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TPG’s Tasters – The Dream Guild, by David Bruns (pt 1/2)

April 26, 2014

Alright, I know I said I’d be doing these once a fortnight originally, but after the last one I almost immediately felt like doing another.

Today’s taster will be The Dream Guildby David BrunsThis will not actually be the first book I’ve read by this author: the first was Irradiance, which I finished a few weeks back. My opinions on that book were…well, mixed, actually, but more positive than not.  Given that Irradiance is set up a prequel to Bruns’ other book, my interest was naturally piqued.

So, will I buy The Dream GuildLet’s begin…

The First Impression

A book’s first impression essentially rests on three factors: the cover, the blurb and the opening paragraph. With that said, let’s take a look at the cover:

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There’s a lot to like about this cover. First and foremost is that it sticks out: the design is simple without being boring, and the choice of colours makes it easy to notice when browsing the likes of Amazon. The title is well-positioned, has a good font choice and, importantly, can be read at pretty much any size – something a lot of ebooks don’t seem to manage nowadays.

And I really want to know what that metal pill is, now.

Looking at the image closely, I suspect that much of it was cut’n’pasted together. In particular, each link on any given chain is identical, and the chains appear to be behind the object rather than actually connected to it. However, I must stress here that I looked quite closely before I noticed; at a glance, I doubt it’s at all apparent. A further nitpick could be made with the font used for the author’s name: it’s a little too plane, in my opinion, and doesn’t really go with the rest of the cover all that well.

But like I said, I’m nitpicking. This cover does everything a cover should do – namely, make readers (like me!) want to click on it. We’re off to a good start, I say. Time for the blurb:

Your dreams are real, but are they really yours?

Sister planets. Separated by space and bonded by dreams, Earth and Adelphi have coexisted peacefully for millenia under the careful watch of the Dream Guild.

But now that’s all changed.

When Eli crosses between these two worlds, this precarious balance is disrupted. Alone and scared, Eli becomes the protégé of a dark Sovereign who rules beyond the reach of the Dream Guild. Under this malevolent tutelage, Eli develops an arsenal of superpowers that overwhelms his better nature.

 

Desperate to stop the Sovereign, the Dream Guild recruits Mika, Eli’s best friend. An unwilling warrior, Mika is plunged into a world where dreams are real and his best friend is his worst nightmare.

This is the blurb currently displayed over on Amazon. The one on Goodreads is actually slightly different, but I prefer the Amazon version and so have decided to go with that one.

With that out of the way…I’m honestly intrigued by this. Dreams are inherently a fascinating concept and I’m really looking forward to what all this book does with it. I can’t help but wonder how Irradiance is going to tie into all of this, but hey. My only (small) concern is that this “Sovereign” sounds like it could turn out to be a little…well, generic. It won’t necessarily turn out that way, but the possibility is certainly there.

The blurb is solid, in my view – both in structure and in its delivery. The world, characters and setup are all presented in an efficient way, and the final sentence really makes me want to find out more.

Thus far, I’d say things are looking very good indeed. In fact, I’m already half-assuming that I’ll be buying this, which simply makes the job of the book’s extract (to hold my interest) that much easier. With that said, let’s check out the opening paragraph:

In the beginning, before there was Writing and before there was Song, our People did not Dream. When they closed their eyes at night, it was black and silent.

My first thought here was that all the capitalisation seems very strange. My second thought was that “In the beginning” sounds generic and, really, isn’t the kind of thing that hooks me on a story.

Admittedly, this is part of a half-page prologue that is explicitly presented as a part of an in-universe origin story of sorts. The first full chapter, incidentally, starts with:

It happened on a Friday – Friday the twelfth, to be exact. After it was all over, Mika remembered he and Eli had joked about how they had “just missed” Friday the Thirteenth.

Now, this is certainly not a bad opening: it piqued my interest quickly (what’s the “it”?) and I found the second sentence cute in a good way. However: if the “it” turns out to be main events of the novel, then this opening handily kills off a good amount of possible tension. Why? Because we now know Mika will live through it.

Granted, at the time of writing I haven’t actually read the sample yet; for all I know, the above criticism could turn out to be completely moot. I imagine I’ll end up returning to this point tomorrow, so stay tuned.

All things considered, my first impression is very much positive here. The cover is great – if you don’t look at it too closely, at least – but what really has me sold is the blurb. I can imagine this as some kind of YA sci-fi piece, with lots of cool action and plenty of dream-related powers (as in, any and all powers) on display.

As to whether my imaginings are at all accurate…well, we’ll find out tomorrow, won’t we? 😉

 

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