Book Review: Dreamland by Nick Clausen

Everyone has reoccurring dreams, but Louie’s weren’t reoccurring, not exactly. You see, Louie’s dreams always had the same setting, but instead of repeating, they continued.

Everyone has reoccurring dreams, but Louie’s weren’t reoccurring, not exactly. You see, Louie’s dreams always had the same setting, but instead of repeating, they continued.

Nick Clausen is no ordinary horror story author. After having 30 books traditionally published in Denmark, he decided to independently publish them in English. And unlike some foreign books, his translation of Dreamland reads as if it were written in English first.

My Thoughts about Dreamland by Nick Clausen

After attempting to read a couple of books written by authors who speak American or British English as a second language, I stopped considering most of them for review. Language is a tricky thing, and certain nuances can’t be learned. But when I received Clausen’s review request, I decided to consider it. 30 traditionally published books is no small feat, and he promised the book had been proofread by a native-English speaker.

The book sounded interesting enough: a boy visits his dead father in Dreamland. Besides that, a lot of my ancestors came from Denmark. I can even tell you where to find it on a map, so it’s like Clausen and I are family or something. OK, that might be taking things a little far. Either way, I decided to review the book.

It didn’t take long for me to immerse myself in the story. The main character, Louie, is a twelve-year-old boy who has strange dreams. They’re strange because they always happen in the same place, but they aren’t always the same. He eventually figures out that the man in the blue suit is his father, who died when he was one.

In time, Louie discovers that Dreamland isn’t only about desires and hopes. Nightmares also come from Dreamland. And as his two worlds merge, catastrophe lurks around the corner waiting to strike.

I quite enjoyed the translation of Dreamland. The words and story remained vivid, and though there were one or two places where I giggled at an error, there were much fewer errors in Dreamland than what I regularly read in books written by native speakers. I call that a win!

The story kept me well-entertained and supplied me with moments to stop and think. Then I could feel both for Louie and for his mother.

Had I realized Clausen wrote horror, I may have stayed away from this book; however, Dreamland has very little horror, in my opinion. In reality, it seems more like suspense and paranormal. I have no problem with either of those.

I enjoyed Dreamland and easily recommend it to those who enjoy suspense and paranormal, with a tiny bit of horror thrown in.

The Official Excerpt

“Dreamland is merely a small part of the dreamworld,” his dad said. “All around us is this. I call it the outskirts. That’s where nightmares come from.”
     Louie stared out into the wasteland and felt a growing discomfort.
    “Something lives out there,” his dad went on, his eyes searching the horizon. “Once in a while, they come close enough to the border to be glimpsed. And if you listen carefully, you can hear their voices.”
    Louie held his breath and listened. The silence on this side of the edge was deep and calm, only interrupted by bird song now and then. On the other side, a cold wind howled.
     “Do you hear them?” his dad asked.
     “I only hear the wind.” But as he said it, he realized the wind was the voices. It was a chanting choir of faint fragments; whispering, giggling, alluring.
“… hi, Louuuuie …”
“… how sweet he is …”
“… come out here …”
“… we’ve been waiting for you …”
“… visit us, Louuuuie …”
    They kept saying his name. The sound made him shiver. The voices seemed to rise and fall with the wind, but at the same time, it seemed like they came from inside his head. There was something drawing, almost hypnotic about them. Louie wanted to step closer, just so he could hear them a little more clearly …
     “Louie?”
     Dad’s voice pulled him back, and he looked up.
     “Don’t listen anymore. If you listen for too long, you end up taking the bait. The reason I show you this is so that you can understand where the voice you heard is coming from. It’s the creatures out there who have been trying to reach you through your dreams.”
     Louie stared out into the darkness and tried to see the creatures. He thought he saw a group of glowing, wavy figures in the dark. They stood side by side, twisting in a hypnotic dance. He stepped a little closer to his dad. “What do they want with me?”
    “They want to drown you in bad dreams until your mind breaks down. They will try to lure you any way they can. They will lie and tell you anything to make you follow them. And if you do …” Dad caught Louie’s eyes. “There’s no way back if they catch you …”

More Info

Purchase your copy of Dreamland on Amazon

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I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Book Review: Unforgivables by Tabi Slick

Circuses attract unusual performers, but the Beaumont Bros. Circus may attract the most unusual bunch of misfits the world has ever known, in the novella Unforgivables by Tabi Slick.

Tabi Slick

Tabi Slick, the author of the Tomkin’s School Trilogy, brings us the e-book novella Unforgivables, winner of an Indies Helping Indies Book Review Project Recommended Read award. In this award-winning story, people with unknown powers, like Emma, are hunted by people without. This time though, London’s most revered detective jumps on the case and puts Emma and her new friends’ abilities to disappear to the test.

My thoughts:

I read several kinds of genres and have always been a fan of the stories that include paranormal elements. Something about unexplained powers and phenomena tingles my imagination. The same is true of Tabi Slick’s newest novella.

Unforgivables takes place in London during the 1800s. I noticed immediately that the author built the setting from that time period well, which was shown not only in her descriptions but also in her word choice and sentence structure. She keeps this tone through the entire story and does a great job of creating a circus-feel. I never realized such a thing was possible until reading Unforgivables with imagined carnival music running through my head the entire time. The action starts on page one and moves right along all the way to the last word, so pages are not bombarded by slow passages that cause readers to lose interest. In these ways, Unforgivables is extraordinary.

However, I did find myself struggling through much of the novella. Upon reflection, I believe most of my struggle comes from a lack of connection to the characters. I often felt the writing told me how to feel by sharing exactly how the characters felt, instead of letting me make inferences. By the time I felt ready to start connecting with someone, the story ended.

Unforgivables also switches between third-person point of view (various characters) and first-person point of view (Emma). The first time the point of view switched, it jolted me and I stumbled, trying to figure out what had happened. After that first occurrence, I expected the change and rather enjoyed the setup.

All in all, I think there are plenty of people who would enjoy this book. I, personally, need a connection to the characters and just couldn’t get pulled in that direction. If you like fast-paced, paranormal novellas that keep you on your toes, Unforgivables is a good choice.

Official Blurb:

Emma seemed an ordinary girl, but she had secrets. Not only did she have the ability to transform into a winged monster, she was also wanted for murder. After a series of unlikely events, she finds herself on the run from London’s most revered detective with only a circus filled with paranormal misfits to keep her company. Emma must find her way to freedom, but will she be able to do what is necessary to leave her past behind once and for all?

More info:

Read Unforgivables by Tabi Slick on Kindle Unlimited or purchase your e-copy on Amazon.

Unforgivables is the prequel to Tompkin’s School Trilogy, but can easily be read as a stand-alone novella.

Follow Tabi Slick:  TabiSlick.com  Goodreads  Facebook  Twitter

Read more reviews and writing fun from me at kameomonson.com, where you can download your free copy of Sometimes A Bird Has to Fly.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

 

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