Welcome back to this review and commentary for writers and readers of K.M. Weiland’s Dreamlander, a fantasy where Chris Redston, the Gifted, can cross between our world and the world of dreams. Unfortunately, he’s just made the mistake of a dozen lifetimes and brought back the conquering warlord prophesied to rise again and who promises war.
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Allara and her party come upon the Koraudians and the Cherazii. Seeing the Cherazii captives and knowing the Gifted is near, they attack. The Cherazi fight as does Chris, but in the midst of the battle Allara realizes that the worst has happened: The Gifted brought back Mactalde. Then Mactalde shoots Chris, and Allara dives into the battle to save him.
Reader Comments: *rubs hands together* So Allara and Chris are about to meet face to face. This should be good.
Writer Comments: Everything in a story leads to specific turning points in the plot and then, eventually, to the climax. This is a huge turning point of Dreamlander. The hero and heroine of the book are about to meet, and for this to happen, Weiland brings everything together: the Koraudians, Mactalde, Allara, Chris, the Cherazii. Along the many threads that build a plot, there also needs to be neat knots.
Allara rescues Chris and the Koraudians flee. However, Allara is none too happy with Chris. She explains that the only way to fix what he did is for him to kill Mactalde. He can’t bring him back to his own world because that would rip the fabric between the worlds even further. Chris realizes that, now, every life lost in the war Mactalde intends to start is on his hands. He swears to do everything he can to make things right, but Allara is not ready to believe much good in him.
Reader Comments: It’s going to be a lot of fun when Allara finally reveals all those vulnerabilities she tries to conceal deep inside. Weiland has already hinted in this book that part of the story will be about Allara’s emotional healing, and from the tiny fragments I’m picking up so far, it should be a satisfying journey.
Writer Comments: There is a whole range of POV (point-of-view) options when writing a book. Weiland uses close 3rd in Dreamlander, which happens to be my favorite. In close 3rd, the POV follows only one character’s perspective and closely enough to intimately glimpse that character’s thoughts and emotions. As a result, close 3rd has the same challenge as 1st person POV. It’s difficult to convey the inner world of other characters, especially when those characters hide that world from the POV. Weiland solves this problem by having Chris be perceptive. She specifically hints at Allara’s emotions by having hints of them flash across her face, just enough to intrigue Chris and the reader.
Chris, Allara, and Quinnon get back on one of the skycars to return to Reon Couteau while Eroll, the Duke of Thyra, gathers men to go after Mactalde. Exhausted and shot, Chris falls asleep on the journey and wakes up in Mactalde’s house in Chicago. While trying to sneak out, he nearly gets shot again by one of Mactalde’s men who comes to kill him. Racing breakneck through the Chicago streets, Chris runs into Mike, his roommate, and Brooke, his roommate’s sister, in their bright orange bug. Out of sheer luck the assassin misses the fact that Chris gets in the car., Mike presses him for information, but Chris dares not tell him. He may not think he’s going crazy anymore, but Mike will surely drop him in a psych ward if Chris confessed all.
Reader Comments: Why do I get the feeling that Brooke is going to cause some major problems for Chris and, likely, while innocently hunting her career creating story. Either that or she’ll get shot or something and give Chris major impetus to do something drastic.
Writer Comments: In fantasy, it’s important to establish the world’s rules for the reader, like guideposts. For this particular setup in Dreamlander, Weiland has a lot of complex building to work through. However, one of the things I really appreciate is how she addresses questions that I as a reader have in the story. For example, why can’t Chris just take Mactalde back? Or what happens to Chris if he is constantly awake in some sense because when he sleeps in one world, he wakes in the other? We do not have all the answers yet, but because Weiland has her protagonist bring them up, as a reader, I’m much happier waiting to find out. If a protagonist or other major character feels the same way or similarly to the reader, the reader is much more likely to generate sympathy and to be patient.