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*The Dark Dreamweaver (The Remin Chronicles Book 1)* by Nick Ruth, illustrated by Sue Concannon - young readers fantasy book review
The Dark Dreamweaver (The Remin Chronicles Book 1)
by Nick Ruth, illustrated by Sue Concannon
Ages 9-12 256 pages Imaginator Press June 2007 Paperback    

When I think of the perfect story for young readers, I think of The Wizard of Oz. It is a tale of youthful yearnings, of the search for self-worth and the meaning of the world around them, and a realization of their place in this world. Reading The Dark Dreamweaver: The Remin Chronicles Book 1 by Nick Ruth gave me a similar feeling. Instead of Dorothy and her little dog, Toto, we meet David and his two kitties, Cutie and Spud. A boy and his cats take the place of a girl and her dog. However, the basic principles hold true in the land of Remin as did in Dorothy's land of Oz.

There have been other fantasy adventures with a boy as their central character. However, in this story of David traveling through the vortex which separates our world from the world of Remin, we are treated with our young adventurer actually using his brain instead of his brawn! Novel idea.

As many of us might have already surmised, Remin is the Land of Dreams. David, a "tall, thin eleven-year-old boy with light brown hair" who is "always in motion." He also dreads nightfall and bedtime: his sleep has been invaded by dreams filled with a dark, sinister, tall man with a dark gray robe and long white hair. More nightmares than dreams, David realizes, when the dark creature growls in a deep voice, "I can feel your fear. It fills me. Soon, I will be the true master of dreams and all will tremble before me."

Upon learning of his son's nightmares, David's father shares an article proving that not only is the boy's sleep being invaded by nightmares; itís happening worldwide, all over planet Earth. After reading it, David can't decide if he's happy to know he is not alone in his nightly experiences of terror or if he should be more worried. Although he's always dreamed of becoming a powerful wizard, David's aware thatís all that it was - a dream. He cannot seriously imagine having the power to defeat the evil entity he sees in his nightmares.

One thing, other than the rising sun, lightens the boy's mood. His father reminds him of the family's plans for the next morning. David and his parents' nature outing ends with the family finding several monarch butterfly eggs and bringing them home. One turns out to be much more, and that's before his nature change through the butterfly's cycle of life. David's infatuation with these beautiful creatures introduces him to the one being in both his world and the other who can help him stop the nightmare invasion.

Another childhood favorite comes to mind as the reader accompanies David on his journey. Some of the characters he meets on his visit to Remin are animal, others are not. Like Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass, there are some denizens of the land of dreams who might remind the reader of the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit, the oversized chess pieces, etc. Nick Ruth takes us over the rainbow then through the looking glass as David's quest progresses. We are given an idea of who and what he sees not only by the author's descriptive narrative but also through the illustrations of Sue Concannon. Each chapter is preceded by the artistís rendering, giving the reader a visual image of what the chapter holds.

In The Dark Dreamweaver we catch glimpses of Harry Potter as the young hero discovers his magical abilities as he teeters on the brink of puberty and his own change-in-life cycle. We are entertained by his discovery, entranced by his development, and enchanted with his encounters and new relationships in the magical fantasy world of Remin. This is storytelling that takes us back to a time when there was real wonder in a fantasy world without the need for science-fiction based contraptions. I will wager that it will keep the young - as well as the young at heart - riveted and spellbound from beginning to end.

I enjoyed The Dark Dreamweaver and can't wait to read the next book in the series. I highly recommend this fanciful fantasy for young and youthful summer readers.

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  Edwyne Rouchelle/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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