Dreamfall: Dreamfall, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Dreamfall: Dreamfall, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Dreams turn dangerous in technothriller with nonstop chills.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Dreamfall attempts to be plausible in the way it presents the neuroscience of sleep.

Positive Messages

By working together, teens can overcome their individual fears.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Among the seven patients, Cata, Fergus, and Ant work hard to keep the others safe. With perhaps the exception of Sinclair, all of the sleepers see the need for cooperation, if they want to survive.


Each nightmare contains violence, from killer clowns to tentacled horrors. Even though they're based on dreams, the visions can have physical effects in the waking world.


Some of the characters are able to flirt with each other between episodes of terror.


More than a dozen uses of "s--t" and "f--k,' as well as six or seven instances of "hell," "damn," and "a--wipe."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dreamfall is the first half of a science fiction duology by Amy Plum. Seven teen patients experience deadly nightmares during an experimental procedure that goes awry. Violent scenes occur in nearly every chapter, and they feature monsters, dead bodies and killer clowns, but they're not graphically gory. Strong language includes more than a dozen uses of "s--t" and "f--k" as well as six or seven instances of "hell," "damn," and "a--wipe." Sexual content is limited to mild flirting. 

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byOpal W. July 5, 2017

This book was a lot scarier than I expected.

I was not expecting the book to be horror. I don't usually read horror because I don't like creepy things, but this book surpassed all my expectation... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byBookworm15 July 15, 2020
When I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. It was intriguing and frightening. It's about seven kids who go into a medical study for ins... Continue reading

What's the story?

At the start of DREAMFALL, seven teen subjects undergo an experimental procedure designed to cure their crippling insomnia. When an earthquake rattles the equipment, the sleepers are launched into a shared dreamspace from which they are unable to return. Each patient has a history of recurring nightmares, and elements from those dreams (mad monks, killer clowns, tentacled terrors, etc.) attack them in sequence. Those dreamers who die in the Dreamfall also succumb to heart attacks and other ailments in the "real world." Can the kids band together to fight their individual terrors and find a way out of their comas?

Is it any good?

Readers familiar with the conventions of horror movies and novels will enjoy this creepy side trip into the territory of The Matrix. With Dreamfall, author Amanda Plum brings together a diverse cast of teen patients desperate enough to undergo an experimental procedure. The continued presence of a young med student during the medical emergency is not particularly realistic, but the extra outside point of view is required by the plot. The cliffhanger ending is hard hitting, and readers who enjoy nonstop chills and thrills will be eager for more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Dreamfall uses the trappings of horror movies and novels to tell its story. Why is horror such a popular genre?

  • Why are nightmares and dreams so powerful? What kinds of activities in the waking world can affect them?

  • How is violence used in Dreamfall? How does the threat of it affect the characters' behavior?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrillers and science fiction

Themes & Topics

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