Parents' Guide to

The Dark Dreamweaver

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Mild, bland, confusing, amateurish fantasy.

Book Nick Ruth Fantasy 2004
The Dark Dreamweaver Poster Image

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This is the kind of novel adults think kids ought to like, and it has gotten a bunch of awards from parenting organizations you've mostly never heard of. And, no doubt some kids will enjoy it. But one of the biggest advantages of waiting until your work is good enough to get picked up by a real publisher is that you get a professional editor who will push you to make you a better writer.

The plot -- boy goes to other world, learns magic, defeats evil wizard -- has been done before, the story is bland, and the writing is amateurish. There is no believable character development. Despite pages and pages of exposition, the way magic works, and the reasons for the wizard's evil, are unclear at best, and there's no internal logic -- things just seem to happen for the convenience of the plot. The jokes show the author amusing himself, and will mostly go right over the heads of young readers: One spell is "Puffnstuff," and another is "Vulcanius Mindmeldium."

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