Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: The Dream Keeper

The Dream Keeper
The Dream Keeper by Mikey Brooks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

[bc:The Dream Keeper|17727253|The Dream Keeper (The Dream Keeper Chronicles, #1)|Mikey Brooks||24797434]
[a:Mikey Brooks|6583458|Mikey Brooks|]

Amazon Blurb
Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME. When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?

The Good
I've always been a fan of mid-grade book series. Rick Riordan's, 39 Clues, J. Scott Savage's, Far World, and Brandon Mull's, Fablehaven. Now I can add one more to this list, Mikey Brooks', Dream Keeper Chronicles.

Like other middle grade series, The Dream Keeper features a boy/girl tag team. Mikey does an incredible job of bringing Parker and Kaelyn to life. My favorite aspect is the social bullying and peer pressure that Parker and Kaelyn experience in school, and how their adventures in Dreams help them overcome these influences in their lives. Mikey doesn't minimize bullying or peer pressure, but he crafts realistic experiences in the story that help the characters overcome/understand the pressures they face.

The Bad
Parker and Kaelyn are the main characters, but the Dream Keeper Gladamyr shares almost equal page time with them. While this works well later in the book, the initial introduction left me a little confused. Maybe it was necessary, but I would have enjoyed the introduction to the world of Dreams much more through the eyes of Parker and Kaelyn. Equally so, the revealing of Gladamyr's character and experiences would have been better through the eyes of the children. Excellent opportunities for dialog and connecting characters were missed.

My second complaint covers the narration of the audiobook. It wasn't bad, let me get that out! ... But it could have been better. I listen to a LOT of audiobooks, so I'm a bit of a narrator snob. My biggest complaint with Anthony Bianco, is that a few lines come off flat. I'm not sure if he's a new narrator or not, but Mikey Brooks had lines that really set up the scene, and Anthony blew through them. Like I say, most audio listeners won't catch this, but because I listen to so many, it could have been a bit better.

Oh, yeah. One other minor complaint(full sarcasm here). How Mikey discovered that incident I had in the girl's restroom--and wrote into his book--is beyond me. It scarred me for life and I thought everyone had forgotten it.

Mikey, whatever blackmail you're asking, I'll pay.

The Spin
If you're looking for a great mid-grade read, don't pass up, The Dream Keeper. Kids will identify with the characters and their experiences. But more than that, the story is exciting enough to read the other books in the series.

One other thing to keep in mind when picking up this book, it has an excellent resolution, but a killer cliffhanger at the end, so have book 2, The Dreamstone, handy. You've been warned.

[bc:The Dreamstone|18761258|The Dreamstone (The Dream keeper Chronicles, #2)|Mikey Brooks||26658390]

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