Book Review: Dreamer

Dreamer by Steven Harper

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I actually finished this book at the end of May but am only just getting around to writing about it. Dreamer is a science fiction book and I haven’t read anything of that genre for several years.

The prologue showed a world in chaos after civil wars and battles for leadership between planets. It showed a couple’s attempt at survival in a world where there was little food or water. And…in a world where money meant the difference between life and death, they had none. It was a strong piece of writing and I quickly grew attached to the characters and setting.

When chapter one started with different characters and an obviously different time period, I was utterly disappointed. I wanted to know what became of the couple and wasn’t particularly interested in the new characters. But I read on and with time the new characters grew on me and I eventually gave up trying to work out where the couple fit in to the story and just went with the flow.

Kendi is a brother in a religious order called Children of Irfan (no, it’s not a religious story). Sejal is a rebellious teenager living on planet Rust. Their paths cross when something strange starts happening in the Dream – a place where certain people can meet and communicate, no matter where they are located, even if they are light years apart. A darkness is ascending into the usual tranquil Dream and a black hole is swallowing the minds of the people who can go there. This leaves them emotionless which in some cases turns violent, forcing some people to take their own lives or the lives of others.

It seems that Sejal is the key, he is a powerful Silent (person who enters the Dream), but has no idea about any of it until Kendi takes him under his wing and starts training him. But the Children of Irfan were not the only ones looking for Sejal. He is being sort by many. All have an agenda of their own. All want to use him to achieve their goal. Sejal is unsure who he can trust and flees. Meanwhile the chaos caused in the dream is affecting many worlds and is becoming increasingly dangerous.

It’s an interesting story, with a different look on Australian Dreamtime. My only issue with this particular area of the story was that it felt vague and unsure – hesitant, may be the better word. In fact, I had read a huge chunk of the book before I realised Kendi was an Australian aboriginal. I have since researched the author and found that he is not an Australian and doesn’t live in Australia, so I suspect this is the reason for the vagueness.

This small point aside, Dreamer is a book that will make the reader confront issues such as sexuality and death. There are some graphic scenes concerning suicide too. And, of course, the couple at the beginning of the story were there for a reason.

Dreamer is the first book of the Silent Empire Series. I have the second book and look forward to finding out where it will take me.


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