Title: DreamRovers: Price of Deliverance
Author: Christie Valentine Powell
Publication date: April 2, 2021
One Sentence Summary: Condemned and hunted because of an ability they were born with, a group of people who can rove through dreams are only seeking a safe home for themselves.
This book had me at dreams. As a former psychology student, I am fascinated with dreams, so I jumped at the opportunity to read about people who could rove through other people’s dreams. Of course, there’s danger when it comes to that and I’m sure many people wouldn’t like to have strangers peeking in on their most private thoughts, so it was fascinating to read how both sides played out.
Fast-Paced, but Immersive
DreamRovers: Price of Deliverance is centered on two individuals and one family. Walker was once nobility, until his family’s ability upset the court, so now he’s living as far away from his old life as he can and trying to keep to himself. Indra’s mother was killed years ago because of her ability, but Indra was able to escape, only to find life more bearable by treading through dreams and living in the dreamscape, which also holds its dangers. Bridgley and his family have been driven out of their home because of their ability and dream of creating a home for both themselves and others like them.
On the other side, people live in fear of the dreamrovers, never knowing who might be peeking in on their dreams and gleaning information they could use for their own ends. As the dreamrovers try to settle in Grayton, the town and its leader are staunchly against them.
DreamRovers: Price of Deliverance is a fast-paced story that details two sides of one issue. I was surprised by how well I could see both sides and sympathize with them. I do believe the author fully explored both viewpoints and created thoughtful arguments for both, making me fall right in the middle as I usually do in real life.
That’s actually one thing I adored about this story. It follows the persecuted and the persecutors and paints such vivid picture of both sides that I never felt one was completely good and one completely bad. It felt like an incredibly well-done balancing act to explore both sides and present their arguments. The characters were particularly instrumental and everything about who they are only bolsters the strength of this story.
This is a relatively quick read with a really good pace, but I wish there had been more. I feel it could have had more meat to it and been more nuanced, but then I also wonder if the overall story and message might have been muddled. Still, I really enjoyed the story and loved the focus it had. When it could have gone off on many tangents as fantasy usually does, DreamRovers: Price of Deliverance stayed on track and really immersed me in it. I look forward to the next installment in the series.
Two Sides of the Coin
All of the characters in DreamRovers: Price of Deliverance fell on one side or the other and did a marvelous job of enunciating their views. They felt real and human with real concerns and fears and desires. I believe the strength of this story rests on the shoulders of the characters. The story is a wonderful one, but it’s carried off really well by the characters.
The dreamrovers were so varied both in terms of their abilities and how they viewed dreamroving. I loved the intricacies and differences even within one family. Bridgley’s family is on the large side with children and grandchildren, but they were all given unique personalities that helped set them all apart. Their love of the family, though, really shone through and was so heartwarming. Of all of them, the reader really gets to know the teenage Norma as she keeps a journal throughout the book. It was fun to get her thoughts as well as explanations about the world and dreamroving in simple adolescent terms to prevent agonizing info dumps. My favorite, though, would be Indra, who basically grew up as an orphan wandering the dreamscape. She had such a fascinating take on life and it was so hard to tell how, exactly, she was seeing people and life. It made her seem a little all over the board, but her loyalty was fierce and unbreakable. Then there was Walker, a man who lost everything and had to do battle with his own inner demons. It made him into a definite loner, but I loved how the love of the family really helped him and gave him a new purpose.
Outside of the dreamrovers, all of the other characters were basically against the dreamrovers. There were a few who didn’t really care either way and some who just didn’t really seem to mind dreamrovers. I found them a little one note in just how against the dreamrovers they are, almost mindless at times about it, but the main instigators were quite interesting. Namely, there’s Fenton, the leader of the town. The reader gets to see the different sides of him and piece together his plan and it created a bit of a shudder through me as I figured out what was going to happen before the characters did.
Overall, I really enjoyed the characters. They were all so different and had different ideas, but they were never muddled. They lived and breathed to me. But my favorite part was that the characters’ surnames were direct reflections of the mother!
Focused Around a Small Fantasy Town
Most of DreamRovers: Price of Deliverance is set in and around the town of Grayton. But the larger world was well explored through the treatment of the dreamrovers. I liked that a history was given to the world, especially as it pertained to the dreamrovers.
Everything about it screamed traditional Eurocentric fantasy, though there were hints of other, different cultures lurking out there. This story takes place in, basically, a corner of the world, but there’s definitely more out there. The town felt quaint and the farm Bridgley’s family tried to build was often downright pastoral.
But what really stole the world building scene for me were the abilities. While most of the people seemed to be quite normal like you or me, there were also a number of abilities drifting through families, like dreamroving. It was interesting to read how some abilities were persecuted and others were not even though they all could be destructive in their own ways. I loved how it was normal for some people to have them and others to not.
A Perfectly Balanced Fantasy
DreamRovers: Price of Deliverance impressed me with just how balanced it was. Both sides were incredibly well done, though I felt my heart resting more with the dreamrovers. They were so varied in how they viewed and used their gift, but their strength and desire to help others was always evident. Overall, this was a wonderful, quick read with just enough complexity and tension to prevent the story and the issue from being watered down.
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Thank you to Christie Valentine Powell for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.