The Gods of Dream by Daniel Arenson
The story of twins from Earth chosen to save the land of Dream from the invaders from the realm of Nightmare.
Doesn’t sound like a bad story idea, eh?
Yeah, well, read on.
Tasha and Cade, our main characters and viewpoint into this world, were orphaned due to an UNSPEAKABLE EVENT which left them both physically and emotionally scarred. But we won’t discuss that right now, because it’s far too painful a subject. Instead, we’ll ignore it and bring it up multiple times later on in the story.
So these twins, lets take them one at a time and see what they’re all about.
The first is Cade, the brother. He was physically scarred on his hands due to the INCIDENT THAT IS TOO PAINFUL TO SPEAK OF which took his parents from him. He is seemingly the strong, silent and noble type. The rock upon which his sister relies.
Then there’s Tasha, the sister. She wasn’t there at the time of the INCIDENT THAT IS SO HORRIFIC I CAN’T EVEN MENTION IT, but she suffered lasting emotional and psychological scars from it. So much so that she’s attempted suicide several times. She should be the pained heroine, suffering and empathetic.
But neither of these characters are those things. Instead, they’re banal, boring and altogether far too whiney and bitchy for their own good. Look, I get that they suffered due to the BIG BAD THING THAT HAD HAPPENED ONCE BUT CAN’T BE TALKED ABOUT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE IT HURTS and all, but they’re so badly written it’s sad. They come off as the castoff characters from an emo junior high students first draft of his story, “Cutting: How Deep is Enough?”
After the first three chapters I was ready to reach into this book and kill them both myself. Or rewrite it so that instead of the parents dying in the “OHGODITHURTSSOBAD” INCIDENT we’d lose these two idiots in their place.
And these are the two main characters. Our eyes and ears into this strange world. This land of dreams, aptly named Dream.
Yes, the naming convention here is just that obvious.
Don’t believe me? Here’s some more examples: Sunflower Corner, Seashell Shore, Beluga Beach, Butterfly Valley and Pixie Plantation(one of those isn’t really in the book, but I defy you to figure out which). Oh, and of course, the land that wages war on Dream is called Nightmare.
Why do they wage war? Because the big baddie of the story, one Phobetor, has a hard on for Princess Moonmist(yes, that’s her name) and wants to seek revenge on Dream because he was cast out or some tripe.
It doesn’t matter, really. He’s not a real character. He’s a cardboard cutout villain who is so over the top with his evil, in the descriptions of he and his land as well as his motives and actions, that to think of him as a real character would be impossible.
Suffice it to say that he’s the bad guy. And he makes more bad guys(Incubi). And bad girls(succubi). One of which is his Queen of Nightmare who bites heads off of bats then has sex with the King while the blood is still fresh.
There are other characters here as well. Like a talking falcon. And a talking horse. And talking hippos. And talking foxes. Look, there’s a whole zoo full of talking animals here. As well as fairies and light dragons and most of all buttacats. Er, pegacats.
With butterfly wings.
Fuck it, I can’t go on. So far I’ve only scratched the surface, but I just can’t go on.
There are some who say this is like Lord of the Rings or Narnia or even Neverending Story. Don’t listen to them. Any resemblance to these works is superficial at best.
The writing here is horrible, the characters are so one-dimensional and paper-thin that they’re see-through and the plot itself is just laughably amateurish. And the pacing is akin to a turtle riding on the back of a snail going uphill.
There is no saving grace here. No piece of goodness I can take away from this book. Nothing redeemable whatsoever.
It is a black hole of suck that devours stars and minds alike.
Negative Four Buttacats.