Since I read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman in high school, I’ve loved dreams and dreaming in fiction. Dream a Little Dream promised a story about the weirdness of dreams and I’m happy to say it delivered. When our main character Liv stumbles across four boys performing a ritual in her dream, she’s dragged into a world of mystery and magic. You see these four boys got themselves mixed up with a dream god, and they need to find a way to pay their debt.
I loved how the dream magic worked. There is a hallway that connects everyone’s dreams, and Liv and her friends are able to travel through it. Everyone has a dream door and it reflects their personality. Some people have security for their doors, guardians or passwords, others just let anyone through to witness their pleasant dreams and nightmares.
What held this novel back was some of the prose. Dream is translated from German, and you can feel that. In her translation, Anthea Bell does a really great job of capturing the world of the novel and the quirky voice of the protagonist. That being said some of the narrative and description feels disjointed and it can be distracting to the reader.
I also had a problem with Liv’s love interest. She falls for Henry, one of the four boys from the dream ritual. Honestly I spent the entire book waiting for him to do something horrible and turn on her. It was distracting. This may have been the fault of the translation and I’d be interested to see what someone who has read the original Grman text would say about Liv and Henry’s relationship. Even if it wasn’t really believable for me, it was nice to see that it didn’t overshadow the main plot. Geir’s focus never shifted from what was important, and I respect that.
The other issue I took with this book was it had too many things going on. You had the dream ritual plot, you had the new house/joining of family’s plot, you had the gossip girl website plot and you had the (relatively small but still there) romance plot. I found the bog entries scattered through out the book jarring and not really relevant. I understand that Gier was using them to give background on the characters that Liv meets at school and a mystery for Liv’s little sister to solve, it just didn’t fit with the flow of the narrative I’m interested to see if these sections come to play a bigger role in the novel.
Dream a Little Dream’s closest relative in the teen section would be Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys. If you liked The Raven Boys, then I suggest you give this trilogy a read. Overall, it wasn’t the best book I’ve read this year, but it was a lot fun. I’m excited to see if the series will continue to develop it’s system of magic. I also want to know who runs the stupid gossip girl website. Really, do those types of things exist in real life?