Book Review: Dreamwalk by Sarah MacManus

by Sarah MacManus
Published: March 14, 2011
ebook copy courtesy of the author

Synopsis from Goodreads:
DREAMWALK is a romantic mixed beat of time travel and mythology for both teens and adults. After the death of her mother, Chloe Hawthorn is haunted by terrifying nighttime hallucinations. Determined to take control of her dreams, she uses them to find Shane Anderson, a charming and troubled musician whose online videos have been holding her in thrall. She finds him in the Dreamtime, sweating out heroin detox in a run-down rehab center.

Chloe sets out to find Shane in the waking world and discovers her dreams have been taking her into the past. Horrified, Chloe realizes Shane doesn't survive his addictions. In order to save him, Chloe must master her Australian mother's legacy — the secret of walking the Dreaming through time. But what price will Chloe pay for this Dreamwalk and will she save Shane only to lose him forever?
I just finished reading Dreamwalk a few minutes ago after spending the last few hours reading it - at this time when I'm in a reading slump.

I had put off reading this book since the first time I was sent a copy and turning a few pages, I got a headache. The opening chapter had me confused and since I was in a reading slump at that time, too, I just put the book aside and would read it later.

Later meant MONTHS after and I felt horrible. So, it was this morning when I was kicked out of my room so that the painters could finally paint it that I settled down in another room to read it, trudging through the still confusing first chapters and finally learn the story of Chloe and Shane.
First off, and I have to get this off, the cover... I think it's trying to depict the paintings that Chloe's mother drew on her body when she finally fulfilled her Women's Business. I wish they would redesign the cover since the art described in the book was beautiful.
As I said before, it was only minutes ago when I finished this book and I still could not wrap my head around the story (just like what I felt after reading The Beautiful Between by Alyssa Sheinmel and A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb). It kind of blew me at first since this was not the usual YA fare that I am used to. I was used to paranomal/fantasy with some epic love story thrown in the middle of it and the lovers will be overcoming seemingly insurmountable things to be together.

But this... this is no typical fantasy.

The first half of the story was dedicated to how Chloe was coping with the loss of her mother to cancer. And it was not until Chloe became tangible in her 'dreams' with Shane that the story morphed to become Shane's and where the real story begins.

Stories like this, I tend to shy away from. They are something like taboo for me, since they deal with something so raw and forbidden - something that normal, cultured society shirks away from. But illegal drugs are real and addiction to them is even more so. And perhaps the reason I ploughed on and became immersed in Shane's world is that I became fascinated with how he dealt with his own situation. His story was told with such sensitivity, and offered me a glimpse on the inner workings of such a mind. I do not know if this was really the mind of a recovering addict - I think it is not since it was too tame - but I think it was a good start even if it was so watered down in comparison to the real thing. I would not know, I am not an addict (nor will I ever be) and I have not read any of those Freudian, psychological books that are supposed to delve into the 'troubled, inner workings of the mind of a shattered soul'.
The fantasy and love elements lay in Chloe's dreams - which I used, as a reader, to piece Shane's tale. The dreaming and the time-travelling part was a bit confusing at times and her abilities were not really, fully explained. But, I never paid mind to it that much since I was too engrossed with Shane. The only down part I had with Chloe's actions was when she injected herself so she could get a 'boost' to the Dreamtime in order to walk. The power boost was helping but I doubt it was necessary - the guides even told her so, her mother told her so, and she wouldn't listen. So, yes, minus points for you Chloe.
But the ending left me kind of oddly satisfied. I knew I should be ranting about whether or not they'd end up together but now as I swim up to the surface after, I still feel that the resolution was quite right and fitting. Yet, who knows, the ending was left to the reader's own interpretation, I guess.

Still, I remain confused.



  1. I can see why you're confused. It's a very odd sounding plot. Yet intriguing. The integration of drug addiction and fantasy is a unique idea.

  2. Thanks much for the nice review, Ayanami, and for giving it a shot. Even though you found some of it confusing, thanks for pointing out what you liked about it.




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