Review: Dreamstrider

DreamstriderDreamstrider by Lindsay Smith

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject’s body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.

Beware spoilers ahead!

This book was recommended to me by my GR friend Alyssa ! Click on her name to read her review.


After reading the synopsis and Alyssa’s review I knew that I must read it! I love heist and espionage novels and have always been fascinated by the dream world. You can imagine my excitement when this came in the mail. Unfortunately it wasn’t what I thought it would be.

Livia is poor and for a living she works under some gang leaders. Her job is to clean the home of whoever she is assigned to. She is assigned to Professor Hesse. Hesse is very nice to her and they bound over her ability to dreamstride. Due to Livia’s interest and her desire to create a better life for herself Hesse agrees to teach Livia how to dreamstride.

She falls in love with what she learns and spends as much time as possible in the dream world. One day she comes back a little late from the dream world. She quickly sets about cleaning when she overhears a conversation between Hesse and a man whose voice she does not recognize. Soon she realizes that they are discussing her. Specifically about her ability to dreamstride.

As she listens in on the conversation a boy who is sitting on the desk informs her that there is nothing to fear. She jumps and tries to avoid a conversation with said boy. Hesse and the unknown man greet her. They explain her that they would like her to work with the secret police and use her ability to do some spy work. The boy whose name is Brandt is the spy in training that she will be paired up with. She agrees.

The first chapter starts off with Livia explaining that while she has an incredible gift she isn’t that good at using it. Sometimes she messes up and gets her and Brandt into trouble. But because the secret police value her gift so much she hasn’t been killed.

She and Brandt are on another mission. They have been informed that someone is planning to wage war with the country they live in. For this mission Livia has used her dreamstriding abilities to take over General Sun. Brandt fakes to General Sun’s valet. ‘General Sun’ has an appointment with the commandment of the army. During the meeting they have to extract information that will either prove that there is indeed a war or that their information was wrong.

As the meeting commences they confirm that there is indeed a war coming. While Livia speaks with the commandment Brandt looks around the room for clues. Livia has to physically extract information from the General’s memory and in doing so this wakes the General. This allows the General to return to his body while Livia remains lost in the Nightmare Waste. Brandt covers for Livia and the two quickly leave. Before the General can do anything to Brandt he punches him. And Livia returns to her body.

While I was reading this I was completely confused about the dream world. At first I’d assumed that I got the jest of it. But as I continued reading I was completely dumbfounded. I had no idea what was going on and had to re-read some parts. Then it occurred to me that if I didn’t understand what I was reading in the beginning how was I supposed to understand it for the rest of the book? The dream world was sure to play a big part in the book. So I dropped it.

I did enjoy reading about the characters. Livia was realistic with fears and she wasn’t a special snowflake. She admits that she isn’t that experienced in using her powers and is truly terrified of messing up. Brandt was sweet as was Hesse. The writing was good and engaging! Unfortunately these aspects were not enough.

Overall this was not a bad book. I simply had no patience when reading this. I would recommend it to fans of the dream world and heist novels. I would also recommend it to readers who have lots of patience.

View all my reviews


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