Monday, June 8, 2015

Review of The Dream Keeper by Mikey Brooks

The Dream Keeper Chronicles: Book I
By Mikey Brooks

Star Rating: 
Date/Time Started: May
Date/Time Finished: June

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Young People Fantasy
Number of Pages: 302

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME.

When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him.  Their only hope lies in Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a nightmare to save their world?


The Amazon synopsis misses so very much of what makes this book so amazing!  Since I'm not 100% behind the amazon part, I'm going to give a bit of my own synopsis before going on to the review.

My synposis:
Kaelyn is the new girl in town.  It's pretty rough, but she loves her zany aunt who took her in.  The kids in school won't even give her a chance because they assume she's a loser, because her aunt is so weird.  Parker Bennett is popular, and considered one of the best gamers in his grade.  His mom doesn't understand, and thinks he should spend more time on his studies and less on video games.

Meanwhile, in another world, parallel to our own, the creatures of our Dreams are waging a war.  We may have created them, but some are not happy with how balanced things are in Dreams.  The Nightmares want to take over, and only Dream Keepers can keep everything from shifting.  But what will happen when the only Nightmare who became a Dream Keeper is the only one left?


Review:
This book is an example of a perfect modern fantasy book.  Not only are there issues in Dreams, but Kaelyn and Parker face obstacles in the world of a teenager.  Parker has to learn how to balance his time so he gets to have both his homework done and an opportunity for gaming.  Kaelyn learns that while you can say you don't care about how mean people are, that doesn't mean you should let people be cruel to you.

In the world of Dreams both Kaelyn and Parker have the opportunity of seeing how their interests and hobbies can potentially help them in the real world and in potentially dangerous situations.  While the book doesn't outright advocate playing video games, it shows that doing so can help with your critical thinking skills.  The book also shows that you can get power from reading, and that if you retain the knowledge, you can get far.

Another major problem that The Dream Keeper faces is that of divorcee parents.  Parker finds himself almost always left alone, to his own devices, or sent to a psychiatrist.  While Parker's mom is trying to do what she thinks is best for him, it's made very clear that both his parents are off in a faraway world of business, leaving little time and attention for him in their lives.  Upon reflection, one could realize that living with people that are glued to technology and electronics such as their cell phones and laptops, it is only logical that Parker would find solace in electronic stimulation in the form of video games, while Kaelyn, whose aunt lives simply, seems to adore reading.

The only questionable thing, in my opinion, is where the last name Bennett comes from.  I know it's a Pride and Prejudice reference, but I do not feel it is completely necessary or warranted.  Does it resonate with young people and young adults today, that may not yet have been exposed to the novel?  What makes the Bennett reference confusing, is that Parker's last name is Bennett, and he at one point explains that his mother kept her last name, Bennett-- but there are also a few references, including in Dreams, of her being Lizzy Gonzalez.  This may be on purpose, to draw the reader in.  I hope to learn more about this from reading the rest of the series.  Kudos to Mikey Brooks for actually using the proper spelling from the book of Elizabeth's nickname, "Lizzy", and not the current commonly used "Lizzie" (As seen in the YouTube Sensations The Lizzie Bennett Diaries- a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice that is AMAZING).


Author Information:
Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as an adult.  On occasion you'll catch him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up.  He is an award winning author of the middle grade fantasy adventure series The Dream Keeper Chronicles.  His other middle-grade books include: The Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis and The Stone of Valhalla.  His picture books include the best selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures, Trouble with Bernie, and Bean's Dragons.

Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah State University and works full time as a freelance illustrator, cover designer, and author.  His art can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murlas.  He loves to daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the imagination of children can create.  As a member of the Emblazoners, he is one of many authors devoted to 'writing stories on the hearts of children' (emblazoners.com).  You can find more about him and his books at www.insidemikeysworld.com.



If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.


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