Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Early Review: Between by Kerry Schafer

(The Between #1)
Kerry Schafer
Release: January 29, 2013
Vivian Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours.
All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes—forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real.
And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once—a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control…


Between is a fun and engaging read that straddles the line between high fantasy and urban fantasy. I haven't really read a lot of fantasy outside or my wheelhouse of UF and PNR, so this was a diversion for me that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The fantasy element in this book is the world of Dreamshifting and those who are able to do it. There exists three words: Wakeworld, which is the world we all live in; Dreamworld, which is comprised of people's dreams; and the Between, which is at the same time a sort of mix between the two other worlds and something else entirely. In the Between there are evil sorceresses to overthrow, dragons to battle, and a small kingdom of people to protect. It was all very intriguing and absorbing.

Vivian is our main character, although the POV occasionally shifts between her and some other characters. Vivian is a doctor in the Wakeworld, who relies on science and medicine but has also always known in the back of her mind that there is more going on in the world than science can account for. Through a series of mysterious and scary encounters with her grandfather, a handsome book store owner, and a sorceress, Vivian is finally brought into her destiny as a Dreamshifter.

The beginning of the book moved a little slow for me because there was a lot of build up to get Vivian to where she was supposed to be. While I appreciated Vivian's slow introduction to this mysterious world, I wasn't sure for the first 30% that I was going to like this book.

But, once she began walking through those doors and passing from Dreamworld to the Between and back again, I was completely charmed by the fantasy world author Kerry Schafer had created and couldn't put the book down! There's a quote that Belle, in the movie Beauty and the Beast, says toward the beginning of the movie about the fantasy book she's reading that I kept thinking was very apropos to this book: "Far off places... daring sword fights...magic spells...a prince in disguise!" It was all very magical and entertaining!

There is romance in this book, but its definitely on the lighter side. It seems as though we may get to see the romance between Vivian and the book store owner, Zee, develop throughout the series. He has an important involvement in Dreamworld and the Between as well, so he will certainly be sticking around for the next book. I look forward to where their journey will take them in book two.

In fact, I look forward to seeing what's next for a lot of the characters in Between! While the book doesn't end on a cliff hanger, it definitely ends leaving the reader wanting for more and curious about what's coming next. I wonder about Vivian's mother, the prince, the townspeople, and Poe - who is a very enigmatic and lovable penguin who serves as Vivian's totem animal. Poe provides both humor and heart to the book.

While reading this book I received more questions about it than any other book I've read so I know you all are curious about this one! I'd say check it out for yourself and become immersed in the world of Between!

Vivian ran. Stumbled. The dragon was gaining.

I am the Dreamshifter, she reminded herself. I need a door. Staggering with fear and exhaustion and the weight of a penguin, she approached the nearest door, put her hand to the knob. [...]

Flame burst from the dragon's open mouth, rushed down the hallway in a fireball that was going to incinerate her. She was going to die in the Between, naked, carrying a penguin.

Recommended for fans of: fantasy books, alternate worlds, dragons, dream realities, and penguins.

This review is based on an advance copy of the book, received by the publisher. 

  4 / 5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Gah! I am jealous you got to read this already! At least all my self-hype is proving to be worth it. Thanks for sharing!


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