Unlike most 17-year-olds, Joshlyn Weaver has a sacred duty. She's the celebrated daughter of the dream walkers, a secret society whose members enter the Dream universe we all share and battle nightmares. If they fail, the emotional turmoil in the Dream could boil over and release nightmares into the World.
Despite Josh's reputation as a dream walking prodigy, she's haunted by her mistakes. A lapse in judgment and the death of someone she loved have shaken her confidence. Now she's been assigned an apprentice, a boy whose steady gaze sees right through her, and she's almost as afraid of getting close to him as she is of getting him killed.
But when strangers with impossible powers begin appearing in the Dream, it isn't just Will that Josh has to protect--it's the whole World.
Dreamfire starts off strong and keeps that intensity and momentum going throughout the book. It's a bit of a wild ride between dreams and reality and the secret world where they collide. The heroine of the story is Josh, a seventeen-year-old girl, a dream walker tasked with maintaining the delicate balance between the dream world and the real world, battling monsters and madness in dreams to prevent them from escaping into reality. She is celebrated among her kind as the most talented dream walker of her generation, but her success has not come without cost. Hiding behind a tough exterior and a workaholic mentality, she's still reeling from the death of her boyfriend, a fellow dream walker, a death she feels responsible for. When she is assigned a handsome young man from the real world as an apprentice to train, she is terrified of getting him killed too, and even more terrified of letting him into her heart. But a new menace is lurking in dreams and causing consequences in the real world, and Josh and her friends need all the help they can get to save the unsuspecting populace from the stuff nightmares are made of. And that's all the plot recap you'll get from me! This story has a lot of twists and turns, and I don't want to spoil the fun of trying to figure it out for anyone.
This book was strange for me in that the premise alternated between being almost too hokey for belief and totally mind-blowing, but overall I liked it and thought it one of the most imaginative premises among the YA titles I've read this year. It's a very complicated secret world that co-exists with contemporary reality. There's no magic, just the kind of crazy things that can happen in dreams, so the characters only have their brains and brawn to fight with. And there are some really great characters in this book, whose personalities and histories are slowly teased out against the backdrop of the twisted mystery involving what really happened the night Josh's boyfriend died. Some readers may find the story world a bit of a stretch for the suspension of disbelief, but the characters are so vivid and evocative that you can't help but root for them and keep reading to see how it all plays out.
I can't tell if this is a stand-alone or not. It had a nice resolution, though there were a couple of loose threads, but then the epilogue certainly seemed to portend another installment. I can't find any mention of a sequel anywhere, but it's YA, so more than likely it will be a trilogy. But if it's not, readers may be little put off by those loose threads. But overall, I really liked Dreamfire, mainly because the characters are so complex, and their emotions and struggles fairly leap off the pages. The story is original, the writing is solid, and the plot is twisty and juicy and fast-paced. If you're looking for something a bit different in YA, and if you love a good strong, smart, capable YA heroine, Dreamfire should be on your radar.
My Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
**Please Note: This review references an advance copy received from the publisher through the Amazon Vine program. These are my honest and unbiased opinions, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.