Monday, January 20, 2020

Review: Dreamland by Nick Clausen

Dreamland: A Ghost Story
Dreamland by Nick Clausen
Publication Date: March, 2019
Ebook. 162 pages

About Dreamland:

"Some nightmares never end 

In his sleep, Louie starts visiting a magical world where he meets his father, who died when Louie was still a baby. But nothing turns out to be what it seems, and great horrors loom very close by ... 

Welcome to Dreamland 

A mysterious teen ghost story about fear and loss and losing yourself in dreams, Dreamland was originally published in Danish to great reviews, and is now available in English."

Dreamland is a fantasy/horror novella that packs a huge punch and explores a number of imaginative and surprising elements in under two hundred pages. This was such a unique story blend of bittersweet, paranormal, and unpredictable elements that worked together to create an incredibly memorable story.

Dreamland itself is a place for Louie to escape to at night from the grief and everyday struggles of his everyday reality. This escape is something that I think a lot of us can easily relate to and that Clausen expands upon really well. While in Dreamland, Louie is able to talk to his father who died when he was a baby an experience that Louie is hooked by and makes him want to continue visiting Dreamland.

Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with  lot of things that are possibly too good to be true, there's a big downside to Dreamland the Louie slowly starts to discover and things slow turn darker and darker in Drealmand. I think Clausen did a spectacular job of conveying the atmosphere of this change and in creating a setting that felt very vivid and believable. The physical changes that Louie begins to experience after visiting Dreamland at night--such as being tired rather than refreshed upon waking--contribute to this so much and really add an extra layer to the discomfort of Dreamland. There wasn't every anything overly terrifying, but the creepiness permeated the story extremely well.

There is a great exploration of grief and all of the surrounding struggles that come with grief that I really appreciated. The characters were all complex and well-developed and provided a great backdrop for the rest of the plot to unfold. I really enjoyed following Louie on this journey and experiencing all the crazy, unpredictable changes that made this such an interesting story.

I found the pacing of Dreamland to be really well done. It has a great balance of moments that slow things down in order to fully explore an important scene or element. I also really enjoyed the fact that I couldn't ever predict where the story was going. Clausen includes a couple big twists, but the entire storyline is so interesting and unique which allowed me to fully enjoy it and the discovery of each point to its fullest extent. There is a very bittersweet ending, which is how I tend to like my endings.

One last note I'd like to make about Dreamland is that although it's technically a YA story, it seems as though it has some great appeal for all ages. I found a lot of the themes highly relatable and I can see different areas meaning something different to each person, no matter the age.

Overall, I've given Dreamland four stars! This was a really enjoyable and quick novella that I definitely recommend to anyone looking for a little bit of spooky with their fantasy.

*I received a copy of Dreamland courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful review!! I'm glad you enjoyed this. I loved this one so much! I really enjoyed that it focused in on family and learning how to let go and move on from the past.