327p. Scholastic/Chicken House. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545496445. LC 2012024406.
Gr 5–9—For more than a year, David Utherwise's vivid dreams have included Eddie, to the point that David considers him a close friend. It's not until two separate groups are after him that he discovers that Eddie might be something other than a dream figure. Taken from his family and brought to the Unsleep House in Geneva, he encounters mysterious Professor Feldrake, who reveals that David is a dreamwalker, and that what he thought were dreams were travels back in time to the London Blitz. David has been meeting the 14-year-old version of his grandfather, Edmund Utherwise. These supernatural meetings inspire the adult Eddie to develop a practical theory of ghosts and to found the Dreamwalker Project. David finds that a rogue group, the Haunting, thinks nothing of manipulating past events in ways that allow them to profit. Recently, Adam, a star student at Unsleep House, has defected to the Haunting. His knowledge could very well allow the Haunting to capture the childhood Eddie, bringing about the destruction of the Unsleep House, the only thing that stands in the way of the Haunting ruling the world. When Adam disguises himself as David to lure Eddie into a house that is about to be bombed, Eddie narrowly escapes, but that slight change in history means that now he is wandering around London in grave danger. Chapters alternate between current-day Geneva and 1940 London. The race between the Haunters and the Dreamwalkers to locate Eddie will keep readers turning pages, but the final surprise twist and cliff-hanger ending may leave some readers frustrated.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
While he dreams, David can travel back in time as a ghost, which is a good thing if he is going to stop others with similar abilities from changing history and wiping him out. Though the plot is predictable and slow at times, the sense of danger is palpable and the supernatural and science fiction elements are well balanced.
With expert world building and strong characters, Thomas Taylor clearly and compellingly introduces a complex universe. Vivid descriptions make the plot’s fantastic elements seem plausible: “The exotic mixture of smells struck David first. Coal smoke and bitter-tasting steam were by far the strongest, but cigarettes and oil were there too, as well as a leathery, varnish tang. Thinking about old things and the past, he’d been expecting mustiness, but this world around him was as fresh and vital as the present.” David’s friendship with Eddie, the boy who will become his grandfather, is moving. It introduces elements of familial affection and loyalty into the story, while also raising the stakes for David’s own survival. Adam, David’s nemesis, is a mysterious and worthy opponent. Pressing questions about the nature of his organization and his leader, the King of the Haunting, will lead readers to anticipate the next book in the series.

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