Having only recently been freed from a lifetime of pain, abuse, and manipulation, Wil Calder is understandably on edge. He has chosen to put his faith in Dallin Brayden, a constable originally tasked with bringing him back to Sofria, the man who kept Wil bound in a mental prison for years. Now Dallin and Wil are on the run, with only one another to depend upon. Wil must tease apart the lies he has been told from the reality of who he is and the power he wields. Dallin struggles to be the Guardian that Wil needs while trying to figure out what that even means.
There are friends waiting to help them, but finding them amongst their enemies will be a difficult task. And even among their friends, confusion, distrust and misconceptions abound. Wil and Dallin are the only ones who know the truth of what has happened in the past and what it means for the future. Trying to decipher the instructions of the gods is hard enough, but doing it without being killed maybe impossible.
Dream is the direct sequel to Guardian and the second in the Aisling series. These books MUST be read in order. Dream picks up only moments after we leave Wil and Dallin in Guardian. The two have come to a tentative understanding and acceptance of one another but it’s a fragile thing. Their relationship evolves dramatically over the course of the book and it’s really the driving pulse behind the plot. Wil and Dallin each have to confront their purpose and embrace it. As readers we know that something big is coming and that time is running out. The author does an excellent job of building tension without ratcheting it up to ridiculous proportions. Wil really comes into his own with Dream. He’s still confused and a bit wild and always on the verge of a breakdown, but his strength is more evident and his ability to move beyond his past makes him admirable. Dallin has accepted his place as Wil’s Guardian, but without training he’s fumbling in the dark. His devotion to Wil is endearing and one of my favorite aspects of the book.
There is a chaos to this series that a reader has to accept before they can understand and enjoy the story. And that’s easier said than done. But our confusion mirrors Wil’s and as he comes to understand the truth of himself, so do we. There are long dream sequences that end up impacting later scenes and as a reader you have to pay attention. That seems like a silly thing to say, but sometimes we just want to read and relax and let our minds wander. There are lots of great books that allow that, but Dream and the Aisling series demand more. And it is more than worth the effort.
Dream suffers slightly from being the middle novel of a trilogy. If Guardian was our introduction, then Dream is a building block. We learn more about the Mother, the Father and the power they have placed into Wil. So there are times when the action wanes slightly and we see a slower paced story. These scenes aren’t unnecessary, but they are a significant change of pace from other aspects of the story. Some readers might find that jarring or the transitioning somewhat less than smooth. The action picks back up during the last half of the book and the standoff between Wil and Sofria is wonderfully satisfying.
Dream continues the story of Wil Calder and his valiant Guardian. Theirs is a crooked path and one fraught with danger, ignorance, and self-sacrifice. Wil and Dallin are both captivating characters and absolutely engaging. Dream moves a little slower at times than Guardian, but there is a method to the madness that leaves this book a thoroughly enjoyable read.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.