This post includes one or more Book Depository Affiliate links. Purchases made through the link(s) allow me to make a small commission. This is at no extra charge to you. You can read more here.
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.
I received a free reading copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Nick Clausen for the reading & reviewing opportunity.
Rating: 4 stars
Who doesn’t love a good ghost story??
This is a fairly short book (162 pages in total, about 155 of the actual story), and sometimes those throw me off a little. Let me explain. Short books end almost as fast as they begin. I finished this in a little over an hour, so you get what I mean. There isn’t a lot of time for easing a reader into the story, and as a reader who likes to be eased into stories, it takes a little getting used to. But, I get used to it nonetheless and tend to enjoy them.
This story starts off fast. From page one you’re already submerged into what’s going on. Basically, Louie has started having dreams of a man in a blue suit that feel very real. He quickly comes to the conclusion that this man is his father, who died when he was very little. Nearly every night he gets to bond with the dad that he had to grow up without. But sometimes, people only see what they want to see… and thing’s start to get very dark and go very wrong.
Though the story takes off immediately, the author makes up for this a lot throughout the remainder of the book. Readers get little glimpses into the past and information about Louie’s family as time passes, which really helps build the situation that he’s found himself in. There were times when I wasn’t entirely sure where exactly the story was going because I felt like there were several avenues that the author could take with the story. I was truly intrigued and anxious to find out how Louie’s dreams could play into a ghost story. With this being said, Clausen kept me on my toes the whole time, and I really liked the direction the story went in. It was unpredictable and fun.
I felt like Clausen did a really good job on shaping the characters throughout the story with the little room he had to do so. I know I keep repeating myself, but these short stories can be really difficult to create with sufficient development. There isn’t a lot of room to let readers get to know the characters. Clausen took the opportunity to make the story plot driven, which worked wonderfully in his favor. None of the characters felt too one dimensional; they all played an important part in the story and we had enough insight into their personalities to understand their parts well.
The book was fast paced and enthralling. It’s rare for me to read an entire book in one sitting (even one this short). The paranormal aspects created a mysterious, capturing alternate reality that I was completely jealous of (who wouldn’t want to be see their loved ones who have passed away every night in their dreams??) until I realized how dark and twisted Dreamland truly was.
Overall, it was a great, quick ghost story that reminded me of old favorites like Goosebumps, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, or something that would’ve aired on Are You Afraid of the Dark? in the 90s. A definite recommendation if you’re on the market for easy paranormal reads!