RogerBW's Blog

The Night Shifters, Emily Devenport 27 September 2020

2010 fantasy. Hazel's mother told her never to give up on her dreams… but turns out she didn't quite mean it in the usual way. Hazel is a Grand Champion Dreamer, and when she wakes up in the Night she's going to have to prove it.

Dream fantasy has an intrinsic problem: if anything can happen, then any bad situation can be receoved from and nothing matters, so there's no tension. This is a book that gets round that: all sorts of things can happen, but they work by rules, which Hazel has to learn if she's going to survive.

And of course there's examination of her own traumas and nightmares (I've never had the at-school-unprepared-for-the-exam dream but clearly many people do) and Hazel ends up coping with those as well as with the straightforward opposition – not to mention that everyone who's giving her information has their own ideas about what she should be manipulated into doing.

And there's mild fourth-wall-breaking without it feeling forced or look-how-clever-I-am: the idea of the Chorus turns up personified, and there's even something of a well-foreshadowed deus ex machina.

But mostly I'm impressed with a fantasy of dreams that doesn't get cutesey or fall into generic imagery. This reminds me of the more phantasmagorical moments of Diana Wynne Jones, and I have very little higher praise than that.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1