and well drawn action, interesting puzzles, and a well paced plot.

Good work!

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