If I continue to accept review copies of science fiction, I may have to re-think my position about not really being a fan. I recently finished a fine read by P.A. Hendrickson that had me turning pages.
The story tells of Joebin Vassiter, the Dream Lord unawares (until, that is, that he’s told of his status) as he leads an unlikely group of adventurers on a quest to save his world. Prothia is a little-known, less-desired planet inhabited by the descendents of war criminals who determine that for the purposes of survival they will set up a society of peace. Unknown (a lot of that going on on Prothia) to these inhabitants, there is an entire society of peace-loving Atlomians who have hidden themselves from everyone, all the while pulling strings to guide humans in the settlement across the river into doing their own “projects.”
In order to save his own society, Vassiter learns that he must also save the Atlomians, and he must do so without violence. All is not lost, though. The Atlomians have created to Dreamstone to aid him in his task; and only a Dream Lord can tap into the power of the Dreamstone to, for lack of a better phrase, make dreams come true.
The book has several positive features – it is a compelling story, with heroes facing seemingly insurmountable foes, it is written in language that paints moving pictures in the mind of the reader, and the characters themselves are believable (even the alien life forms). Even so, there are some things that might discourage the average reader—the book is lengthy, almost to a fault. Passages in the middle of the story have a tendency to drag. But don’t let that discourage you, the fast-paced reading encountered at the beginning of the story which attracts you to the story itself, returns in flying colors in the last chapters as Vassiter battles for the safety of all of Prothia.
Because the story itself is so good (even with the occasional slow spot), and it is relatively free of foul language and explicit sex scenes so often appearing gratuitously in modern fiction because “you have to include it” I heartily recommend this book and look forward to picking up another Hendrickson title to escape in. For now, I’ll just leave Dreamstone with 4.5 out of 5 reading glasses.