“Dreamlander” by K. M. Weiland

Here’s the setup. When we sleep, we don’t dream. We go to another world, where we live another life. In the other world, when we sleep, we come to this world. Except for a mere 8 hours missing when we’re both awake, the premise works pretty well. It’s Fantasy, after all.
But Chris Redston’s dreams are more vivid than that, and they include a beautiful woman on a big black horse warning him to stay away. And one day someone hits him on the head and he finds out why. Because there he is, in a strange world with huge warriors who have black lions as pets and friends who are knee high, chattering imps.
Chris’s natural assumption is that he’s going crazy, following his alcoholic father down into some deep well of depression. This unfortunate inability to look his unrealistic reality in the face leads him to all sorts of mistakes.
Because he is the Chosen, the one being granted the power to travel consciously from one world to the other. And to do a whole lot of damage if he gets it wrong.
Which, of course, he proceeds to do. In Spades. Due to unfortunate coincidence, a truly Machiavellian villain, and the fact that everyone on the side of the good guys seems bound and determined to do everything exactly wrong, Chris is set up to start a war that will almost destroy their realm.
And this is where the author and I part company to some degree. I find everything that happens just a little too convenient for the purpose of driving the plot along. The only example I need to give is that Allara, the Searcher who is supposed to find the Chosen and guide him, is stupid enough (even though she has guided one Chosen already) to contact him ahead of time and warn him not to come, even shooting him in his dream to make her point. Since he has absolutely no control over his arrival, all this action does is mess his mind up and make him unwilling to believe what is happening or to cooperate with anyone, especially her. Which is exactly what the author needs to make the conflict stronger.
Other than that minor peccadillo, this is a great story. It has wonderful characters, non-stop action, and a wonderful semi-steam-punk world where the means of public transportation is elevated cable cars.
Highly recommended for all Fantasy readers.
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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