Title: Dreams Lie Beneath
Author: Rebecca Ross
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Page Count: 496
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Date Published: November 2, 2021
You can find it here: Bookshop.org
The realm of Azenor has spent years plagued by a curse. Every new moon, magic flows from the nearby mountain and brings nightmares to life. Only magicians–who serve as territory wardens–stand between people and their worst dreams.
Clementine Madigan is ready to take over as the warden of her small town, but when two magicians arrive to challenge her, she is unknowingly drawn into a century-old conflict. She seeks revenge, but as she gets closer to Phelan, one of the handsome young magicians, secrets–as well as romance–begins to rise.
To fight the realm’s curse, which seems to be haunting her every turn, Clementine must unite with her rival. But will their efforts be enough to save Azenor from the nightmares that lurk around every corner?
I think Rebecca Ross flies a little under the radar in the YA Fantasy community. Her stories are always unique and her writing has an easy-to-follow flow that is sometimes hard to come by in the world of fantasy authors who create massive, overly confusing worlds. Which I love, don’t get me wrong, just sometimes you brain needs an itty bitty break. Fans of Margaret Rogerson and Shea Ernshaw should definitely pick up one of Rebecca’s novels.
I enjoyed my time reading Dreams Lie Beneath, delivering a cozy, interesting fantasy that didn’t take a lot of brain power to absorb into. The magic was interesting, well explained, and I am always game for a magicians duel storyline.
Here is the “but” you sense coming … the beginning didn’t match the end. I was really startled by the abrupt shift in Part 3 that almost took on a “fight for the crown” castles and courts vibe that didn’t sync with the 19th century farm villages and primitive cities that the beginning set up. Nor did it become a portal fantasy that could’ve justified the shift. Instead, the story was simply, and quite suddenly, completely different in tone and style … and sadly not for the better. To me, the ending section was clunky, awkward, slapped together, and disjunctive. Maybe not enough to take away from the whole, but disappointing after loving the first three quarters.
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