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Friday, May 7, 2010

Witch Dreams by Vivian Vande Velde

Witch Dreams by Vivian Vande Velde
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Childrens Publishers
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Short Story (120 pgs)
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Sixteen-year-old Nyssa can enter into people’s dreams. Although the authorities of the medieval town of Lindenwolde would put her to death if they realized she was a witch, she feels compelled to practice her unique brand of witchcraft to answer the biggest question of her life: who broke into her father’s woodworking shop and killed her parents? Six years after the murder, Nyssa finally gets her chance to enter the dreams of the man she suspects is responsible. Suddenly she finds herself on a reckless, relentless journey that leads her through a maze of adventures - both in the real world and in the world of the unconscious. Nyssa risks death as she finally identifies the murderer in a shocking and unexpected climax.

Imagine being able to place a token under your pillow, and as you dream, you enter the dreams of the owner of the token? Some might take this into selfish territory. Others might be more philanthropic. For Nyssa, she’s just trying to figure out who killed her parents.

I knew Witch Dreams would be a quick read. At only 120 pgs, it didn’t take me long to get through it. But saying I ‘got through it’ is a bit of a misnomer. This story moves at a quick pace and I hardly realized until I was finished that I’d read the entire thing in one sitting. The characters are engaging enough for younger readers to really get caught up in Nyssa’s story. I liked how she grew as a character and came into her own. Who can’t relate to those moments when we feel selfish for wanting something or someone—our parents, for instance? I wanted for Nyssa to get the closer she needed, as well as to find out who she was.

Nyssa has special powers. She can enter dreams. But at 16, she’s not totally sure she wants her powers. I could identify with her struggle because being a bookish person wasn’t always cool when I was a kid. She’s not the only one to not fit in and that made her more likable to me.

If you want a story with plot twists and convincing characters, then you need to read Witch Dreams. I give it 4 suns.

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