22 February 2015

The Dream Alchemist by Joanna Chambers

When the sun goes down, their passion awakens…and so do their nightmares.

Centuries ago, a man with Bryn Llewelyn’s dreamwalking ability would have been a shaman or a priest. In this time, he’s merely exhausted, strung out on too much caffeine and too little sleep.

Sleep means descent into Somnus—an alternate reality constructed of the combined dreaming consciousness of ordinary humans. A place he’d rather avoid. Trouble is, his powers don’t include the ability to go without sleep indefinitely. At some point his eyes close…and his nightmare begins.

As a teen, the treatment that cured Laszlo Grimm’s sleep disorder stole his dreams—and his ability to feel emotion. Petrified of needing more “treatment”, he clings to familiar rituals and habits. But lately his nightly terror has returned, and when he meets Bryn in the real world, the man seems hauntingly familiar. Not only that, Bryn awakens feelings in Laszlo for the first time in years…

Slowly Bryn and Laszlo realize they are both unknowing pawns in a plan of unspeakable evil. And that their powerful attraction could release the destinies locked within them—or be the instrument of their doom.
When I first started The Dream Alchemist, I was unsure of it. Jumping into a new ‘world’ is always a bit discombobulating, both for the characters and the readers. But it didn’t take long before I was hooked. From then on, I had a hard time putting the book down.

In the reality the author has built, humans go to sleep and dream their lives in Somnus. Most humans are drones, dreaming their own dreams and ignoring what is happening around them. Then there are the Shades, bits of nightmares that hang around. But the most important are the Dream Walkers – those who once they go to sleep, are more awake than they are in real life and can remember everything that happened to them while in that state.

We are introduced to several walkers in this, the first book of the Somnus series, but the main story was about Bryn who has been a walker since he was 7 and Lazlo who had no idea he was a walker because of some horrible experiments perpetrated on him as a child and throughout his adult life. I’ll admit, I skipped all but the first sex scene. In so many books the scenes are so much the same that it has become like reading the same thing over and over again – so I skipped ahead to the story which was fabulous.

I don’t want to ruin all the interesting things you’ll find in this amazing tale, but they include, monsters ready to take over the non-dream world, tea that turns people into drones, magic-filled necklaces, annoying dream walkers, and the gift of alchemy.

Interested? I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery along with their M/M romance.

Now – for the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.

Two reasons really – I found the love story between Bryn and Lazlo to be lackluster. Their feelings toward one another felt more like lust that love and even the lust was rather pale. Also, this is a multi-point of view story. Mostly between our two heroes, though there is one at the very end from another point of view. And none of them were separated. It would have been nice to have the industry standard of either a large space or **** in place so we knew there was a change in point of view. To go from one paragraph to the next without a break and have it be from a different point of view was jarring each time.


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