Hello, everyone! We’re back today with our read of Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland. When last we left Chris Redston, the skies had opened up and were dumping massive hail over the battlefield where he tried to kill Mactalde before the man’s presence could destroy the world.
To catch up or review previous part of this read, click here.
As the enormous hail storm assaults the city of Glen Arden like an artillery bombardment, Allara tries to get the people to rally in defense of their own people so they can hold the bridge long enough to get their men to safety. But no one will listen. They blame her for everything, and she barely escapes getting stoned to death. Quinnon forbids anyone from taking shelter in the palace as a result. But when Chris finally reaches the palace, the people beg him for rescue. He allows women, children, and men past fighting age to enter, but those who refused to raise a hand to defend their people, he leaves in the street to fend for themselves.
Reader Comments: Nicely intense chapter. I love how Allara’s unflappable exterior is breaking. I love how Quinnon is putting his faith in Chris. I love how Weiland is truly making the world--physical and social--fall apart.
Writer Comments: External conflict like battle or disaster is best when accompanies and mirrored with internal conflict. In this instance, as the city barely holds itself together, the world is breaking with hail, and the enemy is winning, Allara fights for a shred of faith, just one reason to believe there is hope. She receives that bit when she realizes, despite all odds, that Chris still lives. Tie your external and internal conflicts together. Mirror them with each other, and you will get a more powerful story.
Chris checks on his family, who have sheltered in the palace. However, his sister Sirra has gone out to bring food to their father and brother-in-law. But riots roil through the city, and it’s no safe place for a young woman alone. Chris goes out to find her and comes face to face with the hatred toward Allara and the depths to which so much of the city has sunk. When he finds Sirra, she’s trying to rescue a jiswar cub, and Steadman (the former guardsman who now follows Nateros) is elbow to elbow with the rioters and confronts Chris. He chooses not to kill Chris then, saying he does have to, and Sirra and Chris flee for the safety of the palace.
Reader Comments: Rescuing the jiswar cub certainly made Sirra likable. There are a few things that always tend to lean a character that direction. Cute, fuzzy, helpless baby animals are certainly one of the tops on that list.
Writer Comments: There is little that is obviously significant about moving the plot forward in this chapters, so, as I haven’t read the whole book yet, I’m going to take a stab at what I think Weiland might be setting up for. This chapter, as far as I can tell, does two main things: First, it demonstrates to Chris and us readers how far the city is falling apart internally. Second, it sets up for potential problems and conflicts later. For this last, a few possible things: It reminds us of Steadman, who will undoubtedly play a villainous role later. It establishes a greater emotional bond between Chris and his family, which I suspect Weiland will later utilize to raise the stakes by putting them in greater peril. It introduces the jiswar cub. The cub can potentially fulfill a number of roles: letting us identify more with Sirra in preparation for a later role, or the cub will either tip the scales in Chris’s favor later or it will bring trouble that will raise the stakes or help move Chris closer to the climax of the story.
When Allara checks on Eroll, who is still recovering from a gunshot wound, he informs her that she’s falling in love with Chris. Shortly after, Chris finds her and kisses her. But she insists there will be time after the war for love, even though she knows it’s an excuse. She adopts the jiswar cub.
Reader Comments: Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to sense the person you love the way Allara can sense Chris? Sure, it would probably have a downside occasionally, but it would also make things special, I should think.
Writer Comments: There are many levels and landmarks toward closeness and intimacy in real life and in fictional life. One of the big ones is confessing secrets, especially those that leave one vulnerable, those one has clung to for ages. In this chapter, Allara confesses to Chris that, since she was nine and found the first Gifted, she feels like she was pushed off a cliff. Now, she’s clinging for dear life. She doesn’t know how far the fall is. It could be ten inches or ten leagues. She’s terrified to let go. Her confessing this to Chris is a major step for her as a character and for them as a relationship. Relationships, even fictional ones, require believable steps, and for that to occur, they must mirror the way relationships are formed in real life.
Thank you for joining me for today’s chapters of K.M. Weiland’s Dreamlander. We’ll resume next Monday. Until then, swing back by on Friday for further forays into books, fiction, the speculative, and life.
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