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I was stuck for the longest time on how I would review this. This odd little New Zealand import which is set in the US has elements of horror (the dream sequences, and the way the "spindle sickness" spreads), sci-fi (the origin of the Dream Eater itself), fantasy (the way the dreams work) and drama (the relationship between Starbright and her mentally retarded mother). It's also not the fastest moving story around, though I've seen far worse, and it moves at a decent enough clip to get all its elements in there and its odd, twisting story to flow.
The book is definitely something else. You don't know what's going to happen next, and yet it manages to totally avert Random Events Plot by making sense and tying everything together convincingly. The story of a strange sleeping sickness that's actually an intelligent alien life form, and the 12-year-old who was prophesied in a dead Native American language to stop it, is unique.
I have a few complaints though. The dialog is very off. The characterization is believable to me, but the dialog itself isn't. I doubt even New Zealanders speak the way the "American" characters do.
The other is the pacing. While the story does set things up and tie everything together, it does so almost at the expense of things happening. I like the dream sequences even though they're kind of "anything goes" worlds in which the rules of reality semi-apply, but there are some cool freaky elements when the Dream Eater tries to mess with Starbright to scare her. On the other hand, I wish I didn't have to wait for the second half of the book to get to these.
The story flips perspectives between Starbright, and Lena Tietz, the nurse who birthed her, to show Lena's desperation in her attempts to reach Starbright and get her to believe her. It adds drama to the story, but I also feel it kinda slows it down. I'm more interested in Starbright than Lena, and Lena's got like 3 or 4 chapters about her.
Still, problems aside, this is a pretty cool and VERY different book. I recommend checking it out if you're in the mood for something a little offbeat.
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