Let's face it...there are some Newford books that you have to make charts and maps and timelines for just to figure out what's going on. Not that I'm complaining--Jilly and Wendy and Sophie, Christy and Geordie, and newcomers like Mick and the Crow Girls are like slightly out-of-town best friends, and the city of Newford sprawls out on the landscape of one's imagination--it's a city that EVERYONE wants to visit.
"The Dreaming Place" is a Newford book without all of the backstory, which is vaguely annoying and slightly relieving at the same time. In "The Onion Girl," I kept a list on the inside cover of who all the minor characters (Mona, Margaret, etc.) were, and where I remembered them from. Here, there was none of that...just a straightforward story about an angry young girl having trouble finding a place in a stange country after losing her mother. So much trouble, in fact, that she attracts the attention of Something Nasty, and gets her naive cousin in Big Trouble.
Fans of de Lint's urban fantasy won't be disappointed in this light read. (Also, Newford buffs, I believe that this marks the first appearance of Cassie and Bones, of "Trader" and "The Onion Girl" fame.) the only thing that really got to me was the atrocious font that this book was printed in, and believe me, I got over that pretty quickly. So don't judge this book by its length, or the fact that it's classified as a children's book. "The Dreaming Place" fits flawlessly into the heart and soul of Newford.