Monday, 13 August 2012

Book Tour- The Waking Dream by Jennifer Ford Review

 Check out a giveaway of this book: link!!!
This is my completely honest review; though I seek not to offend, I swear every word is the fruit of my brain and my feelings- no other.

This is a fantasy novel which jumps between the perspectives of two men: Commander Dante and his Captain of the Guard, womaniser Kerran. A new threat to their crime free city comes in the form of the mysterious being Rasheim, and that isn't the only problem. It's been five years since the last contact with the world beyond the desert. For Dante, it couldn't get worse... could it?

Starting this book, the fact that the name of out main character was named Dante definitely caught my attention. It's a powerful name given its (assumed) namesake and I was interested to see why this name exactly. But as I got to reading, I found I didn't care about that as much and altogether forget that line of inquiry.

I found that Dante was definitely an interesting character, simply because he was so straightforwardly normal, but I slightly disliked the constant allusion to his logical thinking. But it didn't bother me so much as he actually thought logically after that. It was almost as though Jennifer was jumping down to whisper in my ear and reminding me he was logical. Sometimes it was useful reminder, other times annoying. I got the feeling that Dante was a very much a peacetime leader. (This could just be the fact we've been doing German history in school though, so I'm being over interpretative.) This is kind of reinforced later when Kerran steps up to take the mantle and leads more.

Kerran’s introduced as a very typical kind of misogynistic womaniser, but the moment he started to actually take a place on the stage of the book, he wasn't. I'm pleased by this, since I would otherwise have been perpetually annoyed by him. But despite some sexism in his belief of Gender roles (which he does overcome) he's fairly likeable.

For the first few chapters, I felt the book was fairly predictable. It followed your basic perfect city with a forgotten past and new threat they don't understand. But then the Messenger entered the picture. Simply put, I loved her character. I loved the mystery surrounding her and though you can guess at the truth to her (and I wasn't too far off the mark) she's still a very interesting person to see develop...or rather, come to understand. You go from mystified, to one understanding, to another, to a re-interpretation of a synthesis of the latter two. Maybe others would find it disjointed or even inconsistent, but it all makes sense in the context of the book, and towards the end you probably get the single nugget of pure truth behind her. Even when you learn who she is, you still see her as the mysterious messenger, which I think is hard thing to do; to so firmly establish who she is in a short time and no matter what else she does, that first impression is over powering.

It wasn't until around Chapter 5 that I was really hooked with the book though, since it was then that the magic actually started to come in. Anyone who has read enough of my fantasy reviews knows that this is always my favourite feature of a book and though it isn’t highly explored, I thought it was great. It’s not a topic I can dwell on though without giving up important details.

The dreams are probably the last most important feature of the book I can talk about safely. They are used as a kind of dramatic device earlier on to learn what we need to know, but they become much more important as the book progresses. They also underline the prominent differences between Kerran, the fighter, and Dante, the more logical and level headed. They also add this interesting dynamic of (at least early on) trying to guess when the events are real or dreamlike. They also mean that the more fantastical things leave a faint voice saying to you “This could just be a dream.” But then they take on a different level of importance later on when they go from being dreams to something much more dangerous, much more volatile, and much more significant.

Ultimately, this is really a riveting book (which might not have shown in this review). It seems to start slow but when events start to unfold it becomes a truly excellent fantasy book and when I finished I actually looked online to check I wasn’t missing pages. It came as such a surprise, and I wanted more in that instant. I’m interested to see where the book would go from here, but I’ll be there to find out…I hope!

Why did you decide to write it?
I am very interested in ancient history, and I spend a lot of time reading about ancient times and lost civilizations, and how climates in regions have altered over time. I have also always been a huge fan of fantasy and Sci-Fi. I started mixing elements of the two things together, and I was immediately struck with the idea of the lost civilization still being alive, just forgotten. The imagery that came to mind was so powerful, I just had to write it down. As I went further into it and discovered all the characters, it became a real world for me. And I think Dante and Kerran have a valid voice that resonates with a lot of people today.

Can I ask what that idea was that was so powerful? Is it a scene in the book- and if so which one? (If that isn’t giving too much away!)
It was the idea where I originally planned to start the book, but after I got into the story a bit I decided to change how it all started and began again from scratch – although the idea is still a powerful moment in the book. I can’t say too much about it because it is going to be a pivotal moment in the sequel.

The Messenger, in my opinion, is a fairly unusual character. But then she seems to stand against misogyny and act as Kerran’s exact opposite idea of a woman. And she is just so mysterious!!! What was the inspiration behind her?   
She was one of the first characters that I knew inside and out. I needed to have a strong woman, for obvious reasons. But I did not want her to have any of the typical sterotypes of strong women; I didn’t want it to be easy to categorize her. I toyed with telling parts of the book from her point of view, but found having her silent was far more interesting. I took my favorite characteristics from my favorite women, wrapped them together, and came up with the Messenger.

Kerran and Dante are opposites, yes? Did you set out to do this, or did they develop in this way? You say that the character came to you, so did they come in a pair or differently? And while we're on them, why did you choose the name Dante? 
In many ways, Dante and Kerran are opposites. That was not planned, it just happened that way. Dante’s character came first, and he was pretty well established as to how he acted and thought. Kerran evolved to fit the need of that secondary character; still strong, but very different from Dante. I chose the name Dante because it is a strong name; it means “lasting, enduring,” and it just fit perfectly to the character in my mind’s eye.

Why dreams? You could have had mysterious letters or a journal, I just wonder why did you decide on dreams?  
Why not dreams? Dreams are a gateway for our unconscious mind, which is really the powerhouse of our brain. So many things go on in dreams, and anything is possible in a dream. There is no such thing as the word “impossible” when you are dreaming. The idea was presented before in the movie “The Forbidden Planet’ but this is a different twist. It is a dream-world, where anything is possible, so long as you have the power to do it. As with all forms of magic, there are still rules, but there is unlimited potential (for both good and evil) in the dream world.

Finally, when do you think the sequel will be out? It says in the sample the end of 2012? Can we be so lucky?!  
Right now I am planning for November 2012. If I stay on track, then the sequel will be out around Thanksgiving.

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