Dreamstrider ARC Review -- Rambled, Jumbled, Conflicted Feelings



Dreamstrider | Lindsay Smith
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 448
Edition: Kindle
Source: Sunday Street Team
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rating:
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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 neighboring 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.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

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REVIEW

A fantastic premise that lacks a certain UMPH
Dreamstrider comes out swinging full force drawing readers in. But what happens when it loses it's steam?

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Slow and steady wins the race. Or does it?
Dreamstrider was one of my most anticipated reads of this month. Besides the gorgeous cover, I loved everything the synopsis was giving me. Body control, spies, empires, even politics, it just all screamed ME. Up until part two of the story, everything was all good. The writing was exceptional from beginning to end, but the plot - the plot was dwindling fast, and it wasn't until I was around 60% when it dawned on me that this book had everything I could ask for, EXCEPT one major thing was slightly off . . .
The Pacing. 

In this fantastic tale, we follow our main character Livia, a laborer from the tunnels. Unlike anyone else in all of the empire of Barstadt, Livia has a strange but wonderful ability to inhabit the body of another while they're asleep. Her soul controls the body in the waking world, allowing her to move around in their skin, as well as tinker with their memories to collect information, or to learn little tidbits of details about the person who's body she's hosting. This labels her as a dreamstrider, and because she's the only person to possess such a skill, she was hired to work as a spy for the Ministry, a secret union organized by the emperor. Sounds pretty damn interesting right?

What To Expect

Fangirl Breakdown


Snails and TurtlesIntriguing Concept

While the story is pretty interesting, it seems to move in slow motion causing the story to drag a bit. If you find that you normally get bored when this happens, I suggest you keep this in mind.


There's no denying how dope this concept is. Dreamstriding, spies, handsome enemies, traitors to the empire . . there's so much packed into this novel that is sure to keep your attention.



Fangirl Breakdown


Did Liv borrow an invisibility cloak from Harry or?
Let's keep it real, Livia isn't the most . . . lively character. She's a sensible girl, VERY relateable, but for a story like this, I needed someone fierce - someone with an explosive personality that would've grabbed my attention from the start. I often overlooked her, which should seem impossible because HELLO, the story is told in her perspective, but she could've easily been a soggy cardboard box discarded in an dark alley, I honestly didn't notice her. Throughout majority of the story she was quite timid, which added fuel to the fire when it came to her self-confidence. I had such a hard time connecting with her because of this, but I do however, think she was well developed. In the beginning she doubted not only herself but her abilities, and by the end, she transformed into this phoenix that suddenly rose from the ashes and raised all kinds of hell, BUT that's the problem. The character development happened damn near on the same sentence as " THE END ", so by this time I'm sighing and whispering, " it's a little late Liv, a little too late. "

Romance-Nomance 
If you're big on romance, and need it as a forefront of the story and developed well, then Houston you'll have a problem. While there isn't a messy love triangle, (you can release the breath you were holding now) we are still spoon fed a double dose of boy drama. Secondary characters, Brandt and Marez, play huge roles within the story. Brandt, son to a royal family, operative to the Ministry, and Livia's bestfriend, just so happens to be her secret crush. With B-rand (yes I gave him a nickname) being from a royal family, and Liv from a lower class in their society, a relationship between the two would be next to impossible. It wasn't as if I were rooting for them anyway. With Liv falling a bit flat and poor Brandt following suit, they weren't a match made in fictional heaven for me

Then there's Marez, the mysterious I can't really say, handsome guy from a neighboring city called Farthinger. From the beginning I knew he was up to something, but that didn't stop me from being all the way intrigued by his character. He was dark, snarky, and okay a little evil, but I felt he and Livia had sparked more chemistry than she and Brandt could ever ignite. I was able to guess the plot twist pretty early on, and because I'd take betrayal over love any day, I wasn't all that dissatisfied as others. 
It's always the good boy she can't have, or the handsome boy that's no good eh?

The mumbo jumbo.
To be completely honest, I had sooo much trouble rating this book. After 3 days of heavy debating, I finally settled on 4 stars. Problem is, I STILL feel conflicted. Dreamstrider had the bones to be a 5 star read for me, but a few missing ingredients kept it from being a dish I could've really loved. I didn't care for our female protagonist, the romance could've been X'd out of the story completely, and the pacing was painfully slow, causing the plot to drag on more than one occasion. However, the writing was beautifully done, the concept was complex, but captivatingly so, and the world-building was crafted so well, I was engaged from beginning to end. So with these aspects being absolutely amazing, shouldn't that be enough to overlook major issues?

YES? NO? MAYBE?

FML Dreamstrider has officially defeated the slay queen. 

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