CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 21 . . . . June 8, 2007
Dreamhunter is the first book of two (hence the name "Duet") in a tale that opens with two 15-year-old girls in a world very similar in many ways to our own and set in the year 1905. We have stagecoaches, steam trains and early automobiles. Much is familiar, except for "Dreamhunting." There is an area of the land known simply as "The Place." People who have the gift can enter this Place, pick up dreams, and then share these dreams with others. Dreamhunters can become wealthy using this talent. The best among them may share their gift with several people at once in elaborate settings, such as the Rainbow Opera House. Children are allowed to attempt to enter the Place to see if they have the talent to Dreamhunt once they reach the age of five. This attempt is called the Try. In this book, both the girls who are the central characters have reached the age when they are eligible to Try.
The setting seems like a much gentler time than ours, although you feel the growing power of a government that may be corrupt and the commissions set up to control the dreamers and their hunting. Dreaming is also used as therapy for the sick and to control prisoners. Part of the tale is told through the dreams the Dreamhunters experience.
The two main characters are Laura Hame and her cousin, Rose Tiebold. Laura’s mother is deceased. and her father, Tziga, is a famous Dreamhunter. Rose’s father is Chorley Tiebold, a wealthy man interested in the answers to several questions, and her mother, Grace, is another famous and highly respected Dreamhunter. Chorley often has the difficult duty of keeping an eye on the two young ladies. Tziga is the man who first discovered the Place. Early on, Tziga disappears. He may be dead; he may be confined by the government because he knows something they don’t want made public.
The story becomes in part a mystery, in part a tale of two girls growing up. The book is well written and often in a language that takes you back to that earlier age of innocence. The author is from New Zealand, and, as you read the description of the settings, you will notice small things that may be slightly different to what the North American reader is used to, such as eucalyptus trees. The reader will be eager to read the next volume in the series.
The book consists of 365 pages and has a couple of sketch maps that should help keep the reader aware of the location of most of the events. The publisher recommends the book for ages 12 and up. That may be a bit young for some readers as there are a few more adult themes such as the loss of a parent as well as the normal pains of growing up at 15. I suspect that several older readers, including adults, will enjoy the story as well as it never talks down to them.
Ronald Hore, involved with writer’s groups for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.