Dream Keeper

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

The Sandman is a mythical being that is the master of dreams. Using his sand, he puts people to sleep and rules the world of the night. In Dream Keeper, the sandman is real and in love with a young woman named Nora. Nora holds within her the power to effect the world of the night. She has the power to tip the balances between the Nightmare realm and the Dream realm, which makes her and her loved ones a massive target for The Weaver: the master of the Nightmare realm. She has this because of the Sandman, and he is relying on her not to cave and give in to the Nightmares, because if she does, all will be lost, in the Night world and in the normal human world.
     Twisted and waaaaay darker then I was expecting, this book has a hard focus on nightmares and horror movie level monsters and has almost no normal dreams or happy things (which is what I was expecting). Yah, this book is shockingly graphic and scary. It has grewsome self mutilation, multiple self murders through mind control, and a disturbing scene of self murder by pen violently being stabbed through the throat. Which leads me to my biggest complaint. Absolutely horrifying things happen in the real world to the main character (a normal teenage girl) and we are expected to believe she can just handle it and not have a massive mental breakdown. Its so unreasonable I was taken right out of the story. I don't know about you, but if a woman throat stabbed herself in front of me and my best friends killed themselves by ripping out there own eyes right next to me I WOULD LOSE MY CRAP! I'm talking about mental breakdown after mental breakdown, PTSD to the nines, becoming unable to see anything but the horror. Nora just takes it, brushes it off and keeps going. All of those events happen in the real world, those characters are ACTUALLY DEAD, and Nora is worried about if Sandman's affections are genuine. It was by far the worst part of the book. Otherwise it was a pretty okay book, and I give it the rating of THREE AND A HALF STAR OUT OF FIVE!!!
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*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley*
Ever wondered what Freddy Krueger might feel? Or if someone would love him? 
Well, in Dream Keeper, we get to know what I would call his "cute little brother", the Sandman, who to my surprise, isn't evil at all.
It actually was a cool idea to begin with, and I really felt bad for Nora, especially as the book evolves, but sadly there was loads left unexplored. I really hope the next one gets better!
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Thank you very much to the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 

It has taken me a while to review this title because I picked it up a few times, and couldn’t ever seem to get into it. I had requested it after following the author on social media for a while, and I was excited to try out some of her work.

I think the disconnect between in this title may just be one of personal preference. I’m not a fan of the sassy narrator in any book, and I lose interest as soon as one appears. Throughout the book, I enjoyed the Sandmans POV but not Nora’s. I felt like I’d seen her in a lot of YA titles before with her quips and hatred of doctors and family thinking she was crazy. She wasn’t interesting for me to read about of from her POV, which is the reason why I’ve rated the book so low.

Another disconnect was that I feel like the fantasy setting and modern day world didn’t mesh very well. Had it been in a higher fantasy, this concept I think could have been really successful. The balance between fantasy and a modern world is very hard to strike, and it felt missed here.

I believe that I would have enjoyed the book more from a third person narrative, as the authors writing had so much potential when she wasn’t trying to have Nora speak to the reader. The book was off to a beautiful start that lost momentum as soon as the narrative voice changed. In addition, making the book a high fantasy set in a world apart from ours may have helped solidify the concept to me. It felt like the book was trying to hard to sell me on the concept of the dream world and the modern world. The elements I buoyed about the plot would have really sang had they been in a different setting.

I understand that a lot of this is just personal opinion, and simply may not match the authors vision of the book. That’s okay! I don’t think I was a good fit as a reader for this book or her style a good fit for my preferences. Thank you again to the publisher for an opportunity to review.
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I found this book less than thrilling. I was 50% through before i even cottoned on to who was who. The constant use of I when switching through characters drives me mad. There was not enough explication of the fantasy world or the people within it. I feel like this is yet another young adult book where action overpowers narrative. I dislike it so much it will probably get optioned for film rights and make loads of money. I won't be reading the rest of the series
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The premise of this book intrigued me. I’m a sucker for old legends and lesser known stories reimagined, so this held promise. And while I enjoyed certain themes throughout it, I sadly ended up DNF’ing around halfway through, after finding myself skim reading chapters.

The writing didn’t quite pack the punches the story needed for me and I found it dragging in places. I may return to this one again in the future.

My thanks to NetGalley and The Parliament House for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I was so excited to read it, because the premise sounded absolutely amazing, and I thought I would really love this book, but turns out I was pretty disappointed with its outcome, and had a lot of problems not only with the characters but with the plot itself.

One of the main problems I had with Dream Keeper was that there was hardly any information or explanation neither about the magic system nor about the world building, and keeping in mind that those two were two of the main focuses of the story, it only made the story much more confusing, and that made the reader ask themselves a lot of questions that were left unanswered. It felt as if we were thrown into this magical world/story and were expected to know everything that was going on.

The characters were a bit choppy and not flashed out. The interactions between them throughout the story felt super forced and awkward, and at times their conversations could have been edited out, because it seemed like they didn’t add anything to the story and were only there to add more words to the book.

The romance was another thing that I wasn’t the biggest fan of. It was too rushed and shoved in your face, and I couldn’t see any chemistry between the two characters.

It’s true that Dream Keeper was very easy to read and super fast paced, and there were certain parts that kept me interesting to see what was going to happen next, but overall that didn’t redeem the rest of the book, sadly.
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This book seemed to drag on and on. I could not get into it at all. Everything seemed like i had read it before and after almost a month of forcing myself to read i finally gave up around the 50% mark.
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Drawn and captured by the premise of this dark YA fantasy I was hooked from the first page.
Dream Keeper is an amazingly dark YA fantasy tale with a cutesy romance in a real world setting. The dream and nightmare realm elements were perfectly balanced with just the right amount of grotesque murders, horrific nightmare creations that this horror loving book worm craves.

The writing was well paced even flowing beautiful and a neat simplistic style that has you easily reading for hours without realising.
The characters were interesting, relatable and full of depth and continued development I enjoyed Nora and Bens sweet romance despite everything that goes bump in the night always interrupting. I enjoyed the Sandman character mysterious dark yet full of intrigue and depth.
The punchy vivid descriptions and nightmare creations were so compelling finding myself easily transported into the world's following along with baited breath with each eerie and mysterious turn.
I enjoyed the use of dual pov it felt easier to follow with each character narrative easy to identify.
There hasn't been a book in over 6 months that has held my attention long enough to finish in one setting and then rant and rave on every social platform about how every single person needs to read this book NOW! 

Beautiful, dark and haunting with exceptional depth Amber R. Duell's debut novel Dream Keeper book 1 in the Dark Dreamer trilogy has left me with a serious need and thirst for book 2 with that said this is my first 5 star read this year..

Many thanks to The Parliament House and Netgalley for this advanced reader copy.
(All opinions are my own and unbiased)
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This book was a hauntingly beautiful beginning to something wonderful! I loved everything about this book and can't wait to get more from this author. Straight to the top of my favorites list. Thank you Netgalley for the free earc in exchange for an honest review.
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The premise was really good. I have a thing for secret + mysterious love interests and mash that up with a well-known legend and you have a sold reader over here! The pretty cover fit well with the summary (and actually has something to DO with the story, not just some random aesthetic) and everything was shiny and sparkly and very promising.

Howeeevvveeer, (I hate to say this) I was disappointed. The beginning was very dull and slow for me even though the brutal and vivid deaths kept coming. It wasn’t about the pacing, it’s more to do with the writing and how the story was delivered. Despite the gruesome deaths, I felt like their impact wasn’t all that moving as supposed to be.

After a few chapters, I was very much disinterested. I  read it in several little tidbits and it wasn’t until halfway through that I said to myself, ‘I spent way too much time reading this book, better finish it. I’ll just get over it already’.

One of the reasons why this was so dull for me was that it lacked mystery in parts that need it. Nora isn’t really the smartest person when it comes to picking up clues, and hse’s pretty much in denial. The story was told in the Sandman’s and Nora’s POVs so the readers get an inside look on what’s going on, but really, it doesn’t take too much to figure out some things.

And the Sandman was not very appealing for me either. Sure, he’s the poor, tortured hero who sacrificed everything. And he also placed a LIFE THREATENING BURDEN ON A TWELVE YEAR OLD GIRL. Just because she “called” to him at that time. And she never even knew the seriousness of the situation until she was SEVENTEEN. Not cool, dude. Not cool.

The Sandman is millenias old and he could not have chosen a better person to hold the secret that could determine the fate of the entire humanity. Note the sarcasm.

I wish the book could have shown more about their story early on. The development of the Sandman and Nora’s friendship. When I was reading the book, I felt like they were strangers who just met and got close immediately. I did not feel the “we’re close friends for around five years now” vibe.

I’m actually feeling guilty to give this book a low rating but “I must not tell lies”. This book did not call me to me and I was very disappointed, that premise just sounded so good. I’ve seen great ratings and reviews of Dream Keeper on Goodreads and even Netgalley, but I guess it isn’t for me. I’m sorry.

If you’re thinking of picking up this book, feel free. I don’t want to hinder anyone from giving this book a chance. We all have different opinions right? So why not give it a try? If you do read it, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with me! I’d love to hear what you think.
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When I saw Dream Keeper on Netgalley, I just knew I had to have it.

A retelling of the Sandman, the weaver of nightmares, and a young girl caught up in the middle of it all? Sold. A YA story or romance, fantasy and magic? Sold. 

A Lord of Nightmares, and a Lord of Dreams. 

A Night World, and a Day World. 

It ALL just promised to be SO. AMAZING. 

I mean I just…loved it…

With the description above basically giving away the ENTIRE book, I realize that it would be vastly unnecessary for me to give my own synopsis. So, let’s just jump right in, shall we? I have a feeling this review if going to be short and sweet. 

Well…short and sour.

This book had a TON of promise, but really fell flat for me. The reason for that MAY be because it feels like it targets a younger audience, Pre-Teen/Teen, by the characters coming across as childlike and adolescent rather than somewhat mature. The author chose to use phrases like “sorry, not sorry” in one instance, and then words like perturbed and grotesque in the next. Though the writing is VERY descriptive and paints a beautiful picture of the dream and nightmare world, I felt like I was caught in a wind tunnel of conflicting writing styles. At one point it feels eloquent and mature, and the next it is simplistic and feels cheesy. I almost felt like I was reading a soap-opera at times. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a strong connection to Nora and the Sandman, especially when it came to their romance. When the reader starts this book, they are thrust right in the middle of the story. There isn’t much of a premise, so it eventually “backpedals” you through past events to catch you up. Sometimes this works in stories, but in this case, it was just confusing. Due to the quick start, and even quicker romance, it doesn’t give the reader adequate time to connect to Nora and the Sandman. The Sandman ended up sounding like a brooding teenager even though he’s supposed to be decades old, and Nora didn’t seem to have much of an emotional response to the murders around her…which is strange. Shouldn’t she be freaking the f**k out? I would be! So instead of exciting and fresh, these characters came off as quite dull and unimpressive. 

The flow of the writing and the structure of this story also left me a little unsettled. With the beginning starting from nowhere and being rushed, it made me think that this series was going to be PACKED with exciting moments. I mean, it would have to be for this to be a trilogy and start that way, right?! Well, yes and no. I wasn’t bored while reading, but I DID feel like there wasn’t a lot of meaningful and necessary moments happening. Things felt a little out of order, or rushed in spots and slow in others. My editing brain kept wanting to rearrange different paragraphs and sentences, so it was a bit hard to get through. 

Another confusing aspect was that a bunch of REALLY important characters didn’t come into this story until the end. By the time I got to these new characters, I was already checked-out of the story and skimming the lines. Maybe if they were introduced earlier, it would have kept my attention and interest more. I thought the character of Baku was very creative, so I wish he would have had a bigger role and made a stronger connection with Nora or the Sandman. It could have been a memorable and amusing duo for the reader to get hooked on.

This really came off more negative than I was anticipating, which is unfortunate. This story had a lot of great ideas and moments, but I think some final editing could have really improved it. Though I am slightly curious to see if the writing and characters improve in book two, I probably won’t be picking up the next copy. With the characters and flow of writing falling short, Dream Keeper turned out to be a real dud for me. This is of course, is just my opinion. A lot of other readers really enjoyed this story, so don’t use my words as law. Even though you could. 😉
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Dream Keeper by Amber R. Duell was kindly provided by publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. So I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Dream Keeper was my first book by Amber R. Duell. I must say, she delivered an amazing dark YA fantasy romance that partly takes place in a real world, and in dream and nightmare realms with gruesome murders, scary nightmare creatures and a cute romance. 

This unique story griped me from the very beginning and didn't let me go till the last page. The book was thrilling, dangerous, dark but beautiful and imaginative at the same time. 

Dream Keeper was written in dual POV - told from Sandman's and Nora's sides, both of them were interesting and strong characters, also the villain of this story was intriguing. I enjoyed every aspect of this book - the plot, the writing, the world and characters. A great beginning to a new and exciting YA fantasy - The Dark Dreamer Trilogy, to which I'm giving 4.5 stars. I can't wait to read the next book.
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OK, so right now I am flailing at the thought of this not having another instalment until heavens know when. Flailing so hard that the flapping of my arms and gums could probably cool bystanders in this disgusting summer heat. I have already posted my appreciation to Instagram, Twitter, 3 different private messages and I'm pretty sure all neighbouring houses within a 1km radius from my residence know how much I love this novel by now.

It starts out with Nora meeting the Sandman in a dream at age 12. She is hellbent that he is real and protecting her from the things that go bump in the night. Her family on the other hand thinks she is a little cuckoo and have sent her to all the best doctors for psychoanalysis. Eventually she stopped speaking about him but every night she still meets him on his tranquil beach, ready to talk away the days woes.

It's sweet and innocent and a little saddening until a few chapters later when someones neck gets snapped and Ben appears! Ben is the resident hotty of the piece and is so cool and calm and covering in sparkly moon dust tattoos. Oh and did I mention Nora starts hearing creepy taunts from some shadowy weirdo when he show up? She's a 'Dreamer', a term has never heard and is fairly sure is part of her psychosis. Because like there could ever be a disembodied voice telling her how the man with the snapped neck died before anyone else ever knew right?

Anyway, the main character Ben and Nora are so very couple goals and smoosh and in any other life they would be all kissy faces and stolen moments. In this novel however, they kind of don't have time on account of all the people being murdered and some crazy guy named 'The Weaver' (sinister right?) trying to chase them down and steal a dream that was given to someone else because that's what you do when things need safekeeping.

Now The Weaver is basically this novel's equivalent of the Big Bad Witch. He's nasty, has a vendetta against The Sandman and is basically out for total world domination because he got locked away from the 'Day World' and banned from tormenting people for five years. He's such a happy chappy and more or less the King of Nightmares (if you want to cause people terror, why not be the best in your field). Honestly though, I imagined him like a younger, more svelte Hades from that Hercules movie. He is perfection when it comes to angered celestial beings.

Along the timeline of the story, Nora jumps between the Day World (waking world) and the Night World (the world of dreams). Duell provides a close to seamless transition between each and has just the right mix of both to incite  a gradually increasing, slow burning fear for Sandman and Nora's lives.

Earlier I mentioned that this was not your usual tale of two teens. Going in I expected love and rainbows and forbidden romance. What I got was a sprinkling of this with a ton of gore and terror and death. I cringed at the graphic depiction of a girl KILLING HERSELF WITH A BALLPOINT PEN. It incited visions of that oh so kitschy scene with the pencil in the ankle from the Evil Dead and it was thoroughly enjoyable. There's eye gouging and tearing off of skin and I was completely in my own little gore filled paradise throughout.

Let me also say, that ending, while a little predictable, made me feel both sorry for Nora but also like she deserved it just a smidge because why would you ignore a celestial being? Like, really, are you that stupid! Her outfit became kick arse while her plight kind of sucked.

Here is where I should be discussing plot points and story pace and all those things that 'real reviewers' talk about. What you need to know is, I haven't been able to just sit and read a book cover to cover in a good six months. But it only took me 2 hours and 45 minutes to read this almost 300 page piece of amazing. Enough said.

All I can say is that this is an absolutely positively amazing novel that earns my first 5 star rating of the year. I'm picky and writing this straight after finishing and yelling at random people Shia LeBeouf style to just read it.
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Overall this book was pretty good. I really loved the concept of the dreamworld/ nightmare realm. It was a really interesting take on the topic. I was pretty shocked at the twist and I definitely think I will be continuing on just to see what comes out of it.
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I thought that the world created here was interesting and the nightmare realm especially fantastic and descriptive. Unfortunately, it simply lacked something to truly hook me.

My absolute favorite character here was Kail. We got very little of him, and all towards the end, but I just loved him. He's part of the Weaver's blood army, though his motives are questionable. Aside from him, the Sandman was probably the next best character. Especially when he was serious about something and when he was fighting the nightmares. An angry Sandman is awesome. My problem was something that has been getting to me more and more lately with these YA books. I'm starting to get really annoyed when these characters that are thousands of years old act like friggin teenagers. At this point in their existence that should simply be impossible, but every goddamn time they're around the girl they love they act like an awkward teen. I get it, the girl is a teenager and that's who the books are directed to. Still. It's getting really old because it makes no sense.

As for Nora, I started out liking her a lot more than I ended up. I thought that she was mature for her age and tried hard to be normal. Considering her past and her questioning her own sanity, it's not always easy. But she made a good go of it. It wasn't until later that she started to irk me with her decisions and I began wanting to smack some sense into her.

So basically what happens here is that five years ago the Sandman bound the Weaver because he was releasing his nightmares into the day world and that was unacceptable. To protect everybody, the Sandman then hid how he did it in Nora's mind as a dream. Making her the Dream Keeper. Unfortunately the Weaver's binds are weakening and he's determined to get that dream from Nora and free himself. He has no issue with killing those she is closest to in order to get her to submit. The Sandman does what he can to protect her, but his power too is weakened and limited.

After so many years of questioning her own sanity, Nora is relieved to find out that the Sandman is real. But along with that truth comes other truths harder to accept. When her sister is taken captive by the Weaver, she vows to save her and to kill the Weaver for all he's done. But to do that she must enter his nightmare realm. Things go from bad, to good, to worse rather quickly and now Nora is faced with deciding if her vengeance is worth losing the trust and love of the Sandman. In the end she makes her choice, and nothing will be the same again. Not even her relationship with the Sandman that she loves so much.

I have to say, the ending was rather predictable. And honestly, I have no idea if I want to see what happens next.
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Dream Keeper is the first installment in author Amber R. Duell's The Dark Dreamer Trilogy. A fair warning, this story is dark. There are grotesque death scenes that may not be suitable for those who are triggered by blood and more blood. Personally, none of this affected me in the way I rated this book overall or my desire to read the sequel. This story alternates between 17-year old Nora Gallagher, and the Sandman who is the only one who has kept her sane since her parents divorce. 
 
Nora has had an ongoing relationship with the Sandman every night for the past 5 years. The same Sandman who is supposed to keep the nightmares away while you are sleeping. Nora learned that talking about the Sandman to her friends and family was a no no as it would only land her into treatment yet again. 5 years ago, the Sandman placed a dream inside of Nora's mind thus making her a Dream Keeper. 
 
The Dream is the key to unlocking an invisible barrier keeping the Nightmare Realm from spilling into the Dream Realm, or even the Day Realm. But, the Weaver is pushing harder and harder for Nora to release the Dream to him. The pushing ends up with several people that Nora knows being murdered in a brutal manner and her older sister, Katie, being kidnap and held in a world where nightmares are actually alive. As Nora weighs in on this new reality she thought was a safe harbor, and ends up in a battle between the Dream Realm and the Nightmare Realm, the Sandman will need to use every trick in the book in order to save her. But, will it be enough, or will the Weaver get what he wants?
 
The Nightmare Lord is one of the creepiest and disturbing villains you will meet. He keeps the creep factor constant throughout the story. The real terror unfolds with the vivid death scenes, each more brutal than the last. The tension remains high and there's definitely tons of unexpected twists and turns. In other words, there's a lot to make this a read which is hard to put down.
 
Book # 2 - Dark Consort
Book # 3 - Night Warden
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Je ressors donc de cette lecture très mitigée car j’ai adoré l’intrigue et l’action. C’était plein de suspense et c’est un bon récit d’horreur. Cependant, le bât blesse sur l’héroïne car ses qualités ne suffisent pas à contrebalancer ses défauts.
Elle n’a pas ma sympathie mais la fin de ce tome attise tout de même ma curiosité car je sens qu’il va y avoir énormément d’action. Le potentiel de l’intrigue est certain alors il est probable que je passerai outre ma non-sympathie pour Nora pour lire la suite.
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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my thoughts in any way.

Dreams have always given me a certain kind of fascination. I don't think I've read much books about dreams except for Dreamology which is a contemporary. But this... This is exactly what I've wanted! When I first heard of Dream Keeper, I was—to put it midly— interested. And when I saw this available for request on NetGalley, I was very excited. So I guess you can imagine my (joyous) outburst when I got approved for it!

This is nothing like I've read before. Dream Keeper is told in two perspectives, Nora and The Sandman, and it follows both their journey in saving the people they love (for Nora, her sister, and for The Sandman, well, Nora) and the whole world along with it.

The Dream Realm and the Nightmare Realm, a whole other world once everyone falls asleep, were really amusing to read about. Written very well, I especially loved the spooky vibe that the Nightmare Realm gave and the ghastly things inside it.

The death scenes mentioned in the synopsis really were horrid so fair warning if you're not comfortable with that, maybe skip those particular parts? But I'm not really bothered by that kind of thing so those scenes combined with the vivid description of each and every nightmare, added much more to the eerie reading experience.

Nora, our main character, can be a bit immature at times and although I don't agree with some of her decisions, I still very much like her strong personality. Despite her overwhelming fear, and even though there's nobody she can turn to except for The Sandman, she maintains headstrong to save her family and the whole world along with it. I mean, who wouldn't admire that? Her mother thinks she's crazy, people around her are dying and she's considered the main suspect. If I were in her shoes, I would have broken down in a heartbeat.

A very interesting and unique plot? Check. Amazing world building? Check. A strong female main character? Check. Fantastic writing? Check. I highly recommend you include this book in your TBR—or, much better, read it immediately!
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First I would like to say thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for an ARC of this book!  I really really enjoyed this book. The second I saw it I was intrigued. The cover art is beautiful and I really enjoyed the summary. There is not a lot out there about the Sandman and I think Duell has an interesting interpretation of the myth. I really like we get both Nora and the Sandman's perspectives throughout the book, it makes for a more engaging tale. I . can't wait for more people to read this!
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In exchange for an honest review, I got an e-arc of dream keeper via netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Dream Keeper is an inventive and dark YA tale that is truly unlike anything I’ve read. That’s hard to come by nowadays, and I appreciated how new and fun this world felt. While the plot was intriguing, the main character became a bit tedious, making the same mistakes over, and wish there was more development on the secondary characters so the emotional impact could have resonated more. 3 Stars!
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