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From School Library Journal
Grade 7-12-- A compelling fantasy that combines elements of Native American and Celtic mythology to create a fluid and unexpected otherworld, open to all with the ability to enter and traverse it. Teenaged cousins Nina and Ashley have shared a bedroom since Ash's mother's death three years earlier. Ash is often sullen, uncooperative, and in trouble, and the two are usually at odds. Then a series of disturbing nightmares in which Nina finds herself awkwardly inhabiting the bodies of various animals leaves her shaken and convinced that Ash is somehow responsible. What Nina doesn't know is that Ash has stumbled into the dreaming place--the spirit world--and may be the only one who can rescue her from the hungry manitou spirit who is causing her visions. Surprising combinations of formal and informal language from both spirit and human characters help to link the worlds, making the spirit world more accessible while readers' own becomes more mysterious. The satisfying conclusion hints at more otherworldly adventures to come. While Nina is a rather bland character, Ash and her colorful friends and adversaries, and icons such as the strange tarot cards that foretell her journey and the pomegranate that is pivotal in her quest, come alive through the text. Froud's effective illustrations depict the characters Ash meets as well as the cards themselves, and reinforce the mood of the tale. --Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The main characters, Nina and Ash, are so typical they verge on being stereotypes. The book ends up being Caitlin's Way crossed with Sabrina the Teenaged Witch...
I ended up liking Ash more than Nina mainly because I could identify with her pain (she lost her mother). And because, despite her predictability, she showed more personality than her cousin. I kept being annoyed by the book because Nina was acting rather vapid and whiny through most of it, and I could feel the author's preference for her on every page.
De Lint, I think, thought more people (or kids) would identify with Nina, who is smart and thinks math is interesting and worries about boys and complexions and reads Sassy magazine. Ash is the bad one--the girl who skips class and doesn't care about things, and walls off her emotions, and can't deal with the world. But Ash, who often sits in the park and has actual conversations with homeless people (oh my!) is a far more complex character in my view. She has bravery and skill as well as brains. This all comes into play when the conflict rears its ugly head, but the end message seems to be "Only when Ash learns that it's better to be more like her cousin than like herself can she save the day and be happy." I'm not down with that.
The idea for this book is a good one.Read more ›
"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.
Ashley's mother was recently murdered, and her father doesn't want her around. She ends up being shrugged off on her kindly but hippieish aunt and uncle, and her nervous cousin Nina. There, Ashley buys occult books, plays heavy metal, alarms Nina into thinking that she is a witch, and cultivates a core of anger at her life in general. Her only real friends are a street tarot reader and a slightly eccentric shaman (who is, for some reason, called "Bones").
But soon Bones whisks Ashley off to the mystical Otherworld, a place of legends and spirits. A bloodthirsty spirit called a manitou is stalking Nina, who was accidently dedicated to her as a baby. In the real world, Nina struggles to escape strange specters and a homicidal stranger who knows about the manitou's pursuit of her. Ashley must try to save her cousin -- and will learn a few things about herself in the process.
"The Dreaming Place" is not a bad novella, it's just not a particularly good one. While de Lint is now experienced and has written many books, it becomes evident when reading this that it was written early in his career. The pacing essentially alternates between being sluglike and fast, with high-activity stuff with Nina in the real life in one chapter and more agonizing soul-searching by Ashley in the next. It's somewhat too short for the wealth of potential material, zipping through in just over a hundred pages, zipping straight into the action without much buildup.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
In this book, Charles de Lint, who wrote so well for the young adult crowd in Riddle of the Wren, displays the worst kind of simplistic moralizing and talking down to the reader. Read morePublished on March 1 2004 by EmBee
I loved the intermingling of spirituality and fantasy within the pages of this Charles De Lint novella. I am beginning to seriously wonder if De Lint is pagan or not. Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2003 by DJ_Bitter
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