Dreamfire is an interesting YA debut that mixes a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of romance, and a little bit of action to create a gorgeous story with meaningful characters and a plot that will leave you wondering what’s really going on in your own dreams.
“‘When a nightmare triggers one of a dreamer’s deepest fears, we call the fear dreamfire. It has a different feel to it, and if someone gets caught in it, they almost never manage to pull themselves out again.'”
Dreamfire has an original plot, one that is nicely executed, as well. Our main character, Josh, is a seventeen year old dream walker – she and her family (and a small community of other dream walkers) help to solve nightmares of people around the world. They do this by entering the dream portal through an archway (Josh and her family have one in the basement of their apartment building, which they share with other families), working to solve whatever the dreamer is having a nightmare about, and then exiting the dream through the archway again. It’s a pretty cool idea, and I have to give the author a round of applause for coming up with something so interesting.
On Josh’s seventeenth birthday, she is presented with her scroll, like everyone else in the dream walker community when they turn seventeen. This scroll is essentially their own prophecy – and they can choose whether or not they want to open it. Josh chooses not to, but later finds out that her scroll says that she is to receive an apprentice. Josh is horrified at the thought of having to teach someone else the ways of dream walking, but she cannot change it, so she goes with it. When she meets Will, she is sort of upset that it isn’t another boy from school, but she accepts it and begins teaching him.
As time goes by, the two of them develop a friendship, even if it is based on dream walking and it seems that Will’s feelings are deeper than Josh’s. Josh is slow to open up to anyone, especially after what happened to her ex boyfriend, Ian, but Will is always there for her in case she needs him.
After they discover two strange men in the dream world – who seem to be hooking up a gas mask to the dreamer and since they can alter the dream, it’s obvious that they aren’t actually part of the dream themselves, but real people in the dream world, Josh, Will, and Josh’s family and friends set out to try and stop them and solve the mystery of what is really going on in the dream world.
There is a slight romance in this book, and it isn’t really an in-your-face kind of romance, either. It’s not even really a secondary part of the plot…it’s way back there in the background, but it has more than enough sweetness to it to make you enjoy it.
“He’d been thinking that he was so tired, so sad, and so tired of listening to Josh beat herself up and that kissing her was as close as he could get to saying ‘Shut up, I don’t care what you’ve done, I think you’re amazing.'”
Dreamfire did take a me a while to read…and I mean a while – like almost two weeks. I don’t know why, either. I really enjoyed the story (even the incredibly odd names the characters had), but I think it might have been a tad longer than it needed to be. A LOT of attention was put into detail, and while that wasn’t a bad thing, it did make the book seem like it took a bit longer to read. I didn’t really connect to Josh as much as I would have liked, but the supporting characters are all interesting and easy to enjoy reading about, so it kind of evened out on that aspect. I just found Josh to be whiny and kind of annoying with it at times (although she did lose her mother and ex-boyfriend, so yeah, her life is bound to be a little unhappy).
I will say that the dream segments are amazing. Some of them are just downright creepy and will have you on the edge of your seat. Kit Alloway has a real talent for writing, and this book does a great job to showcase those skills.