“Book Review: The Boy Who Dreamt the World”
Reviewed by Joshua Ryan Bligh
The Boy Who Dreamt the World by Jethro Punter is as fleeting as a dream, over before you know it, but the magic, imagination, and warmth linger in that space between the waking world and the subconscious mind.
A young boy named Adam finds himself in awe every time his mother tells him a story. One day he comes home to find she is missing, leaving nothing behind but a mysterious pendant. Searching his room, Adam trips and knocks himself unconscious. When he later comes to consciousness, it’s not to the familiar world he knows. Instead, he awakes to something more akin to his mother’s stories: in the Great Dream, a world called Reverie.
But the dream world Punter creates in this first installment of The Daydreamer Chronicles series is not a land filled with absurdities, but rather a carefully imagined realm of possibility. As Adam encounters the denizens of Reverie, specifically those in the city of Nocturne, there is a subdued sense to it, as though anything can happen but won’t until you make it. A dream is nothing without a dreamer, after all.
“In the same way that great cities in your world grew up around rivers of water as centres of trade and commerce, here we grew our cities around a river of dreams, the Weave.”
And just like in dreams, there is a dark side. Not every night of rest is filled with adventure; nightmares are much more real in Reverie. In a quest to save Reverie from a growing threat, Adam must rely on his friends and build confidence in himself. Though the story is less than 200 pages, the warmth that emanates from the relationships between Adam and his friends, both real world and dream world, is the novel’s greatest strength.
Though the book is directed at middle grade readers with age-appropriate material and a writing style that flows easily without falling into the trap of becoming plain, older readers will be able to glean something from it as well. It’s a tale for those of us who look forward to closing our eyes each night, knowing that when we do, we will be greeted with a realm that entertains, mystifies, and enthralls.
Perhaps my only complaint is that Punter’s world of Reverie is mostly kept from the reader. We are gifted a tour through Nocturne, a trip along a misty river of dreams called the Weave, and a glimpse at a tower that soars beyond the clouds, but I wanted more. By the end I was left with more questions than answers about the world. My hope for the second and third installments in the series is that Punter further expands upon the solid foundation he sets in book one. There is a lot of potential in his world, literally, and I would love to see the form that it could take.
But as it stands, The Boy Who Dreamt the World is a well-told, brief story that has something for readers young and old alike. For younger readers it can introduce them to a new world, a place to tickle their imaginations. For us older ones, it is a sweet reprieve from the business of adult life, a tale told with warmth and an appreciation for the question “What if….”
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