Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith
Oh, hey there! Long time, no review. I’ve been tunneling through my TBR Jar like crazy lately, y’all. –> (TBR Jar :: Introductions) My sweet momma was in the hospital for a duration of time and I was perfectly content to sit next to her and read most days while she rested. All is well now on the home-front but I’ve been bitten by the “book bug.” You know what I mean? Where you get so excited to sit down and read you barely make it through the 8-5 responsibilities of adulthood? It’s a pity I have to work to be able to pay bills. And by “pay bills” I mean = buy more books.
I’m a little behind on the Dreamstrider bandwagon- it came out in October of 2015. I scored it super cheap then flew through it in about two days time. Here’s some of the deets:
Genre: Ya Fantasy
Standalone or Series? Standalone
Favorite Part? THE BETRAYAL
Okay, before I share my rating – I want to give you the Goodreads synopsis –> 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 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.
Dreamstrider rating: When you stub your toe and you can’t even scream. It just comes out as a silent-howl-of-pain.
Let me start this off by disclosing a few things:
1. There was zero instalove. There was a little insta-attraction and there was also some slow burn but not immediate lurrrve. And the book didn’t revolve around said love story. Chalk one point up to Smith.
2. There is a LOT of politics/battle plans/military strategy. Like, holy balls.
3. The main character is the most insecure female MC I’ve ever come across.
There. I said it.
Here’s the thing – I wanted to like Dreamstrider. I had such high hopes. But I couldn’t solely because of Livia. I enjoy stories where a character starts out unsure and/or terrified and grows into their talents – through trial and error, mistakes, maybe even societal/personal pressure. Those are the characters you fall in love with: the ones who are imperfect and learn their flaws, strengths, fears, courage, etc. as the chapters flip by.
Livia was not this character.
I’ll give the girl one thing – she had her moments. First things first, Livia comes from the tunnels. She grows up with a “druggy” mother, no father, and a well honed fight-or-flight instinct. Her dreams revolve around escaping the tunnels but knowing the reality is: she never will. Then something magical happens – she’s purchased (on a temporary basis) and brought to learn from a Professor of dreams above ground due to her skill in the dreamworld.
Sounds like the foundation of a real underdog you want to cheer for, right?
Wrong. At every turn Livia just accepts when someone doesn’t think she’s strong enough, smart enough, pretty enough…She takes people talking down to her. She allows people to belittle her on a daily basis. She believes she truly is worthless. She’s a walking, punching bag.
I got sick of her whining within the first thirty pages, y’all. Therefore, I’m not going to divulge anymore details since I’d rather you form your own opinion. Maybe you will still find yourselves hoping for her to “come out on top.”
Things I liked:
1. Marez (male character) and his “IDGAF” attitude.
2. The poetic way Smith would mold phrases together.
3. Livia visits a “cleansing pool” and I loved the imagery of that scene.
ALL IN ALL – you might enjoy it. Who knows? That’s the beauty of everyone having different taste. I saw where someone compared it to a “soap opera in space” and I cracked up. It definitely is different but just didn’t quite light my fire.