Dreamland by Robert L Anderson book review

Robert L Anderson’s Dreamland looks to the land of nod for inspiration

What’s better than dreaming? Breaking into other people’s dreams, apparently. As a young girl, Odea discovered an incredible power that had laid dormant inside her – the ability to walk other people’s dreams.

Armed with three rules – don’t change anything, don’t walk the same person’s dreams more than once, and never be seen – Odea observes dreams from afar. When Connor moves into the house next door, however, the rules are swept aside as Odea invades his sleep night after night. It’s not without consequences, as the monsters begin their hunt for the dream walker.

It’s a well-written book with plenty of detail, and the narrative provides a pleasantly naïve tone that’s easy to associate with 17-year-old Odea. Characters are well developed and build a more emotional read – it’s particularly charming to experience Odea’s growing infatuation with Connor, and any reader may well recognise the feelings of self-consciousness that Anderson has nailed on the head.

Despite being an engaging read though, it feels fairly unsubstantial. There are whole scenes within the book that feel unnecessary, and for a generally fast-paced read, it tends to lose a little bit of momentum in these sections.

For a majority of the story you’re left in the dark about Odea’s incredible power, and with nothing to sate your desire for knowledge, it can be hard to plough on. On top of this, the plot itself seems patchy at best, and despite an attempt to resolve any mysteries towards the end of the novel, it’s fundamentally flawed in that key elements of the story are implausible and far-fetched.

Dreamland may not go down as a classic in the canon of literature, but if you can look past the frustrations of mystery and momentum, it’s a worthwhile read.