Dreamstrider by Lindsay SmithDreamstrider by Lindsay Smith


byLindsay Smith

Hardcover | October 6, 2015

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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 neighboring 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.

Lindsay Smith is the author of Cold War era espionage novels Sekret and Skandal. She writes on foreign affairs and lives in Washington, D.C.
Title:DreamstriderFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 8.45 × 5.9 × 1.29 inPublished:October 6, 2015Publisher:Roaring Brook PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1626720428

ISBN - 13:9781626720428


Rated 1 out of 5 by from A For the Lover of Books Review Number of pages: 394 Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1 Rating (out of five stars): 1 I swear I’m trying to be kinder in my reviews of books I don’t like, but after reading books like Dreamstrider, it’s far more difficult than I thought it would be. Livia is one of the most annoying protagonists I have read from in a long time. She has no self-esteem whatsoever, and spends her days mooning over a boy she knows she can never have (which, as it turns out, doesn’t matter). We get it, you feel useless after some incident that isn’t explained until the last quarter of the book because your superiors at the worst spy agency are horrible at planning. Telling the reader how useless you think you are 10 times per chapter is doesn’t provide insight into your character, it’s just annoying. Livia is the only person who can dreamstride (technically), so she can’t be completely useless, yet all she does is complain. The rest of the characters were also incredibly juvenile and one-dimensional. There are two girls who were in a relationship together that ended after one of them was threatened by her father, and they basically pull the first grade technique of “I’m not talking to you” when they are forced into the same room. These are near adults we are talking about. Also, who’s idea was it to name the love interest something very similar to the name of the country they inhabit. It makes an already confusing novel harder to follow. The world-building is terrible. The reader is thrust into a world they know absolutely nothing about, and are expected to know the intricate political system by chapter one. The Tunnelers are introduced in the first chapter, but even after completing the book, I still know next to nothing about them. The book tells us that they aren’t citizens, and they are controlled by gangs (of which we only learn about one), but that’s about all we are told. This especially frustrating since three quarters of the plot has to do with the Tunnelers. Why aren’t they citizens? What do they do? The people in Dreamstrider believe in The Dreamer, who is equivalent to God for people of Christian faith. Why he is called The Dreamer isn’t well explained. Why dreams are sacred to these people isn’t well explained either, and why the regular people in this world apparently appear as various animals in a strange dream world that only certain people know how to access still baffles me a week later, but at least The Dreamer is mentioned so often that the word “dreamer” has lost all meaning to me. Half the word count of this book has to be dream related terms. It is also frequently mentioned how the aristocracy bejewels their faces. This goes completely unexplained, despite it being a large part of the society, and a small part of the novel.  The bejeweling of ones face doesn’t seem to do anything, so I’m curious as to why they do it at all. The plot twists were fairly obvious. Frankly, it was more of a plot twist that Livia had no idea what was happening half the time. Overall, Dreamstrider was filled with obvious plot twists, annoying characters, and very little world building, earning it 1 star out of five. I wanted to like Dreamstrider, but it isn’t exactly an enjoyable experience to spend the entire novel confused.
Date published: 2017-05-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A wonderful book! Dreams have always been of fascination to me, because I can never remember mine. I knew I had to give Dreamstrider a chance, especially since the author’s other novels sound so interesting (I have them sitting on my shelf, I’ll read them one of these days!). I really enjoyed Dreamstrider and it was definitely a thought-provoking book. In a world where dreams are revered and worshipped, Livia is a dreamstrider. She has the ability to enter the dreamworld and become a temporary host of another person’s body, through their dreams. Her people believe that The Dreamer guides every person and shows them the way through their dreams. The priests of Livia’s land consider her a mockery to The Dreamer, and she is unsure what that means about her role in the government. Livia struggles with accepting herself and the world around her. Dreamstrider is a wonderful novel full of rich world-building, and themes of self-discovery and acceptance. Livia is an interesting protagonist. While she sometimes doubts herself and her ability, I would consider her a true strong female protagonist. Her doubts keep her scared but she manages to face every challenge with a little perseverance and thinking. Her doubts are those that we face almost daily. Doubts about our ability, doubts about the people around us, doubts about our own pasts. Her voice is real and heavily relatable, despite the fact that her doubts involve more dreams. I found the plot to be a bit slow at times but I liked the big twists and turns. The world-building was fascinating and kept me engaged when the plot didn’t. I also really enjoyed the romance. I’m usually iffy about romances that start off right away in the novel with long-time friends/companions but I really enjoyed it in Dreamstrider. The romance isn’t clear-cut at times which was both frustrating and awesome. Overall, Dreamstrider was an awesome fantasy novel that I highly recommend to people searching for a book with a unique premise and important theme. I can’t wait to read all of Lindsay Smith’s other novels now! *runs off frantically*
Date published: 2015-10-03

Editorial Reviews

"Tense action and rich worldbuilding make for thrilling reading." -Kirkus

"With its intriguing world, taut narrative, and complex heroine, this well-wrought fantasy charms from the start."-BCCB