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Chris drives to Harrison’s ramshackle house in a sketchy part of town. There, Harrison tries to convince him that together they can rule the world on the other side of dream. Chris doesn’t buy any of it. He’s certain he’s going mad. That’s all. As he leaves, a black truck drives by and someone inside shoots Harrison dead in the chest. After dealing with the police, Chris walks away and is clubbed over the head.
Reader Comments: Yep, Harrison seems more than a bit insane. I can totally sympathize with Chris here. At the same time, boy is Chris in for a surprise when he does cross.
Writer Comments: One of the challenges in a story that simultaneously takes place in two different worlds or in two different parts of the world is that continuity between places and plots must be established swiftly. Weiland does this well. In every chapter, both worlds get mentioned, and as the plot begins to truly unfurl, we learn more and more of the connections.
Chris wakes in the other world and finds himself the prisoner of Pitch, a tiny humanoid creature. Then he meets Orias, a very large man-like Cherazim and the Keeper of the Orimere. Orias recognizes Chris as the Gifted and gives him the Orimere, an egg-like object only the Gifted has the power to wield. As a Gifted, whenever Chris sleeps, the stone and all he touches will cross the worlds with him. Despite the vivid reality around him, Chris is still firmly convinced that it’s all a hallucination.
Reader Comments: Orias is awesome. I love the quiet nobility about him.
Writer Comments: This chapter contains the language of Cherazii that Pitch and his companions speak. Made up languages are tricky but common enough in fantasy. The best sound natural and believable. It looks as though Weiland invented her own language for Dreamlander; however, she clearly gave it a lot of thought and kept to basic linguistic principles. Like most languages, the majority of Cherazii words are shorter rather than longer. Also, she repeats certain words in certain ways that suggests she gave thought to word order and grammar. Giving an invented language qualities like a real language goes a long way toward believability. Also, as a reader, I appreciated her not translating everything because there’s no way Chris would know what was being said.
Allara senses Chris the moment he crosses over into her world. His presence invades her mind and upsets her inner balance. And it fills her with dread. Swiftly, she assembles her companions, mainly Captain Quinnon, to help her track down the Gifted. This time, she senses that he is far nearer than Harrison had been the first time a Gifted crossed in her lifetime. However, before departing, a Cherazim youth arrives with the frightful news that Koraudians are attacking Cherazii inside the Lael border, virtually an act of war.
Reader Comments: Oh, how cool that Chris’s presence actually impacts Allara’s mind. It sounds a bit like empathy or perhaps the Warder bond in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. As a reader who loves to have romance in her books, I hope there’s a bit between Allara and Chirs, but in either case, this bond should make things interesting.
Writer Comments: This chapter carries an undercurrent of activity and urgency. This comes in part from Allara’s emotions and what she tells readers through her internals and narration. However, there’s another little trick that Weiland employs. Nearly constantly in this chapter, she literally describes things and people in motion. Contrasted to this are rarer moments of stillness. At the opening, Allara is very still, yet her mind reels. These elements help add to the chapter’s swiftness and urgency.