On Phillip’s 13th birthday, his friends and family gather with presents, food, and plenty of quirky personalities. That night he has his first strange dream and he soon learns that he is in training to become a Dream Master. Luckily, he has a set of solid friends he can confide in. He’s going to need their help and advice!
Some parts of this book I enjoyed and some parts were only ho-hum for me. I didn’t dislike it, but I find that I wanted just a bit more from the story. I think maybe it is because I’m a scientist at heart and sometimes I wanted to step into the tale and explain to Phillip about coincidence and also how our mind sees and records more than we do consciously, and how that can affect our dreams. For instance, he has a crazy dream about a flower one night and the next day he notices the same kind of flower in his own yard, which had been there for perhaps a year (though perhaps without a bloom on it). So I think my natural skepticism kept me from enjoying this book. If you lack such skepticism or can shove it to the corner of your mind, you might enjoy this tale more than I did.
There are plenty of oddball personalities in this book and that’s one thing I really liked. Cynthia talks too loud all the time but she’s a stalwart friend. Jack, Phillip’s best friend and neighbor, is a rock, totally dependable. He’s also Thai so we get references to some really good food in this book. The there’s a new girl in school named Lair (I think. I had trouble telling if it was Lair or Blair). Anyway, she has lived in several places with her family and this gives her a bigger view of the world. She gives Phillip some useful advice several times concerning lucid dreaming and other cultures.
There’s a variety of hurdles that Phillip has to contend with. One of them is the perpetually-angry Mrs. Bishop, his history teacher at school. Sometimes his older brother Jeff is a bit difficult, along with his cousin Carl. Then there are the draiths in the dreamworld that give him nightmares and are capable of some painful tricks. Luckily, Phillip received a dream catcher early on that assists in preventing nightmares.
In the dream worlds that Phillip visits, I liked the sprite Fidgeon (or Fid for short) the most. He was helpful and playful. The old Dream Master that is in charge of Phillip’s training and the woman who gave Phillip his dream catcher (the numinous Nagwaagan) didn’t catch my imagination as much as Fid.
Phillip and his friends have a few troubles in this book but none of them really caught my attention. It was typical growing pains kind of stuff that really matters at the time, but weren’t anything spectacular or deep or dangerous, etc. This book has plenty of components that work for the story and yet none of it provoked emotions from me. Sad to say, I didn’t strongly connect with this book despite the obvious care and craftsmanship that went into it.
I received this book free of charge from the author.
The Narration: Fred Wolinsky continues to do great work in the world of audiobook narration. He has distinct voices for every character. I really liked that he pulled out some few special effects for certain dream character voices, like Fid. He’s also great at imbuing the kids’s voices with emotion. When Cynthia is angry, you know it. When Phillip is distraught over being wrongly accused of cheating, you know it. Wolinsky’s performance brings these characters to life!