I have long wanted to dig into a Wayne Thomas Batson series. Or even a single book. And this is one of those cases when it was worth the wait. (And it will probably encourage me to continue reading through Batson’s older catalogue while anticipating any future releases). This trilogy takes us on an imaginative journey into the world of our dreams. Actual dreams, not like, if I could dream up a world, it would look like this… although, I guess there is a lot of crossover between the two concepts. Anyway, let’s get started.

Dreamtreaders – Wayne Thomas Batson

Book one opens in a dream sequence where we meet up with some of the terrors that shape our nightmares and we are introduced to a young, somewhat brash warrior charged with protecting our dreams – or something like that. Within the first chapter, we meet some compelling characters and we see glimpses of what is to come. There’s a confrontation with the “Nightmare Lord,” who we learn is a far greater warrior than our hero (Archer) and experience a glimmer of hope as Archer shows the potential to overcome this great villain.

There is immediate intrigue and mystery and action and vulnerable emotions. By the time we reach chapter two, I’m already hooked and fully invested in the book. Later, we learn Archer regularly enters the dream world to defend us, but this time, something is different. As that story unfolds, we follow Archer’s life in and out of the dream. We learn of his fears and failures, his feelings and folly. The story centers on Archer as he finds balance in his double life, struggles to maintain relationships in the real world as he deals with real issues in the dream, and investigates the new guy in school who has raised suspicions and stolen the attention of all the girls at school.

The characters are real and the action is engaging. There are elements of morality without being preachy and before you know it, you’re ready for the second book.

The Search for the Shadow Key – Wayne Thomas Batson

Book two continues the saga as the characters have taken on new roles and pose new challenges. I’ll try not to spoil anything, but it serves the traditional function expected from the second book of a trilogy. (Book 1 – introduce the characters, set a background for the action to come. Book 2 – everything falls apart, building off the climax of book 1. Typically, book 2 ends with a lot of loose strings and questions. Book 3 – resolution, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad, sometimes just changed.)That explained, something huge happened at the end of Dreamtreaders (book one) and The Shadow Key finds our characters facing an increasingly unstable situation, facing challenges they never, um, dreamed of.

For Archer, the struggle is exponentially more difficult, because he walks between two worlds – the waking and the dream. On top of that, he’s dealing with normal 14-year-old guy stuff like understanding and controlling emotions, such as jealousy, anger, sadness, and attraction to girls (implied more than directly stated). Again, the characters are well developed and easy to relate to, the writing is compelling, the action is realistic in context, and the pages keep turning themselves.

I will say at this point, there were at least two major “reveals” in this book – one linked back to book one – and neither were particularly surprising to me. I haven’t decided whether that’s a good or bad thing just yet, but I tend to enjoy surprises more than predictable outcomes. Perhaps the final entry in the series will tie things up with a nice twisted bow, but I’ll have to wait and see. Which reminds me, I need to get reading THE WAR FOR THE WAKING WORLD already. (Had a slight mix-up with the mail, but hopefully we can get that squared away soon).

peace… love… bdg…