Prison of Sleep

Book II of the Journals of Zaxony Delatree

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Pub Date Apr 26 2022 | Archive Date Apr 19 2022

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After escaping the ruthless Lector, Zax Delatree has a new enemy to fight in the sequel to Doors of Sleep.

Every time Zaxony Delatree falls asleep he wakes up on a new world. His life has turned into an endless series of brief encounters. But at least he and Minna, the one companion who has found a way of travelling with him, are no longer pursued by the psychotic and vengeful Lector.

But now Zax has been joined once again by Ana, a companion he thought left behind long ago. Ana is one of the Sleepers, a group of fellow travellers between worlds. Ana tells Zax that he is unknowingly host to a parasitic alien that exists partly in his blood and partly between dimensions. The chemical that the alien secretes is what allows Zax to travel. Every time he does, however, the parasite grows, damaging the fabric of the Universes. Anas is desperate to recruit Zax to her cause and stop the alien.

But there are others who are using the parasite, such as the cult who serve the Prisoner – an entity trapped in the dimension between universes. Every world is like a bar in its prison. The cult want to collapse all the bars of the worlds and free their god. Can Zax, Minna, Ana and the other Sleepers band together and stop them?

File Under: Science Fiction [ Countless Worlds | Memory Mosaicers | Unfathomable Evil | Falling Awake ]
After escaping the ruthless Lector, Zax Delatree has a new enemy to fight in the sequel to Doors of Sleep.

Every time Zaxony Delatree falls asleep he wakes up on a new world. His life has turned into...

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ISBN 9780857669421
PRICE $14.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 39 members

Featured Reviews

Tim Prat finishes off the Zax duology with style, substance, and flare.
Zax and his companions are back and the reader feels right at home with him and the other narrator, Ana. The dual narrative styles between Zax and Ana are welcome changes between how they are written and perceive the world. A bit of the Ana chapters serve as a in story review of the previous book. While I dont agree with how the story ultimately went it all made sense within the context of story and all the characters do what they view as best.
The new characters are lively and memorable, and the numerous worlds we jump into are super well described. Tim could write for Doctor Who, Star Trek, or any other show that has a new world(s) each week.
This is suitable for YA and Adults with no real triggering issues.
Thank you to #NetGalley, #AngryRobot, and @Tim Pratt for allowing me to review an advanced copy.

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I was very excited to return to Zax and his adventures in the multiverse and this book definitely didn't disappoint.

We start with a handy little recap. I know not everyone likes this but I find this so helpful and thoughtful when authors do this as it has usually been a little while since I had read the previous book/s.

Prison of Sleep is written from two alternating points of view - Zax and Ana. Personally I enjoyed Zax's chapters much more as he's a much more developed and interesting character. Ana's chapters take place almost entirely along the timeline of the first book. It is basically the first book again but from her point of view. The problem with this approach is that we know how it ends. There's no real sense of peril as we already know how it turns out. This really takes away from the impact of events happening in these parts of the book. I almost feel like Ana's chapters would have been better if they were published as their own novella. A "#1.5" in the series while Prison of Sleep concentrated in the present story, especially as the end just felt a bit rushed and maybe deserved to be developed a little more.

Overall this was a fun story and a real pleasure to return to some great characters and brilliantly inventive worlds.

Thank you very much to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

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First of all, I really like the author including a recap because it's been a while since I read the first book. So it was nice to refresh before jump into the story. As for the book, I love reading multiverse theories so naturally, I read the first book and loved it. Prison of Sleep is the next book in this series and we continue to learn about this world. The worldbuilding in this series was amazing and very unique. Tim Pratt is an amazing and very creative storyteller. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this series and I'll definitely check Tim Pratt's other works too. Thank you Netgalley and Angry Robot for this early copy.

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PRISON OF SLEEP – by Tim Pratt

(book two)

Thank heavens for Zaxony’s recap -- the details of the first book seem intricate but easy to understand (at least enough so to delve comfortably into book two). After reading this one, “Doors of Sleep” is on my TBR list.

The world-building (multi-world building!) in this story is outstanding; Pratt shuffles us through ruined post-apocalyptic landscapes and bright bustling futuristic cities, and meeting an array of beings, without it feeling overwhelming. We learn newly created terms as they are being introduced to the characters themselves, making it so very easy to follow along as the story becomes more elaborate.

Offering up two different points of view delivers a neat intersection of Zax’s continuing adventures and Ana’s recollection of her side of events from the prior book’s timeline. My only minor complaint would be that Ana regularly ends her entries with a gloomy comment about things she’s yet to record. While these hints of her foreknowledge add a bit of drama, it’s unnecessary – there’s already PLENTY of drama and adventure!

-- “We”. Such a beautiful word. I hope I get to be a “we” again, instead of just an “I”.
-- …it’s also nice to know we were in the same places, months apart. We both ate fish in the world of pastel jellyfish-things floating in the wind. We both found the place with the flesh-and-bone lighthouse with the living eye at the top especially memorable…
For fans of sci-fi / apocalyptic / hits of cosmic horror

(I received a free copy of this through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

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First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on NetGalley. Thanks to Angry Robot for providing an ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


The second and last book in the Journals of Zaxony Delatree is richer in adventures and characters than its predecessor, and provides a satisfactory (if wild) explanation for Zax's ability to travel the multiverse every time he falls asleep/unconscious. Told in diary form from two alternating points of view - Zax's and his long-lost girlfriend Ana's, with whom he got reunited at the end of Book 1, only to lose her again - it's an ambitious tour de force weaving together events past and recent (since for a good part of the book Ana recounts her adventures who took place in the same timeline as the first installment's, while Zax records what happened next) that not always succeeds in keeping the confusion at bay, but most certainly entertains.


There are a number of things Prison of Sleep does well: Zax is a much stronger character than he was in Book 1 (he's also enhanced in a few ways, but I got the sense that his newfound self-confidence isn't a product of his borrowed abilities); Ana is a strong deuteragonist; the Prisoner and his cult are intriguing (far more than the blurb conveys), and the very concept of a deity imprisoned in the void between worlds blew my mind; the worlds themselves (at least the ones that get developed) are a riot; and while I missed Minna (who is only present later in the story), warrior Zaveeta ended up being a new favourite, plus a welcome (and sometimes funny) contrast with pacifist Zax. I loved how they clicked despite their differences, managed to learn to respect each other and became a team. There are a few surprises on the way (though I wouldn't call them "twists", and some of them I was able to anticipate, to an extent), and the ending is perfectly satisfying.


On the other hand, there are a few aspects where Prison of Sleep is less strong. As I mentioned before, the double point of view, with different timelines - one of which parallel to the events in Book 1 - that only catch up with each other in the last chapters, is at times confusing. Also, Zax and Ana's voices occasionally tend to blur. But the thing that bugged me more (just like it did in the first installment) is the huge amount of exposition, that of course can hardly be avoided in a story written in form of journal entries...or maybe it could have. I will admit that I was starting to feel a bit impatient while reading the first chapters, and it wasn't until the sheer brilliance of the world(s)-building won me over that I was able to overlook the large patches of telling-vs.-showing. Still, Prison of Sleep entertained (and sometimes amused) me more than the Doors of Sleep did, so I ultimately decided to round my rating up to 4 stars. If world-hopping is your jam, it doesn't get much better than this 🙂.

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"Prison of Sleep" continues Zax's journey through multiple worlds as he tries to stop the Sleeper cult from propagating and destroying space-time. Told from the points-of-view of Zax, and his former traveling partner and lover, Ana, we get insights (and, admittedly, info-dumps) about the cult and the people from various worlds who are working to defeat it. But, can a god who can traverse anywhere be killed?

Tim Pratt is a writer who's work is always a joy for me. I became a fan with his Marla Mason series, and have liked everything since. I read "The Twilight Empire" at the same time I was reading "Prison of Sleep," and was intrigued by how effortlessly he builds worlds and characters.

Zax has traveled over 1000 worlds, and he has lost several companions along the way. The cult are looking for him, either to convert or to kill him, and it's becoming harder to stay ahead of them.

Ana has also become a traveler, after surviving near-madness due to exposure of the space between the worlds. She's a bit more pessimistic than Zax, but also less idealistic. They balance each other well, and readers will hope for their eventual reunion.

We also meet back up with some characters I thought might be lost for good after the first book. No spoilers, but they've joined the fight as well, and are working their way to Zax.

Despite the large blocks of info, the plot moves well and makes sense. I think possibly it could have been improved by having two parts Zax to one part Ana in the chapters, but then too, Ana's sections give us lots of the backstory of the cult and the group working against them.

This is a good, solid sci-fi series that will appeal to readers who like to imagine alternate times and places.

4 out of 5 stars

I received an advance copy from Angry Robot via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This, and other reviews, may also be found on my book blog,

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PRISON OF SLEEP is a fun sequel to DOORS OF SLEEP. Here we get more of Zax’s inter-dimensional travel and adventures on other worlds.

I enjoyed the back-and-forth narrative. The story is told from Zax’s perspective in the story’s present while Ana tells her perspective in the past. Each chapter alternates between these two narrators, and eventually their timelines catch up to one another. I also enjoyed the concept of the Prisoner and what's going on in the space in between the worlds.

There’s a lot of setup at the beginning to bring the reader up to speed on the events of the first book, which tends to feel like things are starting off slow, but after a while the tale moves along at a nice pace. We get a few new characters (including my new favorite, Zaveta), but I wish there had been more of Minna and Vicki; here they just feel like plot devices to solve particular situations without providing much character depth. And like the first book, things tend to wrap up a bit too neatly and conveniently every time something goes wrong.

It's good sci-fi and a unique take on the multiverse trope. I think this book could easily fit into the YA category. I enjoyed the story and had a lot of fun reading it. I hope a third book is in the works.

4/5 stars. This rating means: A very good book and I enjoyed it! Had some issues but saw moments of brilliance. Would absolutely re-read and and recommend.

Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher Angry Robot, and author Tim Pratt for an advance reader copy in exchange for this honest review.

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* Thanks to Angry Robot and Netgalley for an advance copy for review purposes *

Oops. I did not realize this was part 2 of a duology. The first chapter does a great job at recapping what is going on, such a good job I really did not notice I was thrown in the middle of something. The story moves at such a brisk pace it was so seamless. This is an incredibly imaginative book - Zax has a condition that makes him jump to a different world every time he falls asleep. Told from Zax's perspective, as well as his beloved, Ana, we get to travel through a large variety of worlds while attempting to prevent the multiverse from collapsing. The two characters are quite different, I really liked Ana's quiet competence. She gets stuff done! I was going to write that I'd read an entire book on the adventures involving the Lecter, but that may already be covered by the first book. This is such a fun, colorful adventure, and I will be seeking out the first book next.

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At one time, Zaxony Delatree worked as a harmonizer in the Realm of Spheres and Harmonies. Then, following the death of a patient—who died in his arms, covering him in her blood—Zax fell asleep, only to awaken on another world.

About one month later, on his twentieth world, Zax met Ana. Less than a day later, he knew he never wanted to leave. Something that… could never be. So he fell asleep with Ana in his arms. And she travelled with him, through the place between, awake. Her mind couldn’t handle whatever she saw, and fled Zax immediately upon his waking. Though he searched for her, eventually Zax grew tired, and fell asleep—never to see her again.

On his 20th world Zax found love, only to lose it on the 21st.

Thirteen hundred worlds later, Zax found something impossible. He’d reunited with Vicki and Minna following the events of Doors of Sleep. The closest thing he’d ever had to a family was back together, even though he feared he’d never see them again. Shortly after, Zax found Ana.

Prison of Sleep skips forward a time from this meeting, so you’ll have to wait a bit to see how it went down. There are a pair of POVs within: Zax, who looks forward; and Ana, who looks back. We find Zax alone once more, traveling into the unknown. Only this time, while he may not have any idea where he’s going, Zax is following a specific path—a trail left by the Cult of the Worm.

The Cult worships the Prisoner: a god imprisoned in the place between worlds that can only whisper to its subjects as they traverse the place between. These followers it has gifted with the ability to Travel—done via a parasite injected into their bloodstream. It wants only two things from them: to Travel to new worlds and recruit further devotees who will do the same. The more Travelers, the more Wormholes in the ether. The more Wormholes, the weaker the stability of the Multiverse. Only when the Multiverse destabilizes completely can the Prisoner ever hope to escape.

When Ana found Zax she recruited him into a secret war against the Cult, one that he was only too willing to join. But now that he has, Zax is having second thoughts. Once more he’s lost Ana, Minna, and Vicki. He’s lost his new friends, his new home. But he has a plan—and while it may not reunite him with his friends, it may well save them all.

“They invented multidimensional travel but they haven’t figured out how to make guns?”

Prison of Sleep explores one the biggest unanswered questions left by Doors of Sleep before it: what happened to Ana?

Ana, as it is known from the first few chapters of the first book, was Zax’s long lost love, first companion, and lost her mind after traversing the void while awake. When Zax and Ana are reunited at the end of Doors, we are promised the continuation of their story—but who would’ve guessed just how far the rabbit hole went?

While Doors was more of an adventure driven via exploration of its sole POV, Zax, Prison is more of a mystery, slow-paced thriller, and character driven title about the relationship between its two main protagonists: Zax and Ana. Now Doors does feature the same style of slow-paced thrill later on, so it shouldn’t be an entirely foreign concept. And… while I say it’s a “slow-paced” thriller, I guess it really isn’t. Both Doors and Prison are rather short books—running between two and three hundred pages—so once things start happening, they don’t have too long to lounge around before the story winds down. It’s more that these two stories feel more leisurely in their approach to telling. The stories were both good, immersive, interesting, highly entertaining, and no trouble to read whatsoever. It’s just that there… there aren’t a ton of heart-pounding thrills, pulse-racing action, or the like that you’d find in most good thrillers. Instead, it’s narrative driven; a tense, atmospheric adventure through the multiverse—on a mission to save the multiverse.

Prison of Sleep features a back-and-forth, alternating POV structure that I’ve seen before in books like the Boy With the Porcelain Blade, where the first perspective takes place in the present and the second takes place in the past—1, 2, 1, 2, in that order, until the end. Now, I have some qualms about this approach—as I’m not sure I’ve really read anything that deploys it very successfully. At a certain point what has happened in the past becomes clear in the present long before it’s time for the big reveal. Prison can’t escape this particular issue, as long before the end I had figured out what happened when Ana finally caught up to Zax, along with the aftermath. What I had NOT figured out, however, was that while I’d assumed this to be the big reveal, it um wasn’t. Instead, there’s a twist come Ana’s final chapter—one that caught me completely by surprise.

Otherwise, it’s more of the same exciting adventure from Doors of Sleep. Only Zax knows he’s not alone anymore. And instead of wandering aimlessly, he’s a man on a mission. While the mission itself feels a little forced, a little cliché—it’s still a great read. I really can’t object to anything too strongly or find much of a problem with any of this. If you enjoyed the first book, I’m fairly certain you’ll enjoy the second. If you were bothered by cliff-hangers, or empty threads in Book #1—well, #2 ties everything up quite nicely. No major issues, no problems getting through it, or getting immersed in the tale. I’d certainly recommend checking it out!

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