The Dreamkeeper, by Mikey Brooks, 2013

case5.500x8.500.inddNever fear to dream…

Parker just wants to master his video games and maintain a degree of coolness at school. He never asked to be sucked into Dreams. He didn’t want to be paired with a “loser” or discover a plot with the potential to destroy both the world of Dreams and the world of Awake (our world). He’s just a gamer, not a hero. But when he accepts just who he is, he finds he’s capable of anything.

Mikey Brooks has created a vibrant, wild world with a host of fabulous characters. My favorite is Gladamyr—the “Mare (nightmare) who loved.” What a great contradiction and an effective means to illustrate the book’s theme, that of the balance between good and evil. The two kid heroes, Parker and Kaelyn, are likeable and internalize some great life lessons during their adventure. And there’s a whole slew of others: Zelda, the eccentric psychic; Cerulean (these guys have great names, don’t they?), the tough-as-nails boss with the gentle heart; a handless and footless pirate; a Mare clown that juggles chickens. These are characters with a lot of character.

I really appreciate that Mr. Brooks keeps his language completely clean. There are some violent moments, but they’re dreamlike and kid-friendly. In fact, the setting and plot are very dreamlike—totally appropriate for the story, but my realism loving brain sometimes found the chaos a little hard to process. (That part reminded me a bit of Alice in Wonderland.) And the prose does get a litte rough in places. But there are far more positives than negatives, such as this great quote: “It wasn’t what appeared on the outside that made someone who they were, but what reflected on the inside.” Or, “Remember that the choices you make will not only lead you in a direction, they make you who you are.”

I enjoyed the imagination, detail, and positive thinking that went into this one.

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Mikey BrooksMikey Brooks is a member of Emblazon. He’s a small child masquerading as adult. On occasion you’ll find him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several picture books including BEAN’S DRAGONS and the ABC ADVENTURES series. He spends most of his time playing with his daughters and working as a freelance illustrator. Mikey has a BS degree in Creative Writing from Utah State University. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast.

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8 thoughts on “The Dreamkeeper, by Mikey Brooks, 2013

  1. Interesting theme for a book. I like the play on names. Tweens would like this. I read another book that a similar theme, but can’t remember the name as I didn’t review it. This sounds like it has more substance to it. Enjoyed your review.

    1. There was an amazing amount of imagination that went into this one, Pat. It was a fun read, though at times it wasn’t as polished as a bookstore read. I also know Mikey’s committed to improving as a writer, which I think is awesome. 🙂 He’s got the sequel coming out very soon.

  2. I just recently finished reading this one and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Some of it was a bit complex for my feeble brain, but I think it was more for my lacking than from a lack of clarity in the writing. Kids would have no problems with it, I’m sure.

    Now I’ve started on the sequel, and can’t wait to see what evil lurks for these kids.

    1. I’m curious, Erik. How many do you agree to review in a month? And how do you fit in school?!

      I stopped accepting review requests because they left me so little writing time. Since I did that, I’ve gone from 40,000 words a year to 130,000 words this year and counting!

      1. Well, it all depends. Sometimes I go overboard. Then it catches up to me. Ugh.

        I try to only accept enough books to have 3 days a week to post on, no more than that, but now I want to have 1 day a week (maybe Monday? “My Monday?”) where I review a book of my choice. 🙂

        I really need to cut back… 😛

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