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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that a teen girl gets pregnant in a sex scene so oblique that the reader isn't really certain that sex has occurred until later in the story when the pregnancy is revealed. There is some violence, including fighting, kidnapping, and a girl is killed by fire.
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What's the story?
In 1906, Dreamhunters have the ability to go into The Place, and bring dreams out to share in entertainment performances and convalescent homes. Laura, a young dreamhunter whose father disappeared in the first book, Dreamhunter, takes over another dreamhunter's performance, imposing a horrifying nightmare meant to alert the public to the abuse of dreams by the government. But that abuse is only the tip of the iceberg in a far-reaching conspiracy to use dreamhunters to control the population.
Is it any good?
This book about dreams has a dreamlike quality: not everything makes sense, but it's oddly compelling, and completely original. The jumble of characters is confusing, especially if you haven't read the first book, and the ending leaves many questions unanswered. But there's an urgency to the narrative, and a strength to the writing, that keeps the pages turning even when you're not completely sure what's going on.
On the other hand, alert readers will have figured out the conspiracy long before the characters do, and may wonder why these brilliant people are so obtuse. But that is compensated for by the author's creation of Nown, a fascinating being Laura made in the first book. Part Golem, part guardian angel, this teen-girl fantasy literally comes into his own here. This flawed but intriguing work doesn't hold up to the comparison to Philip Pullman touted on the cover. But it has flashes of brilliance, and one can hope for even better in the future from this promising author.