Sunday, October 18, 2015

Review ~ Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith

Sunday Street Team is organized by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28. SST is a like a cross between a blog tour and street team for a couple different titles each month. As the title suggests, the posts go up on Sundays!

Go here to learn more about SST.

One of the featured authors this month is Lindsay Smith! I'm sharing my review of her latest book today.☺

Series: ??
Genre: YA fantasy
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Goodreads Description: 
A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her. 
Books with large focuses on dreaming are fascinating! This one sounded like a really good book. Plus, Lindsay wrote a great guest post for my Sophomore Spotlight event, and it made me even more excited to read Dreamstrider.
Source: I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was super excited for Dreamstrider, but when I got to reading it, it took me a long time to warm up to it. I did end up liking what I read!

Let's get the not-so-good things out of the way . . .

Dreamstrider confused me pretty often! It was tough to connect to--to find something to latch onto and fully be immersed in the story. I wasn't 100 percent into the story, which kinda felt like dreamstriding. I was reading the words, but my mind wandered quite often and I started thinking of other things. That made me lose track of things, so I read several sections twice. The characters were also a little tough for me to connect to (probably because I wasn't into the story enough), but near the end, I found them to be pretty good ones. 

Now, for the parts I liked about Dreamstrider (and therefore made me glad I read it):

This book is very creative. I loved the concept of dreamstriding. Livia was basically in two places at once, and it made certain scenes very weird. It was easy to get lost, but I really liked how she would be in another person's body, but dealing with things in the dream world at the same time. That combined with the struggle with Nightmare made this book's world interesting.

I got much more into the book in the last quarter. Things started to make more sense and it was a little easier to connect to what was happening. I loved the conflict and the messages and themes that resulted from it. I saw several in this book, like making your own path and being more capable of so much more than you think. There was a strong theme surrounding hope and dreaming that was apparent near the end, which was one of the reasons the conclusion was so great. The book had a beautiful, touching ending.

As I got more into the story, I started liking Livia more. I really liked her struggle with not being her own person, with doubting her capabilities. She grew a lot by the end of the book, and it made me pretty happy to see! 

Overall, Dreamstrider didn't blow me away, but I was impressed. I'm so glad that I got more into the last quarter and became more invested in what was going on in the story. If you like a creative world with a lot going on in it, as well as a great focus on dreaming, then I suggest reading this book!
2015 challenges this book counts towards:
Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Dive into Diversity
Flights into Fantasy

Author of YA historical thrillers SEKRET and SKANDAL and the forthcoming YA fantasy DREAMSTRIDER (all from Macmillan Children's). Russophile, foreign affairs junkie, nerd.
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