Quest of the Dreamwalker by Stacy Bennett
“A perfect captive, Cara didn’t know her will had been taken until she escapes with borrowed courage. Cloistered in the Black Keep with only her father for company, Cara is forbidden to explore beyond the walls. More than that, she lacks the courage to. Her days are empty except for one task: to restore his deteriorating power, just like the prisoners stolen from nearby towns. When the latest shipment of captives arrives, unusual curiosity leads her to the dungeon and a mercenary captain who kindles a spark within her. But he is to die with the rest. Unable to endure her father’s cruelty any longer, she vows to help him escape. Now, as she flees to a world she’s only dreamed of, she finds defiance has a steep price, endangering everyone she cares about. Who is she that her father refuses to let her go? To uncover the secret of her past, she must unravel the mystery of her dreams and claim the heritage of her magical blood—before her father claims her as the last sacrifice.” – From Amazon
Story – Intriguing
Miss Bennett has impressed us. The story of Cara is as imaginative and captivating as they come. The reader is thrust into a dark world, accompanying Cara on her journey of self-discovery and self-realization as she pushes back against the evils of her father. Of all of the books we have read, few characters are as well-built as Cara, with all of the foibles and growth we expect to see from a character that is human, practically alive as she jumps off the pages. To do what Miss Bennett has done here is no easy feat, and we applaud her for it.
“The sparse foam dissipated quickly from Captain Khoury’s ale as he struggled to remember the last time a death had truly touched him. Today he’d been furious with that bastard Ranceforth and his cowardly tactics, but he felt no grief for those who’d died on the battlefield. Years of service as a Sword had numbed him to such losses, yet he found his apathy unsettling. When had he become a stone-cold killer?”
Style and Formatting – Impressive
As great a character as Cara is, the book would be nothing without Miss Bennett’s superb style. While there is a cadre of writers out there who loathe adverbs, Miss Bennett has put the trickiest of words in their place. Her prose as beautiful as poetry at times, her words give life to the world, pushing what is an already fine story further, allowing it to impress upon us a character and a world that we will not soon forget.
“The smoke from the Culling pit had certainly alerted the Sisters by now. Whether they’d believe the farce or not, it was had to say. It was certain they’d never dreamed men might one day walk the paths of Foresthaven unscathed. Still, with a Sister gone rogue, they’d be thundering down the roads searching for justice.”
Literary Value – Good
Miss Bennett has taken her time writing this book, and it shows. Cara is a girl in search of her own strength as she learns the value of her own voice. Khoury, on the other hand, is beginning to learn that he may not be the man he thinks he is. This is just the beginning of Cara and Khoury’s story, and we are excited to see how it unfolds in the future, but based on what we have seen so far, we expect great things.
“Fear washed over Falin when Cara touched and she struggled against the overwhelming tide. Was that how Cara had kept her from killing Rebeka – the power of unfamiliar remorse? She’d known better what to expect this time. Even though she’d lost the room with the table to a panorama of colored mist, she could communicate with Cara without Sidonius knowing.”
Overall – Highly Recommended
So rarely does a book cross our desk that surprises us. This book does that. We thought we knew what to expect when beginning Quest of the Dreamwalker, and we did not, not because it is not what we thought it would be, but because it is so much more. When someone puts this much passion into his or her work and this much time into perfecting his or her craft, it shows. Miss Bennett has delivered something that pushes the envelope of what we can expect from indie publishers and small publishers in the future.