Before we begin, happy Memorial Day to everyone, and let me say thank you to all the troops past and present and to their families for their service and sacrifices.
Today, we resume our read of Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland. When last we left Chris, Allara, the Searcher, had finally found him and was horrified that he’d brought Mactalde across the worlds. Additionally, one of Mactalde’s men in Chicago is after Chris to kill him. For the sections of this read today for writing, we’ll be taking a closer look at the word choices Weiland makes and their uses in impacting the story.
To review or catch up on this read, click here.
Chris goes back to sleep in his Chicago apartment and wakes in the dream world as the skycar draws near to Reon Couteau. For all Allara is wound tighter than a spring, he’s tempted to push her enough to crack the icy shell she radiates. Chris tries to make the best of his situation, live up to the mistake he made, and make amends, but before he can do much, he must first visit the Garowai. Upon entering Reon Couteau’s palace, Allara immediately takes him down to see the creature, somewhat angel-like in its function of passing messages from heaven.
Reader Comments: Ooo, it will be fun to watch Chris push at Allara, her to lash back at him, and then finally for something to break and let something else sweet, vulnerable, and intimate come through. Such is the good stuff of romantic subplots.
Writer Comments: One of Weiland’s skills as an author is painting vivid images. These help set the scene, create a world with which readers have never before seen, and add lush layers to the story. Here are some of my favorites from this chapter.
“a few bites of pasta pillows, sweet tomato sauce, and stringy mozzarella.” page 143, Kindle Location 2656
“She looked up to where the sun, a fat peach swimming in blue cream, burned down at them.” page 144, Kindle Location 2685
“Mist cloaked the top, like diaphanous scarves upon ebony shoulders, hiding but not obscuring the city that crowned the summit and spilled down the side of the hill.” page 148, Kindle Location 2766
“The waterfall smashed down and raised a cloud of mist that obscured everything. from within the spray, a blue-gray shadow swam toward them, slowly, almost leisurely. The curtain of mist broke. Through the haze protruded a craggy feline head, framed in a dark mane and and darker beard. Green irises, visible even from across the lake, gleamed. They stared at Chris, unmoving. The milky inner lids blinked, and the Garowai emerged.” page 152, Kindle Location 2848
Allara takes Chris down to meet the Garowai. She is furious with the Garowai because he told Harrison Garnett that Chris was coming, but he did not deem it knowledge to share with her. She doesn’t understand and feels betrayed. Then the Garowai gently sends her away so he can talk to Chris privately. He shares with Chris that, by bringing Mactalde across, Chris tore the delicate balance between the worlds. Now a cold, and presumably destructive, wind rises.
Reader Comments: I feel so bad for Allara. I know the Garowai is trying to be gentle with her, but it’s so obvious, even without being in her POV, that she is deeply hurt. The fact that the Garowai sent her away to talk to Chris probably only deepened that hurt. I imagine these wounds will manifest themselves into greater problems later, ones Chris will probably have to deal with.
Writer Comments: Here Weiland emphasizes the coming darkness, danger, and destruction. An unnatural and cold wind has begun to blow, and it is likely only a whisper of what is coming. She is setting the mood for the rest of the book. To do this, she chooses words that conjure deadly and dark images. Here are a couple examples:
“mist dissipated into white wraiths” page 153, Kindle Location 2852
“The cold edge of the wind cut across his unshaven cheek.” page 158, Kindle Location 2972
Allara misses sleep worrying over how to handle the situation and writing a letter to her father, the king of Lael, breaking the news that Mactalde has returned. By morning, a crowd gathered outside the palace, probably led by Nateros, a zealous religious and political mob leader who claims that the Searcher uses witchcraft to bring the Gifted. She wakes Chris to begin preparing him to take care of himself. Until he’s fully capable, she won’t let him out of her sight.
Reader Comments: Oh dear, Chris is in for a rough time between Allara’s mood, an unfamiliar world and customs, and the grueling task before him.
Writer Comments: Power words help portray character depth and add emotion to a scene or description. They are words that hold impact and layered, emotional meaning. Check out these first two paragraphs of this chapter. I’ve bolded and underlined what I think are the power words of this section that really give oomph.
“Sleep had abandoned Allara halfway through the night.
“For as long as she could remember, Reon Couteau had been the prison of her soul. Even back in the days when she had been young enough to be a friend to hope, when she had believed being a Searcher was an honor and not a curse, even then she had escaped the shadows of this ancient fortress whenever she could. An oppressive force clung to the very walls here, a sense of history incarnate perhaps. It was a constant presence, an invisible gaze watching over her shoulder, observing her every decision, her every action--and judging her.”