Welcome back to our read of K.M. Weiland’s Dreamlander, her fantasy novel about Chris, a man who can pass from our world to the world of his dreams.
To catch up or review previous chapters of this read for writers and reader, click here.
Orias takes Chris to the Cherazii camp nearby where he acquires permission to take him away. There, Pitch, the Riever who claimed Chris, proclaims him his servant before all. The Koraudians draw near, and, if they attack the caravan, will have no mercy. But Orias has little choice but to follow his duty and protect Chris until the reach the Searcher.
Reader Comments: I like how Weiland thought through and addresses some of the logic leaps about a man crossing between the worlds. Some of his skill in daily tasks, like butchering an animal, and in fighting apparently are ingrained through muscle memory. His mind may not recall life in this new world, but his body, which has been there all along, does. This makes me terribly curious about who the man was who initially inhabited the body. Was that Chris too? What happened to him? It will be interesting to see the answers to such questions unfold as the tale progresses.
Writer Comments: In one of my favorite writing craft books, Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Maass advises giving characters two mutually exclusive goals that drive them. The character cannot succeed at both. Weiland does this beautifully with Orias. On the one hand, his duty and the world demand he guard Chris and take him quickly to Allara, the Searcher. On the other, his people are in severe peril from the Koraudians coming across the border to kill them. Everything in him declares that he must defend them too, but he dare not allow Chris anywhere the Koraudians might get him. Because Weiland so skillfully and believably gives Orias these conflicting desires, he’s extremely compelling. I would read a whole book just about him.
Allara and her party stop at Thyra Junction, the skycar hub of her world. The guards get off to help the Cherazii, and on the advice of Eroll Leighton, Lord of Thyra, she too decides to disembark. With Koraudians in the Thyra Hills, she cannot afford to risk the Gifted ending up in the wrong hands. Eroll, her only real friend, decides to travel with her.
Reader Comments: Eroll seems like a fun guy. I can see how he loves Allara, even beneath his frippery. Hmm, I wonder if he’ll be a competing romantic interest.
Writer Comments: This chapter is chock full of foreshadowing. As I technically have read a few chapters beyond this point, I see it now. Previously, on my first read of this chapter, I did not even realize how many hints Weiland drops of things yet to come. For more on foreshadowing, check out Weiland’s recent post. She gives an excellent breakdown of how to skillfully foreshadow.
Orias hears the sounds of the Koraudian’s attacking the Cherazii camp. Commanding Chris to remain where he is, he spins and rides back to help. But he’s too late. The Koraudians and their leader, Rotoss, head henchman of Mactalde, have already overwhelmed the Cherazii. They capture Orias and threaten to systematically kill women and children until he gives them the Gifted and the orimere. On the other hand, if he helps them, Rotoss promises to let all the Cherazii live. After watching his people suffer for twenty years, Orias can no longer unflinchingly follow the paths of honor and tradition. In exchange for his people, he agrees to help Rotoss acquire Chris and the orimere. Essentially, he agrees to aid them in returning Mactalde, the worst of their enemies, from the dead.
Reader Comments: No, Orias! Don’t do it! It breaks my heart to see Orias betray all that is good, but Weiland writes his motivations so well that I completely understand why he makes this choice. Still, it’s going to bring truly terrible things upon the world. I do hope Orias survives long enough to make up for this tremendous error, and beyond that, I will say that this is one of my favorite things to explore in fiction: What makes a good man get involved in terrible things? Where is that line between good and bad, honor and need? The gray is a fascinating place, and Weiland’s exploration of it makes me all the more enthusiastic as a reader.
Writer Comments: Almost all fantasy settings are at least somewhat based off of real world periods and cultures. Weiland’s has a strong Renaissance flair. She drops in little details to solidify this, and readers fill in the gaps. Here are a few example details: the presence of guns, feathered hats, basket hilts. The settling has a hint of Three Musketeers to it. Picking a real world time or place can help a reader fill in details an author leaves out for the purpose of not bogging down in scene setting. This is not necessary, of course, but it is a tool to keep in mind.
Thank you for joining me today for these chapters of K.M. Weiland’s Dreamlander. The story is getting complex and compelling, so make sure to swing back by next Monday to find out just how bad things are going to get for Chris, Orias, and Allara. Until then, I’ll see you all on Friday for further forays into books, fiction, the speculative, and life.