Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox

My first finish. I'm aiming for 12 books :-)

Dreamhunter is set in an alternative New Zealand. Actually, in an alternative Southland, which always gives me a kick, because that's my province. :D

Anyway. In this New Zealand, dreams can be "caught" and shared. Only certain people can become dreamhunters - those able to enter the mysterious Place, catch dreams, and bring them back out to share. The dreams are shared either at dream palaces like the Rainbow Opera, or, depending on the dream, at hospitals, prisons ...

Laura and Rose are cousins the same age, as close as sisters. Rose's mother and Laura's father are famous  and powerful Dreamhunters in their own rights.

Laura and Rose, at 15, are set to Try over the long summer - a yearly ritual whereby boys and girls of a certain age discover whether they have Dreamhunter potential. If they do, they step into the Place. If not, they carry on with their ordinary lives.

Rose is sure that she will be successful, leave school and embark on  a stellar career as a Dreamhunter. Laura - used to living in her cousin's shadow and quite happy there - is less confident, but doesn't want to be left behind.

However, when it comes to the girls' Try, it's Rose that gets left behind, as Laura is the only one of them able to enter the Place ...

I have read Dreamhunter before, and I love it. The idea behind it - the dreamscape of the Place, and the image of the Rainbow Opera ... the imagery is fantastic, and there's just enough of a dark undercurrent under the whole concept to give a pleasant little chill up the spine.

Laura and Rose are fantastically realised as characters, and their relationship is one of my favourite things about the book - especially Rose, who comes out  of her disappointing Try even stronger, and resolves to help Laura any way she can.

Laura - who starts out in the book (for me) a little vague and wishy-washy, does start to ... colour in  a bit? Especially after her father - who does mysterious work for the Government - disappears and is presumed dead.

There are so many layers to Dreamhunter that I could go on and on about: there's the dreamhunting itself, and the way it gets used by the Government; the family dynamic between Laura, Rose and their respective parents, the deeper mysteries of the Place ... I'm getting rambly, like always when I'm talking about a book that I love.

I haven't read the sequel - Dreamquake - yet, but it's on my list very, very soon. Dreamhunter ends on a hell of a cliffhanger, and I need to know what happens next.

9/10 So good, you'd take it to meet your Mum


Aarti said...

Oh, this sounds right up my alley! I would love to see an alternate NZ. Have a feeling I won't be able to find this book anywhere here, but I'm glad it exists :-)

Memory said...

How on earth did you keep yourself from starting DREAMQUAKE right away? You have more willpower and/or patience than I do!

Eva said...

I really want to give Knox another go, and this sounds like the perfect second chance book!

Maree said...

Aarti: I love it so much, I hope you can find a copy!
xicanti: Lol it's not easy! It's definitely up next, though
Eva: I think you would like this - especially for the strong relationship between Laura and Rose - it's one of my favourite things about the book :-)