Dream Treaders by Wayne Thomas Batson – Book Review

Wayne Thomas Batson is my favorite YA author. He weaves Christian virtues into his books so well, one would really have to look for them to find them. Not to mention he wrote a pirate book, and that right there had me hooked, but he also talks with his readers. When I first read his books, I stalked his blog and e-mailed him, and he always replied back to me. To this day there is an interview on his blog that I conducted with him for a school project. Anyway, that’s my spiel on the author. Now time for this book.

At first I had a difficult time getting into it, mainly because I didn’t have the time to dedicate to it. Once I did though, I fell in love. The story is about Aiden who can, as the title denotes, tread dreams. He is one of three Dream Treaders and his job is too make sure the dream scape doesn’t mold with reality. If that happened, no one would be able to separate the two from the other. In short, the world would go insane. So here is Aiden, an appointed Dream Treader from basically God himself, and then there is a group of other kids who have some how (through a sciency way) learned how to walk in their dreams. This is bad. This creates bad things. Now, not only is Aiden trying to prevent dreams from becoming reality, but now he has to try and convince these other students to leave as well. Should we add more to his plate? Probably not, but Batson did. The other two Dream Treaders have been kidnapped by our main antagonist: The Nightmare Lord. (He’s evil. Stay away.) No one has ever been able to get close to the Nightmare Lord, but Aiden did, and Aiden cut off his horn. But now, Aiden has to take down the Nightmare Lord for good to save his allies. He might just have to do it alone, or he might just have to ally himself with the same students he’s trying to get out of the dream world, and it all has to be done before the clock strikes twelve.

Honestly, there is so much good character development. Like I said, once I began making time to read the book, I couldn’t put it down. The plot line moves along nicely, and I never felt bored with the development. I recommend this for any age to read. Probably not younger than eight, but upwards of that is good. It really brought me to think about dreams: how to work them and what they mean. Trust me when I say, this is a book you need to pick up.

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Character Profiles!

My favorite thing whenever it comes to writing is sketching out the character until it comes to life and can finish creating itself. Have you ever had that happen? You’re happily writing along until a character makes you backspace a few words and gives you a few new verbs so that they can act according to their personality, or maybe they pack in a few more adjectives so that you can describe them the way they would prefer to be described. Even in dialogue, sometimes you can see your female character pop a hip out to the side, cross her arms in front of her chest, and ask you, “Would I really say that?” Sometimes as writers we raise our characters, argue with our characters, and fall in love them. Before all that happens, though, we must first give birth to them.

I imagine the process of us giving birth to characters is very similar to how Athena actually gave birth to her children. We think them up, design them in a very specific way, and soon enough there it is going on adventures and fighting dragons, and it isn’t long until they’re doing that without our assistance. One day we’ll wake up from a long coffee induced night of writing and find a complete manuscript staring at us from whatever word processor we’re using. So where does this imagining process start? How does it begin?

For me, it starts here:

Name:

Every character must start with a name. And so this list continues until sketched out before me is a person about ready to step off the page. All that’s left is teaching this new character how to walk. Here is what a complete character profile looks like for me:

Earth Name: Beatrice Glasser

Other Name: Averice Glasser

Nickname: B and Ave (probably Rice when she’s being teased.)

Eye color: Stormy blue-gray (sapphire blue eyes)

Hair color/style: Strawberry blonde hair cut in a neat bob, with permed curls that rest neatly along her neck and around her ears. (Long, curly white hair, with lowlights so that it is not completely bleach blonde.)

Age: 22

Height: 5’ 7”

Build: She is tall and lithe from running. She is not overly muscular since she prefers cardio more than weightlifting. Her shoulders are rounded forward slightly from sitting hunched over her computer or sitting on the floor reading. She has the most spectacular legs with curves to die for and small ankles and feet. (Still tall, but a more narrow than straight waist, and more of a muscular build than just being lithe.)

Clothes: Imagine every K-Pop artist. She mixes and matches various styles. Probably one of her favorite outfits is her ripped, boyfriend jeans paired with blacks heels. She will wear either her green or red and black plaid flowing tank top with either a short sleeved, long jacket or a colorful kimono over the top. (Black lace up boots, that go to the knee, black and white striped leggings, and a lacy, high-low, black skirt. To literally pull everything together is a full torso, black corset clasped in the front. As a separate piece, she has flowing, lacy, black sleeves that tie in front of her neck.)

Profession: She is currently a student attending ________ going for a degree in Creative Writing, and possibly thinking about getting a masters or doctorate in linguistics.

Characteristics: Averice is bubbly and witty with a dry sense of humour. She smiles a lot and loves people. Although, behind all of that she struggles a lot with self confidence and pride.

Residence: Xi Nu Theta (At school) Her house is in Michigan.

Extrovert or Introvert: Ambivert. She loves people, but she definitely gets her fill of them. She recharges from being alone, and honestly loves curling up with a book than with a person.

Hobby: Reading; watching T.V.; updating her blog on the rare occasion she remembers; learning languages in her rare spare time.

Favorite activity: Running. She could run for days, but classes and social situations normally demand her attention.

Favorite Meal: French Toast or any Asian meal, but normally French Toast.

Favorite Season: That middle moment in between Winter and Spring when the snow is melting and everything is muddy, and there is that slight smell of rain water and slushy snow in the Meijer parking lot, but there are also shoots of grass popping up, and Robins start appearing everywhere.

Darkest thought: Maybe if I took like eight of these Benadryl I wouldn’t have to wake up for a few days. No more people.

Deepest secret: HELLA GAY. Nah, not really. She loved a man once, but things got ugly, and now she hates love. Unless it’s on other people.

Friends: Taryn (Tarence) and a bunch of other useless acquaintances.

Mortal enemies: That stupid cat.

Achilles heel: She wears her heart on her sleeves and trusts everyone she meets.

Goal: Find the cat and graduate with a degree. Possibly survive.

The profile is always different depending on the project. Sometimes I take away some of the questions and sometimes I add more. It depends on how detailed or how basic I want my character to be. For example, all my characters don’t have two names. This character does because she goes between two different worlds.

An empty character sheet looks like this:

Name:

Nickname:

Eye color:

Hair color/style:

Age:

Height:

Build:

Clothes:

Profession:

Characteristics:

Residence:

Extrovert or Introvert:

Hobby:

Favorite activity:

Favorite Meal:

Favorite Season:

Darkest thought:

Deepest secret:

Friends:

Mortal enemies:.

Achilles heel:

Goal:

Please feel free to copy it, or go to this google doc. I want to share this with as many people as possible.

Creating characters is one of my favorite things and this is how I do it.

Are there any other methods that you use? I would love to hear them! I would also love to see what types of character you’ve created! Comment below or shoot me an e-mail, and let’s get some dialogue going.

Keep writing! You can complete the story inside of you. 加油!

The Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn – Book Review

I am so in love with this book right now. I just finished it yesterday on the way back home. I started it in the car, and I finished it in the car. Haha. Reading like a beast. (Is ‘Lolz’ appropriate in a book review? Asking for a friend.)

Emperor of the Eight Islands was so well written. I think the only thing I didn’t like about it was the character development was slow and almost non-existent. I get that it is one book in a series, but I expected more. Another thing about this book, was each chapter switched between point of views among the characters. It made it semi hard to keep track of everything, but I did it.

The Emperor of the Eight Islands is about Shikanoko and basically the abuse he went through to become what he does in the end of the book. This poor kid is basically left for dead in the mountains by his uncle, is then found by a sorcerer who binds him in one place by a spell to make him “Shikanoko,” and allows the kid to basically be raped multiple times for the spell to work. (Let me tell you, this woman who “rapes” him is horrifying. Whatever you do, don’t trust her.) Then he ends up working for the King of the Mountain. Then he ends up working for Kiyoyori (He’s cool) and then he ends up with the Prince Abbot who he leaves in the end. There is so much that happens all against Shikanoko’s will, and he just goes with it. He’s just like, “Whatever. As long as I can kill my uncle, I don’t mind being forced to become the most freaking powerful sorcerer ever.” And in the end, he’s still as immature as if he never learned anything the past year and a half or however much time passes in the book. But, despite the immaturity, he’s still cool, and I seriously love the kid.

Look, if you don’t read this to get to know Shikanoko, at least read it for the beautiful cover. That’s honestly why I bought it in the first place, and I’m happy I did buy it. The book was good, and so well written I was taking notes in my head on what I can learn from the writing style. I really recommend you read it. Please do so. Let’s all talk about this book together. I would love to hear what you think about it.

Whispers of the Fallen by J. D. Netto – Book Review

Pat me on the back! I finally finished The Whispers of the Fallen by J. D. Netto. Okay, I’ll be honest, I finished it over Thanksgiving break. What can I say? I was busy and honestly just ignored the blog for a while to focus on myself. But I’m back, and I’m back with a book review!

The Whispers of the Fallen was good, but there were so may grammar issues and character inconsistencies that it was hard for me to fully enjoy the plot. However, what the author did do well was gradually reveal information and move the plot along. The character development was sometimes overwhelming, but it wasn’t horrible. Honestly though, with all of the little things, I would reread the book. There were a couple of really good sentences I highlighted, and I feel there was something I didn’t catch my first read through because I was too busy looking at errors.

The book is about the two characters Isaac and Demetre. This first book, however, mostly focuses on Isaac. In the book the two characters are in the middle of a war between what can be classified as angels and demons. Why are they in the middle of this war? Isaac and Demetre have special journals locked away in boxes which can only be opened by their blood. Depending on who has the journals and if they have been unlocked, could determine the course of the world. Through trying to avoid giving his blood to open these journals, Isaac loses Demetre (He comes back much later on in the book), gains and loses several allies, discovers he has wings in the process (which is really cool), and ultimately Isaac escapes evil. Well, as far as we’re aware. This is a first book in a series, so it leaves us with hope that Isaac and Demetre survive and win, but it also leaves us with the knowledge that the bad guys have a back up plan for a comeback.

The plot moves along really well, which is what kept me reading this time. There were times I lost track of characters simply because too many were involved in one scene. At other times I was left pondering a sentence for several minutes. This book, premise wise, plot wise, was really good. I think if the grammar was dusted up a little bit, then this could be great.

It was a good book. I highly recommend it for young adults somewhere in middle school and high school. At the same time, I am in neither of those age ranges and I really enjoyed it. I feel like this is a book all ages can enjoy, but I especially think this book could benefit young adults.

The World Above.

There was the sun, and stretched out before it was a sea of fire. Taan and Yulius sat on the edge of an island drifting through the sky. It was one cloud, constantly shifting and drifting from one point in the universe to another. They watched the sun slip around to the other side of the world knowing that, once it was gone, they could swim in the inky black, sometimes blue, ocean, and float with the stars. They had to wait until the sun set though or else they would burn and fall to the world below, where people called their falling bodies shooting stars. Taan recalled how people below would make wishes on the shooting stars and take pictures of them. From their perspective, he guessed it was beautiful; although, this was a hard concept to convey to Yulius.

 “One day, I want to go down there,” Yulius said. He leaned back on his hands.

 “You wouldn’t like it. Everything is muted down there,” said Taan. “Besides, after this, I promised to take to you to the forest.” 

 “What do the people down there think about the forest?”

 “They call it lightening, and they call the sound thunder. You wouldn’t understand them, Yulius. Trust me. You wouldn’t like it.” 

 The sun disappeared. Taan stood up and without further waiting, he stepped off the cloud and dropped down among the stars. Yulius followed shortly after, dropping the subject of the world called Earth.