ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Dream Country by Ashaye Brown

Dream Country Rating**Thank you to Onwe for providing me with a physical ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review**

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

A sibling rivalry to fuel your worst nightmares.

The dysfunctional triplet gods of Sleep, Dreams and Nightmares are kept separate by the deadly Gates of Horn and Ivory. Only one fact keeps them tightly bound: each of them is a suspect in their mother’s murder. Their knife-edge feud worsens when a mortal enters the world with astounding abilities that threaten to change the game for them all.


WHAT ARE MY THOUGHTS?

I love a story that involves mythology and this is one unique and highly enjoyable tale.

With influences from Brazillian, Caribbean, Greecian and Kenyan myths and folklore, Dream Country centres around triplet deities – Fanta the Goddess of Dreams, Torres the God of Nightmares and Theo the God of Sleep. Each being a suspect in the murder of the All-Mother they reside in their own celestial realms, separated by the Gates of Horn and Ivory – which is in some way fatal to each of them but also keeps them safe from one another. Their relationship is conflicting and full of pent up mistrust, but when the arrival of a particular mortal threatens the gates and their realms, they are forced to confront each other in order to avert the crisis.

“The unknown is always better than the known, because it can never affect you. If a tree falls in a forest with no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

This is a book that will draw you in with its magic and myths and keep you entranced with its whispers of a mystery. The swift pacing and Brown’s absorbing writing eases you into the story as though slipping you into a dream (no pun intended). The similarity in characters and atmosphere did initially give me vibes of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman comics, but Dream Country is something totally fresh and new.

The world-building has a simplicity to it but is also beautifully detailed, the ambience and cultures for each of the realms being delightfully distinct. I kind of want to close my eyes right now and try to get a glimpse of Zion, Dream Country and yes even The Mountains myself because the imagery had me in a state of awe. Though I’ve got to say the characters were what intrigued me the most, from the 3 siblings to the various minor Gods/Goddesses of the realms, to the mortals living and dead who passed through. Fanta, Torres and Theo were all beautifully morally complex characters and their clashing personalities and relationships were really fascinating to experience.

I loved that we also got to explore part of the corporeal world and were introduced to the religion that follows the deities – the Majority. The handful of excerpts from the holy book, The Holy Theologos, that were slipped in throughout the book were really clever, both giving an insight into the background of the lore as well as helping to shape the story going forward.

“For the gods are not cruel and do not seek to torment us. Even Torres’s Nightmares are not given to cause pain, but merely to act as a reflection to the innermost fears and hindrances of our soul.”

I did find myself getting worried as I was reaching the end because of how little of the book was left and I believe this is a standalone? The story was at its climax, there were things still left unanswered and at first it all felt quite abrupt. However, the more that I think on it the more I appreciate that it’s one of those Inception type endings and I found it quite fitting.

All in all this is a standout debut that will leave you wanting more by the time you reach the final page and I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Brown in the future.

Dream Country is OUT NOW!


INTERESTED IN THIS BOOK?

GOODREADS – STORYGRAPH | BLACKWELL’S – BOOKSHOP.ORG – ONWE – WATERSTONES

 

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