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Posted July 11, 2012
From Author W.F. Aspenwall:
I watched a wonderful film a few nights ago (for the fourth or fifth time) Midnight in Paris. As a writer, I really appreciated one of the lines in the movie. In responding to Gil's request for a review of his novel, the character of Hemingway says, "I hate it...If it's bad, I'll hate it. If it's good, then I'll be envious and hate it even more. You don't want the opinion of another writer." Thus, I hate Brian Wood and his book. I hate it (and him) because it (and he) are both good...beyond that even. This was a great book. I'll just have to deal with that.
Dreamworld is a complete (read `stand-alone') novel that serves as the first in a wonderful new, young-adult fantasy series by a talented story teller. What elements of the genre that most might consider necessary in a prime example are all present; unique prose, inclusive humor, interesting characters, and relatable conflict.
I've never wanted to be back in high school so much. Not to go to classes though. I just want to return to those hallowed halls, just to go home each night, put my head on my pillow, and fall asleep--all along hoping my dreams are as creative, full of striking imagery, and as tense in both adolescent and worldly conflict as is Havehn, Wood's fantasy world.
Back to why I hate Wood, aside from the obvious quality of his work. I'm mad this idea wasn't my idea first. I'm a lifelong fan of all things fantasy, the memorable classics (Tolkien) as well as the more modern young-adult newbies (Rowling) and original best-sellers (Sanderson). Dreamworld is just as entertaining as any of them; and this is one of the key reasons most read in the genre. Can we get a Dreamworld movie, card game, something?
Some plot basics with no real spoilers: Trayvian James is a high-school kid in Colorado. But he lives in another world, too. When he sleeps in one world, he's active in another. This concept gives Wood the unique ability to allow for contemporary, real, experiential metaphor in relation to a world wholly not our own. That's because the second world is classic fantasy--unique creatures, wonderfully elaborate settings, and even magic (a magic like we've never seen before). It's hard to be original in the genre, but Wood finds a way. Trayvian has to reconcile his two worlds, all the while dealing with both classic themes and new conflicts. I like Tray; I think you will, too. Just be ready for surprises.
I've read hundreds of fantasy novels, dare I even say over a thousand. Dreamworld is just as good as any of them, better than most. Disclaimer 1: My book (different genre) was published by the same publisher as Dreamworld. But, I like to review books, and I'm going to review everything by my own publishers. Disclaimer 2: It doesn't matter; I really feel this strongly about Dreamworld. Honest.
But, I still hate Brian Wood and Dreamworld. Now go, buy and read! Maybe you'll hate it as much as I do and for all the same reasons.
Posted July 8, 2012
A typical author possesses the ability to create one entirely original universe, one entirely original set of diverse and relatable characters, and one entirely original plotline to follow. However, Brian Wood is not a typical author. He does succeed in creating all of the aspects of a typical author, but he doesn’t succeed in this remarkable feat just once, but twice. He captivates you in two totally different universes, each with their own intricacies that are bound by only one connection, Trayvian James. This literary accomplishment is unlike any that I have ever read. Similar to Harry Potter, you follow the life of Mr. James both on Earth as well as in an alternate universe, his Dreamworld, called Havehn. However, superior to Harry Potter each of Trayvian’s “lives” is distinct from the other, possessing its own plot, its own significance and its own characters. Essentially, you are reading two separate stories with one commonality, Trayvian. This concept is brilliantly mastered by the author, Brian Wood, because as you read, each storyline captivates you as the events on Earth and Havehn unfold to keep you glued to the page and constantly on the edge of your seat. On Earth, Trayvian is just a normal teenager going through high school, until one day the most beautiful girl enters his life, something that nearly every guy has experienced. Eventually, you begin to wish that you could also live the simple Earth-life of Trayvian due to the typical, yet powerful and alluring events that he soon goes through. On Havehn, there is nothing normal about him. He not only possesses the ability to perform magic, but is perhaps the most powerful in the entire kingdom at doing so. You may be thinking that many fantasy stories involve magic and that is not at all unique and you would be right. However, Brian’s concept of the magical ability is completely different which truly rivets you. Essentially, a magical person possesses a Well of power that fuels their magic and as they use magic, the Well decreases. But, they can also draw upon other magic users as well as naturally occurring Wells to increase the amount of power in their possession. Where it really gets interesting lies in the Green Lantern-esque use of this power where the only limitation resides in their creative ability and their imagination. Unlike Harry Potter where there are restrictions placed on them by the spells that can be casted, the magic in Dreamworld is as limitless as the imagination used by humans, especially Brian Wood. This ideal book combines the fantastical elements of a fantasy novel along with the trials and tribulations of a typical young adult fiction novel to combine into something the literary world has never seen before. If you want to be wowed and awed by the creative powers of the human imagination, then Brain Wood’s Dreamworld is the book for you.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 10, 2012
Posted May 9, 2012
Brian Wood scores big with Dreamworld. He comes at it with a first person perspective and lots of action, intrigue, and humor. Had a great time reading it and look forward to following this story through to its conclusion.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 14, 2011
Despite it taking me awhile to actually be able to sit down and really read it, I absolutely loved Dream World! I first tried reading it over the summer, but then school started and I found myself Dream World-less. When the book club at my school decided to read the book, I was pleasantly surprised and immediately entertained with all of the characters' witty humor. Dream World is full of those quick, little quips which keep you laughing from beginning to end. It also has some serious undertones, and a few character struggles which help the reader stay on par and not get so lost in Wood's witticisms. Overall, Book One was a FANTASTIC book and I can't wait for more!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 10, 2011
Wood has created a well-realized world in which he is consistent with the rules of magic has established- something many authors have forgotten to do. There is a perfect blend of our beloved high-fantasy (like Lord of the Rings) with modern wit and slang. Magical, humorous, and stunningly accurate, Dreamworld will leave you longing for bedtime.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 3, 2011
Brian Wood's first novel will suck you in from the first page and won't loosen its grip until you finish. Although the narrative will mostly appeal to young readers, there is plenty in it for adults such as myself who can't get enough of fantasy tales. Wood blends the right amount of humor, adventure and romance to entice any reluctant reader. In fact, I have just ordered 40 copies of this book to use in one of my high school English classes. I teach a small class of students who struggle to read anything, but a story such as this will engage them as well as challenge them. I look forward to introducing my students to Tray and his dream world, Havehn. And, with luck, a sequel will soon arrive. Thank you Mr. Wood for producing such a rich, engaging story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2011
I picked up Dreamworld because my former English teacher recommended it. I absolutely loved it! Wood captures high school life while creating an alternate universe of magic and danger perfectly. The characters are relatable and intelligent. There is humor, magic, and drama in just the right quantities. Readers of Narnia, Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire, and any other Science-Fiction or Fantasy novel will enjoy it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 7, 2011
When I first picked up this novel, I didn't quite know what to expect. I was more than pleasantly surprised. Wood crafts amazingly relatable human-like characters, and this author's voice is witty and refreshing. Dreamworld had me literally laughing out loud. Laced with action, emotional situations-both happy and sad-and a story line that will make even the most down to earth readers wish they were in the dream with Trayvian, I hope all fiction and science fiction readers get the chance to read this piece. I know I loved it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2011
Dream World: Book One is a great read; it's difficult to put down. The actions puts the reader on the edge of their seat, as Wood's use of language emerses the audience in a vivid new world. Great for Narnia, Harry Potter, or the Lord of the Rings fans. Readers will certainly anticipate the next books to come in the series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.