Dream Stalker by Amy Hopkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Emma is a half-blood, the daughter of a Talented and a mortal. She is caught between both worlds, as are most half-bloods in this alternate London. Half-bloods are rejected by the full Talented as not equal to them, and the full mortals don’t really trust them because of their magic ability. Emma has managed to find her place in the half-blood world between the inner city of London where the Talented live, and the mortal part of the city. She sells teas that she enchants with simple spells for calming, sleep, and the like. Her assistant in the shop is a boggart, Gibble, who has been a family servant of sorts for many years. Her dog, Lenny, is her constant companion. When half-bloods start being killed by supernatural means, the regular police don’t make the case a high priority. Then, Emma becomes the killer’s next target, and along with full Talent Harrod and his unTalented brother, Martin, Emma sets out to solve the mystery.
This is another book that had a lot of potential. The idea is good. The setting in a modern day alternative London is nicely done for the most part. Many characters are interesting. The idea of a killer who invades dreams and drains his victim of their magic to survive, while not new, is woven into the story well enough that it works. The Otherworld, where the true fae exist, is as different from our world as you would expect. The dream sequences are just off-kilter enough to make them seem believable.
However, there are some flaws here. The main adversary appears once or twice early in the story, then disappears until the “twist” reveal. Emma seems to feel betrayed somehow by this turn, but she interacts so infrequently with the character, it’s hard to accept her feeling. There is a mortal police officer who, at first, seems as if he is going to be a part of Emma’s investigation, yet turns out to simply be the conduit for getting all of the police departments information about the crimes to her. And then, he, too, is gone. There are parts of Emma’s background that could have been explored more completely (she turns out to be the “princess-in-disguise” character, but the reasons are only explained on the surface.)
There are contradictions in the story as well. Characters last names change part way through. Emma says her sisters are in America, and yet later we find one of them living in the Talented society in London. And there are mechanical errors, as well. Punctuation, word choice, and grammar could have been edited a bit better.
All in all, this was a good story in a not so good book. It is a nice concept and the plot idea held my interest enough that I pushed through the problems to the end. There is a second book in the series, and I will probably at least check out the sample. It’s just too bad this one was left a bit rough. If it got an edited update to fix some of the problems, it would be a truly good read.
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