Welcome to the last chapters of Dreamland by K.M. Weiland. So far, we’ve gone on an epic journey of growth, sacrifice, desperation, and atonement with Chris Redston, who initiated the destruction of our world and that where we dream. Now, he must make the ultimate sacrifice to save all: he must die.
To review or catch up on previous parts of this read or to see other books I’ve reviewed with an eye toward learning from these talented writers, click here.
Orias dies, and the worlds keep breaking. Chris says goodbye to his family. He says goodbye to Allara, who finally lets him go after he whispers a phone number into her ear over and over and tells her she will remember and call it when she wakes, though she does not understand now. He goes to the chapel. They open the balcony door, and he steps out to see Lael, his true home, one last time. Quinnon lifts the great sword and brings it down through Chris’s neck.
Reader Comments: I was almost in tears reading this chapter. So moving. So heroic. If I say much more I will ruin it by diminishing its impact. You’ll have to read the full version.
Writer Comments: In a way, Chris receives the wish he made at the beginning, that the dreams stop, but in doing so, he loses everything. Yet a different ending would have less impact, and so while as a reader I ache for these characters, as a writer I nod to Weiland’s bold ending. She did not flinch, and for that, this climax is highly impactful. In the next two chapters, if she can bring Allara to Chris in Chicago and give hope for some happiness, then she will seal a terrific ending to a great book. As has often been a theme in my writer’s comments on Dreamlander, be bold and don’t hold back.
Chris wakes in Mike’s basement. When he climbs out, Mike and Brooke protesting at his heels, the wind is a gentle breeze and sunlight rims the sky. It’s over. The worlds’ imbalance is healed, but Chris will never see Lael again.
Reader Comments: I’m really, really hoping Allara in Chicago calls Chris. I’m expecting it because I want some happiness for him, but I’m still nervous it won’t happen.
Writer Comments: Images help make fiction zing with a deeper rhythm. When Chris steps outside Mike’s house, he catches the last snowflake and watches it melt in his palm. Weiland uses snow frequently in Dreamlander to represent the state of the world and highlight character emotions. Recall the snow waltzing and dancing dirges when Allara’s father died? This particular snowflake is like Chris’s last glimpse of Lael and the life he wishes he could have kept. It dies as he died to save the worlds, and with its death, it signals the coming of balance and a chilling victory. Images may not always be intentional on the authors part, but they can be powerful.
Two weeks later, Allara still has not called, but Chris’s dad has agreed to enter rehab. Further, Chris has a publisher interested in a book he wants to write. Then, while visiting his dad, Mike finds him to let him know some girl called for Chris. Shaking with emotion, he calls her back, and Allara answers the phone. She admits to dreaming that she should call him despite how crazy it sounds. Chris carefully encourages her so as not to frighten her but to nudge her toward ultimately being in his life. He tells her he’s a big believer in dreams, and she says she is also.
Reader Comments: Yay! I would love a short story or novella about their romance to know how happy they end up. Still, though, I’m glad life is looking forward for Chris.
Writer Comments: There are many types of stories and many ways people like to escape through them. Some like a lighter escape than others. Some like harrowing adventure. Some like tender love. Some like raging storms, and some prefer the clouds with just a little rain. For me and a number of others, I like stories that bring me through something bigger than myself, something epic. I like stories that shine a light on darkness and chaos and show that, however difficult the choices, however frail the hope, goodness can come from even the brink of oblivion or darkness. Dreamlander certainly fits that type of story. When writing, know what sort of impact you wish to have. Know the audience you wish to thrill and what they expect. Fantasy is a genre more open to these sorts of stories, so fantasy is a good category for Dreamlander.
If you enjoyed any part of this read of Dreamlander, pick up a copy. At the very end, Weiland tells how to get more goodies including deleted scenes and lots of extras. But I won’t tell you the secret. That will be something you’ll have to go find out yourself. :)
Also, last Friday, K.M. Weiland joined us for an interview that illuminated how this story came together. If you missed it, be sure to check it out, then pick up a copy of Dreamlander so you can catch all the bits I left out of this read and experience this powerful story firsthand.