Dreams have always been a subject of fascination to me. I’ve had dreams where I wasn’t even in them. Like no where in the entire dream. I see my dreams as movies, (albeit odd ones) and they can sometimes be good stories, both the subject of dreams, and the dreams themselves. Anything about dreams is interesting, movies, (Inception) or books. Which brings me to “Dreamtreaders,” by Wayne Thomas Batson, one of the most original trilogies I’ve read.
From the back cover:
Fourteen-year-old Archer Keaton discovers he has the ability to enter and explore his dreams. He is a dreamtreader, one of three selected from each generation. Their mission: to protect the waking world from the Nightmare Lord, who wreaks chaos in the Dream World. But as Archer’s dreams become more dangerous and threatening, so too does his waking life.
Rigby Thames, the new kid from England, builds a suspicious rock star-like following at Dresden High School a little too quickly. Even Archer’s best friend and confidant, Kara Windchil, seems taken in by the cool guy with the wild blond hair, which definitely rubs Archer the wrong way. Archer must face two foes in two worlds, but he cannot succeed alone. Archer sets off to find other dreamtreaders in a desperate attempt to defeat the enemy terrorizing his friends and family.
Overview (No Spoilers)
Book One We begin in a slightly confusing dreamworld. A lot of action happens, and it’s a little hard to follow at first. But, as you read, you’re exposed to the magical world-building that Wayne Batson created. Basically, there are three appointed dreamtreaders to manage the dream and combat the forces of the Nightmare Lord. If the boundary between the dream world and the real world breaks, then that would mean the end for all the people in the real world. (cue dramatic music)
In book TWO Someone opened a door that they should not have had, and unleashed a force which can go from the dream world to the waking world. To top that off, a new company is messing with the dreamworld, and family and loved ones are starting to disappear. There is yet another force inside the Dream who seems to have sided with Archer and the other Dreamtreaders, a mysterious angelic being who seems to know how Archer can rescue his loved ones and defeat the Nightmare King. But the cost may prove too dear for Archer to pay.
Book THREE– A dream come true… can be a real nightmare. Now Archer is fifteen. An evil army has been constructed by the enemy, and things are looking grimmer than ever before. This final book of the trilogy I read straight through, mostly because I had to know what happened. High moment follows high moment, and there are quite a few surprises that I didn’t see coming.
The Main Characters
Archer Keaton is likable, and he valiantly tries to repair the holes in the dreamland that he enters when he sleeps. I could easily relate to him, though he did make me cringe at a few of his decisions, which we do see him pay for later.
Archer’s sidekick is a little creature named Razz, who tries to help him, but mostly sticks to what Master Gabriel says. She’s almost Archer’s conscience, but with a spectacular sense of fashion. I wish she appeared more, but she was awesome.
Master Gabriel is the Nightmare Lord’s opposite, and the founder and leader of the dreamtreaders. He is wise, powerful, kind, but also super quick to anger.
Rigby Thames is an interesting character, and definitely makes you wonder about him as you’re reading through the books. I found myself sympathizing with him more than I thought I would throughout the trilogy. He attends the same school as Archer and Kara, and he has a little zoo in his house.
Kara Windchil Is probably the most dynamic character in the whole shebang. She is Archer’s friend, but she discovers his dreamtreading abilities, and is jealous. I found it harder to relate to Kara, but she has a magnificent character arc that is fun to read, and is good reference for writers.
However, my favorite character is Archer Keaton’s 7 year old sister, Kaylie. She is the sweetest, smartest, annoying-est little thing with strawberry-blonde pigtails. She is genius-level smart, and likes changing Archer’s ringtones to Barney songs. I was very happy that she appears more throughout the trilogy, and plays a very important part in the end.
While the book is written by a Christian author, the books take a few dark twists. For example: the Nightmare Lord lives on Rue de la Mort: The Street of Death, or, as Archer calls it, Zombie Street. Wayne Thomas Batson does write darker fiction, and I would not recommend this book for its intended age range: 8-12. 12, 11 even, and up is fine, but there are dark parts to this story. Skeletal hands, scath, (Creepy ghosts) and the stuff in nightmares.
But that’s the point. The dark side is, well, dark. However, I would not recommend this book for young children. I enjoyed the trilogy immensely, even though I’m older than its intended age range. None of it gets too graphic. Some people are burned, but it never gets graphic. NOTE: there is almost “magic” in the dreamworld. There are beans that if you eat, you become imprisoned in the dreamworld forever. There is a “magical box.” I personally think the magic was okay.
Writing: 5/5 stars
Characters: 5/5 stars
Thematic stuff (1 none, 5 high): 3.5
Level of Violence (1 being none, 5 being high): 3
Language: (1 being none, 5 being high): 1
Awesome trilogy that is worth your time!