Queue My Review

September 19, 2008

Review: Before I Wake by Kathryn Smith

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , — kris012 @ 10:45 am
Before I Wake by Kathryn Smith

I love paranormal romance, but after a while it seems like I’ve read every variation on the theme (vampires, werewolves, witches, etc.).  So I was intrigued to get a copy of “Before I Wake” by Kathryn Smith, which is unlike any paranormal romance I’ve read before.  Have you ever wondered why we dream, and what really happens when you fall asleep?  And have you ever thought about how vulnerable you are while dreaming?

Dr. Dawn Riley knows the secrets behind our dreams, what no other human knows – that when we sleep, we go into the world of The Dreaming.  Unlike the rest of us, Dawn has complete control over her dreams, and can enter other people’s dreams at will.  Of course, Dawn is also part Nightmare, a native member of dreams.  Her father is Morpheus, King of The Dreaming.  Dawn is the only hybrid human-Nightmare in existence, and the mere fact of her existence could be used against her father.

Due to her background, Dawn makes a living as a sleep researcher.  While at work, she meets Noah Clarke, a hot artist who insists that something is trying to kill him through his dreams.  Dawn realizes that something has gone wrong in The Dreaming, as she recently had the first dream ever that she couldn’t completely control.  Dawn and Noah team up to fight Karatos, the creature who is hurting both of them in their dreams.

I was fascinated by the world of The Dreaming, and would like to find out more about it in future books.  While a second book hasn’t been announced, “Before I Wake” is mentioned as the first in a series (The Nightmare Chronicles) on Kathryn’s Smith website.  In particular, there are two story lines that I’d love to learn more about.  First, Verek, a member of the Royal Guard, who teaches Dawn more about the possibilities within The Dreaming.  And secondly, the relationship between Dawn’s human mother and her father.  How did they originally meet?  What is it about her mother that was so captivating to Morpheus?  Additionally, there are some other complications in their relationship that make me curious about what happens to them next.

I do want to let you know that there’s a rape scene in the book, so please use your judgment about your comfort level with such a scene before picking up a copy.  That scene was really the only time I felt uncomfortable with the book – the rest of it was such a creative take on dreaming.  Perhaps it was because I read the book right before bedtime, but the concept of The Dreaming felt so plausible!  For an original twist on the paranormal romance genre, give “Before I Wake” by Kathryn Smith a try.


Reviewed by Kristina


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