Dreamstone Paperback – Mar 15 2009
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About the Author
P.A. Hendrickson is a new voice in modern fiction. Born in Southern California and raised in the historic river town of St. Charles, Missouri, his imagination grew from liberal doses of Science-Fiction and Fantasy. Although he loves to write, his favorite occupation is that of husband and father. He currently resides in Illinois with his wife and children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Unfortunately, without any military and with little in the way of weapons, Prothia appears to be a perfect target for slavers or anyone else looking for a small, out-of-the-way, planet. Also unfortunately, no one on the planet knows slavers and other planet conquering types are on their way to create havoc in Prothia's peaceful society. Fortunately, Joebin has been having dreams telling him that he is the Dreamlord. All Joebin needs to do to repel the slavers and other would-be planet conquerors is find the Dreamstone.
The heart of this book is a classic fantasy motif, the quest. In many ways, this book reads like a fantasy book. However, it is science fiction and anything that appears to be a fantasy the author is able to explain in terms of science as the book evolves; well, almost everything, but that is for a reader to discover.
The book follows the progress of assorted individuals approaching planet Prothia and those involved in the quest. While Joebin tries to find the Dreamstone the slavers approach Prothia. Once Joebin finds the Dreamstone and tries to learn how to use it, the slavers are rounding up the largely defenseless population. The book asks many questions and it appears that author Hendrickson has painted himself into a corner, more than once. Fear not, Hendrickson creatively works his way out of any apparent corner using devices every bit as creative as the devices used by Isaac Asimov, who frequently painted himself into corners and then just as creatively worked his way out of them.
As with many books having a quest, this one has some slow spots. However, author Hendrickson uses the slower spots to develop his characters and his story. Even so, Hendrickson could have eliminated some of the prose and the story might have been tighter.
The real question is whether the story is interesting. It is. Hendrickson throws in some entertaining and surprising curves along the way that I found interesting. Hendrickson kept close to standard quest elements, but added enough new elements to keep his readers focused on the story. I was unable to guess where this quest was going.
One thing puzzled me a little. I got an anti-war sense for much of this novel. It seemed like all was peace and love conquers all. Yet, this novel ends up being quite violent. Many people die, are maimed, and otherwise harmed in many ways. There are "nonviolent" resolutions that are quite violent. I guess one way to get revenge on a violent individual is to hurt them in a way that is continuous, painful and extended. Think torture raised to a new level. I leave it up to the reader to learn what I mean by this explanation. In my mind, death might have been better.
This book was interesting and entertaining. I enjoyed the characters and the story. The writing was clear and coherent and the story was easy to follow, which is marvelous given that Hendrickson switched points of view regularly. The inevitable slow points were used to purpose and made the exciting ending even more exciting. Hendrickson should write more books, because he has a talent for it.
My thanks to the author's representative for providing me with a review copy of this book.
The story tells of Joebin Vassiter, the Dream Lord unawares (until, that is, that he's told of his status) as he leads an unlikely group of adventurers on a quest to save his world. Prothia is a little-known, less-desired planet inhabited by the descendents of war criminals who determine that for the purposes of survival they will set up a society of peace. Unknown (a lot of that going on on Prothia) to these inhabitants, there is an entire society of peace-loving Atlomians who have hidden themselves from everyone, all the while pulling strings to guide humans in the settlement across the river into doing their own "projects."
In order to save his own society, Vassiter learns that he must also save the Atlomians, and he must do so without violence. All is not lost, though. The Atlomians have created to Dreamstone to aid him in his task; and only a Dream Lord can tap into the power of the Dreamstone to, for lack of a better phrase, make dreams come true.
The book has several positive features - it is a compelling story, with heroes facing seemingly insurmountable foes, it is written in language that paints moving pictures in the mind of the reader, and the characters themselves are believable (even the alien life forms). Even so, there are some things that might discourage the average reader--the book is lengthy, almost to a fault. Passages in the middle of the story have a tendency to drag. But don't let that discourage you, the fast-paced reading encountered at the beginning of the story which attracts you to the story itself, returns in flying colors in the last chapters as Vassiter battles for the safety of all of Prothia.
Because the story itself is so good (even with the occasional slow spot), and it is relatively free of foul language and explicit sex scenes so often appearing gratuitously in modern fiction because "you have to include it" I heartily recommend this book and look forward to picking up another Hendrickson title to escape in. For now, I'll just leave Dreamstone with 4.5 out of 5 reading glasses.
--Benjamin Potter, March 23, 2010
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to others, especially fans of science fiction or adventure stories.