Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier
Author: Kerstin Gier is a German author who writes Young Adult and Adult books. This is the second young adult series of hers to be translated to English. The first was The Gemstone Trilogy or Ruby Red Trilogy (depending on translation). If you haven’t read the first book in the series, “Ruby Red,” I highly recommend you do!
Description: Fifteen year old Liv and her younger sister Mia have grown up traveling the world, bouncing from school to school. The girls are ready to settle down in the English countryside with their mother when they are informed that they will be moving to London with Ernest, their mother’s new boyfriend, and his twin children, Grayson and Florence. The girls are unhappy about the situation but have little choice. One night, after a terrible dinner with Ernest and the twins, Liv falls asleep and finds herself dreaming of a cemetery. During the dream, Liv bumps into Grayson who tries to banish her from the dream. Liv pretends to leave but secretly follows Grayson and his friends, Arthur, Jasper and Henry. She spies on them from a tree while they perform a sort of satanic ritual, calling upon the Lord of Shadows and Darkness. Liv accidentally falls out of the tree and right into the middle of their ceremony. Liv awakes from the dream and believes that is was just that, a meaningless dream. As Grayson’s friends start to talk to Liv and hint at aspects from the dream that they couldn’t possibly know she begins to question if the dream was real. She begins to experiment with this new strange dream state, where she finds that she is able to interact with others, especially Henry. Liv attends a party where the guys approach her to join their “game” and to help them finish it. The “game” isn’t really a game. Henry, Jasper, Arthur and Grayson, along with Arthur’s girlfriend Anabel conjured up a demon that could grant their wishes. They all made one wish with the demon, which came true, and then found they could actually interact in dreams. Anabel can no longer continue with the “game” because she is no longer a virgin, they need a virgin to participate and that’s where Liv comes in. The guys want Liv to participate in the “game,” to help them continue on because if they don’t they will lose what is held dearest to them. Liv now finds herself in the middle of playing a game with a demon. Liv desperately tries to figure out what is exactly is going on and how to put a stop to it before it is too late.
Review: I wasn’t blown away by this book, the characters are subpar and the storyline is missing a lot of key elements. I finished it and was slightly confused and still had a lot of unanswered questions. The characters didn’t really stand out from one another, I kept confusing Jasper and Arthur (never mind the smaller menial characters). Due to my lack of sympathy (and forgetting who was who), I didn’t really care what happened to them. I was fine with a demon coming along and causing mass destruction (that might have even made the book more fun!). Also, a lot of back story and deeper history was briefly mentioned or hinted at throughout the novel but it was never delved into. For example, Henry’s mother clearly has some rage issues, Anabel’s ex is dead, and Lottie is the gray sheep of her family. I wish the characters were fleshed out more, this way I could have connected with them and felt more for their plight.
The concept of being conscious and able to interact with others and their dreams was very interesting but it was never fully explained. I’m still unsure 1)where the demonic book came from (maybe Anabel’s cult mother?) 2)why this demon grants wishes and what he is getting in return (something about breaking a seal but again umm what does that mean?) 3)why they have the ability to access this strange dream state. Since I was never able to fully grasp the concepts within the book I was never able to immerse myself and enjoy the story. I was constantly questioning what was going on.
And finally my biggest issue…Liv just goes with the whole scenario! She keeps claiming that she doesn’t believe in demons but yet she quickly agrees to join the game and never questions how she is able to have these vivid lucid dreams. Liv has a lot of questions but they are not adequately answered. She never questions, second guesses or has a panic attack about the situation. If a group of guys pulled me away from a party to ask me if I was a virgin and if I wanted to join their demonic game I would be slightly terrified and might call the cops!
Everything was very much on the surface, no deeper details were given, and because of this I found it a quick (somewhat boring), confusing (and frustrating) book. The actual excitement doesn’t really start to develop until the last few chapters of the book. Overall, it was anticlimactic. This is the first book in a series, I am hoping that the next book gives more answers and that the characters are fleshed out more. But chances are I won’t be reading the second book to find out. Even though I wasn’t very satisfied with the story I can guarantee that there will be teens (especially ones who liked Ruby Red) that can’t wait to get their hands on this book.
*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley