Phillip Aisling is just like any other boy, or so he thought. On the night of his 13th birthday he has a dream so vivid that he is convinced it was real! He soon learns that he has begun training with the Dream Masters. They practice lucid dreaming to be able to fully control their dreams, giving them immense power. But when his vivid dreams turn into nightmares he never wants to fall asleep again! In his struggle to understand his remarkable dreams and prevent terrible nightmares, he finds a book written to help young dreamers make sense of their new powers. It begins with a very peculiar poem:
Through the Gates of Dreaming come powers untold.
There are distant worlds for true dreamers to behold.
You may not understand just what your dreams mean
Once you have broken through the barrier in between.
Each moment you sleep brings signs without number.
May this book bring meaning to visions of your slumber.
The dictionary leads him to seek the guidance of the Oracle who gives him a numinous nagwaagan, or a magical dreamcatcher, to protect him from the draiths that are causing the nightmares. With the protection of the nagwaagan hanging above his bed, he is finally able to safely return to dreamland. But his struggle to learn to control his new powers has only just begun!
Join Phillip and his friends on an epic journey to learn how to become a powerful dreamer. Explore the possibilities of where our dreams might come from. Are our dreams nothing more than glimpses into alternate realities within the multiverse?
I thought this was a really unique and enjoyable book. It is geared toward Middle Grade, but as an adult, I enjoyed this fantasy story. I liked the descriptions of Phillip's dreams and could picture them clearly. I also liked reading about Phillip's friendships and hope that my kids one day have a set of friends like Phillip's. I listened to the Audible Audio version of this book narrated by Fred Wolinsky. I have listened to other books narrated by Wolinsky in the past, and he has some really good qualities to his narration: he gives unique voices to each of the characters, he has good pacing, and he does a good job of drawing the audience in. My criticisms are that his young girl voices tend to be a bit screetchy, and he tends to stretch out the last word of a sentence, which I found distracting. While those are my criticisms, those things may not bother other listeners. Overall, this is an enjoyable, family-friendly, and unique fantasy that is sure to please both child and adult listeners alike.
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I listened to an ARC of this audiobook with my 9 year old son while commuting. He and I were both fascinated by the premise. I have lucid dreamed a couple times, mostly about flying, so a story about a boy learning to control his dreams seemed like a great fit. I was right!
My son said, “Dad, you have to give it five stars. The story is so vivid and real, just like Phillip’s dreams.”
He really was immersed. Sometimes if his mom was with us and we were running errands he would try to get me to stay in the car so we could continue listening! I even volunteered to do some of the child chauffeuring so that we could listen a bit more.
Phillip has just turned thirteen and has a lucid dream for the first time. He meets someone in his dream that introduces him to the world of lucid dreaming. Phillip sees the wonders of his inner world and faces dangers that harm him in the real world. Bosse does a great job distinguishing the different characters and the audiobook narrator has a distinct voice for each one. The boy and I had a lot of fun imitating the character Cynthia’s voice. It was as much fun as when Alec Baldwin narrated Thomas the train. His voice for Mrs. Toppem Hat was hilarious!
Not only does Phillip face orange eyed draiths in his nightmares, but in his waking world he faces challenges from teachers who play favorites, older brother and cousin bullying, and balancing his personal and academic life. As a dad, I think it addresses many of the issues I’d like my kid to think about and find ways to overcome. Hopefully the teachers in real life aren’t running hidden agendas and willing to lie about kids grades, but the lessons translate to other real life situations.
The end of the story has successfully closed the adventure while opening the path for the next book in the series. If Bosse does write a follow up, I know my big boy and I will listen to it together!
On Phillip’s 13th birthday, his friends and family gather with presents, food, and plenty of quirky personalities. That night he has his first strange dream and he soon learns that he is in training to become a Dream Master. Luckily, he has a set of solid friends he can confide in. He’s going to need their help and advice!
Some parts of this book I enjoyed and some parts were only ho-hum for me. I didn’t dislike it, but I find that I wanted just a bit more from the story. I think maybe it is because I’m a scientist at heart and sometimes I wanted to step into the tale and explain to Phillip about coincidence and also how our mind sees and records more than we do consciously, and how that can affect our dreams. For instance, he has a crazy dream about a flower one night and the next day he notices the same kind of flower in his own yard, which had been there for perhaps a year (though perhaps without a bloom on it). So I think my natural skepticism kept me from enjoying this book. If you lack such skepticism or can shove it to the corner of your mind, you might enjoy this tale more than I did.
There are plenty of oddball personalities in this book and that’s one thing I really liked. Cynthia talks too loud all the time but she’s a stalwart friend. Jack, Phillip’s best friend and neighbor, is a rock, totally dependable. He’s also Thai so we get references to some really good food in this book. The there’s a new girl in school named Lair (I think. I had trouble telling if it was Lair or Blair). Anyway, she has lived in several places with her family and this gives her a bigger view of the world. She gives Phillip some useful advice several times concerning lucid dreaming and other cultures.
There’s a variety of hurdles that Phillip has to contend with. One of them is the perpetually-angry Mrs. Bishop, his history teacher at school. Sometimes his older brother Jeff is a bit difficult, along with his cousin Carl. Then there are the draiths in the dreamworld that give him nightmares and are capable of some painful tricks. Luckily, Phillip received a dream catcher early on that assists in preventing nightmares.
In the dream worlds that Phillip visits, I liked the sprite Fidgeon (or Fid for short) the most. He was helpful and playful. The old Dream Master that is in charge of Phillip’s training and the woman who gave Phillip his dream catcher (the numinous Nagwaagan) didn’t catch my imagination as much as Fid.
Phillip and his friends have a few troubles in this book but none of them really caught my attention. It was typical growing pains kind of stuff that really matters at the time, but weren’t anything spectacular or deep or dangerous, etc. This book has plenty of components that work for the story and yet none of it provoked emotions from me. Sad to say, I didn’t strongly connect with this book despite the obvious care and craftsmanship that went into it.
I received this book free of charge from the author.
The Narration: Fred Wolinsky continues to do great work in the world of audiobook narration. He has distinct voices for every character. I really liked that he pulled out some few special effects for certain dream character voices, like Fid. He’s also great at imbuing the kids’s voices with emotion. When Cynthia is angry, you know it. When Phillip is distraught over being wrongly accused of cheating, you know it. Wolinsky’s performance brings these characters to life!