Dreams Lie Beneath

Quill Tree/HarperCollins/. Nov. 2021. 496p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780063015920.
Gr 7 Up–Every new moon, Clem Madigan patrols the streets of her small town with her father as a dream warden, to fight the nightmares of the townsfolk made real by a curse that plagues the kingdom. That is, until a pair of rival wardens win guardianship of their town in a challenge, leaving Clem’s father to return to his estranged wife in the city, Clem in tow. Refusing to let the theft of her home go unpunished, Clem devises a plan to disguise herself and take revenge on the rival wardens—only to realize that there are much deeper machinations afoot. With the atmosphere and pacing of a fairy tale, but with a milder form of the political maneuvering more popular in modern fantasy, this is simultaneously reminiscent of both Caraval and Finale by Stephanie Garber. Clem and her rival wardens are well rounded, although the rapidity with which the plot unfolds leaves character depth relatively unexplored. The combination of mystery, magic, action, and intrigue is quite a bit to pack into one book, but Ross maintains an excellent balance throughout that will satisfy even the most selective fantasy readers. For the most part, characters are cued white.
VERDICT A strong addition to collections where fantasy is popular.

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