by Elizabeth KnoxSyndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780374318543]
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This title begins where Dreamhunter (Farrar, 2006) left off, and is written in the same detailed, eloquent prose. Dreamhunter Laura Hame has just inflicted the sleeping patrons at the Rainbow Opera dream palace with a nightmare that blows a government conspiracy wide open. Now everyone knows about the sickening, horrific dreams used by Cas Doran and his Regulatory Body to control prison convicts. But mysteries remain about the origins of The Place, the invisible geographic area a rare dreamhunter is able to enter for the purpose of acquiring dreams, and Doran's secret railroad being built there. As Laura and her family attempt to uncover secrets and bring Doran to justice, they deal with internal divisions about the right course of action to take. Passions run deep between these complicated characters, and Knox beautifully portrays a family dynamic infused with genuine affection. Laura's tender relationship with her Sandman, a creature she created, is further developed and becomes an integral piece in the puzzle of The Place. The reality that is ultimately revealed catches readers by surprise yet manages to tie all loose ends together in an emotionally satisfying way. Richly layered and thoroughly enthralling, Knox's literary duet is a unique blend of fantasy and history that stands out as a stunning achievement in recent young adult literature.—Emily Rodriguez, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
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From BookList, January 1, 2007, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.:
Knox's Dreamhunter (2006) deserved the widespread notice it received. This companion is just as good, making the resulting Dreamhunter Duet an organic whole that will be considered among youth fantasy's most significant recent works. Returning readers will quickly recall the complexities of Southland's turn-of-the-century reality, as Knox eases background into opening scenes describing 15-year-old Laura Hame's “act of spectral terror”--the novice dreamhunter's misguided protest against governmental exploitation of dreams. Her methods may have been crude, but her close-knit extended family rallies to investigate the questions at the heart of her action: Are the dreams harvested in the unearthly Place actually communicable memories? Are they “drug[s] of idleness,” tools for mind control, or harmless, even healing entertainments? Underlying the mystery are larger coming-of-age themes: cousin Rose's participation in a debutante ball plays with notions of decorative femininity, while Laura's consuming attachment to magical “sandman” Nown seems a safe projection of her sexual desire (eventually satisfied, though not graphically depicted) for her human suitor, Sandy. The logic supporting the book's most metaphysical twists isn't always transparent, but like a poem whose images signal potent untapped meanings, Knox's haunting, invigorating storytelling will leave readers eager to return to its puzzles--and to reap its rewards. :
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