Vela Rue is a dedicated young hedgewitch-in-training, living in the Angle Tarr (extra points if you understand the etymology of the name!) countryside, always wishing for something more. White is a boy who lives in the technologically advanced World, and has been locked up and tortured because of his gift. Rue and White have both been experiencing strange, realistic dreams all their lives, but are unaware what it means and how far it could go.
Fearsome Dreamers‘ strength is its intricately woven and immensely detailed world-building, but its vivid characters stood out to me the most.
Rue is stubborn, outwardly confident yet quietly unsure. She is unsatisfied with her monotonous life as an assistant in the countryside, and feels like everyone in her village is merely existing rather than living. She often watches them gather round to gossip; today’s news surrounds a forbidden couple who have run away together. (Although, Rue may have had a part to play in this debacle!). Rue wants to see what else is out there, but running away never crosses her mind. I admired Rue’s strength, determination and ability to brush off unwarranted criticism, but thought she was believable in her lack of desire to simply take off, leaving the only place she’s ever known to see what is beyond her tiny bit of Angle Tarr – until Frith comes to visit.
Frith is a government spy, working at the university. It’s his job to discover and bring back the Talented – people who experience these unusual dreams – and see that they are trained. It is in Angle Tarr that he is unexpectedly introduced to White, who’s run away from World in search for a life free from persecution, and quickly realises he’s the most Talented yet. Months later, White and Rue clash instantly (and, for us, humorously!) but do not realise how alike they are.
Fearsome Dreamer delicately explores the tension between Rue and White throughout, developing them as individual, strong-willed characters until they eventually collide. We get to watch them circle each other, seeing the worst in one another, while trying to ignore the inevitable attraction; both outcasts even in a sea of non-conformity. And all this takes place in a well-developed and fascinating setting, which we learn more about as the story progresses.
Fearsome Dreamer does an excellent job of pulling you into the alternative world where technology is shunned yet there are people who exist that surpass the most technically advanced. Alternative reality is blended with the modern world as we know it. It’s different, but it’s there, and if you’re a fellow Brit, it’ll make you feel very small indeed.
Published: 3rd October 2013
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: Thank you Hot Key Books for providing this book for review!
If you liked: Tempest