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When Dreams Become Reality: Review of Reverie

Book: Reverie

Author: Ryan La Sala

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4.5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

Reverie was one of the most imaginative, chaotic and unique novels I’ve ever read. It was a wild, wild roller coaster ride of a book but also one that I feel will resonate with many readers and I enjoyed it very much.

“We are all people between worlds.”

The protagonist was Kane Montgomery, a boy who woke up half-dead in a river nearby a burnt down mill with no memory of how it happened or most of his life before. However, slowly by surely he began to put the puzzle pieces together by finding his friends from before the accident and uncovering the sinister truth of what really happened.

Kane and his friends (who called themselves ‘the Others‘) all had various superpowers and they used these to control and unravel ‘reveries’ wherever they arose. Reveries were manifestations of a person’s deepest hopes, fears and dreams that leaked into reality and ensnared anyone in the vicinity of their source. They normally came with an elaborate plot that the people caught inside would unconsciously act out but the Others all possessed the ability to remain lucid in a reverie and could make sure it stayed safe and didn’t go out of control.

“Sealed off things that steep too long in the human mind are doomed to grow bitter”

The reveries were all well fleshed out and intriguing and the author integrated these magical micro worlds into the real world very skillfully. I thought it was an extremely creative magic system but I would have liked it to be more explained as there are still aspects of reveries that I don’t understand like the triggers, limits and rules of them. Also, I don’t think Kane and his friends’ purpose was well explained because most of the time, they seemed to make the reveries more dangerous than they were supposed to be.

Kane was caring, thoughtful and funny but his accident and the consequent amnesia made him feel like an outsider from himself. Also, his uncertainty in who to trust made him push away those trying to help him and he ended up feeling alone. He was the only openly gay person in his school and he keenly felt the pressure of people’s judgement upon him, always feeling out of place

However, as Kane discovered details about his life the reader did too, making his confusion really relatable. He rediscovered his previous friends and it was lovely to see how, after a bit of miscommunication, he started to rebuild his relationships with them once more. His whole character arc was about self-discovery, about giving himself a second chance and using it to save the world.

“Dreams can be the artifacts we excavate to discover who we really are”

The other characters were all nicely layered as well. I loved Ursula‘s calm yet strong nature and Adeline’s steely no-nonsense attitude. Dean had a mysterious, aloof exterior but was actually really adorable and I’m glad that him and Kane had each other. I wish we got to see their relationship develop more. I also liked how Kane’s relationship with his younger sister was portrayed. It was turbulent at times but during hardships their unconditional love and support shone through. The villain of the story was a drag queen sorceress called Poesy who, as the book states many times, was ‘power personified’.  While her motivations and decisions were very questionable she was a sassy, trinket gathering villain who was hard to always hate.

At its core, beneath the chaos and rainbows, Reverie was a story about how people, especially those ostracized by society, create refuges in their own minds and what happens when these go out of control. With its heartfelt LGBTQ+ representation, beautiful prose and loveable characters, Reverie is most certainly a worthwhile read. I had a few issues with the magic system but it was overall an enjoyable story.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinion expressed are my own.

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