Wayne Thomas Batson's Conclusion to The Dreamtreader Trilogy [Review]

Wayne Thomas Batson's middle grade contemporary fantasy, "War for the Waking World," concludes a fast paced, contemporary fantasy trilogy, ideal for reluctant readers.
(c.) 2015 Tommy Nelson Publishing
Title: War for the Waking World (Dreamtreaders #3)
Author: Wayne Thomas Batson
Published: 2015 by Tommy Nelson Publishing

About the Book:
"Would you be willing to fight for your dreams?

Fifteen-year-old Archer Keaton has the ability to enter and explore his dreams. He is a Dreamtreader, one of three selected from each generation. Their mission: to protect the waking world from the Nightmare Lord who dwells beyond the Slumber Gate. But as Archer’s dreams become more dangerous and threatening, so too does his waking life.

In this fast-paced conclusion to the exciting fantasy trilogy, the dream world and the waking world bleed into each other when a rift is formed between the two. People in the real world suddenly find their waking lives resemble their wildest dreams. Now it’s up to Archer and his fellow Dreamtreaders to race to reverse the rift before too much damage is done and to battle Archer’s ex-best friend, Kara, who sits on the throne of the Nightmare Lord. Kara is building an army of her own. Will Archer be strong enough to stand against her?"
The Artist Librarian Review:
Wayne Thomas Batson burst onto the publishing scene ten years ago with a "Narnia-esque" novel, The Door Within (a book that made it on my Christian Fantasy 101 Syllabus!) and quickly established himself as one of the top Christian Speculative authors for middle grade fiction. While I don't think this is his best work (in my opinion, that goes to his Pirate Adventures books), War for the Waking World concludes a fast paced, contemporary fantasy trilogy, ideal for reluctant readers.

The primary reason I categorize this novel as being for middle grade reluctant readers are the chapter lengths. Similar to Jennifer A. Nielsen's Ascendance trilogy, each chapter is no longer than ten pages. Much like the Ascendance trilogy and other general market novels aimed at reluctant readers, the story is tight, fast paced, and has lots of action.  With the merging of our world with the Dream realm, it's not just Dreamtreaders and Lucid Walkers that can create things with their minds, but ordinary people as well.  Not cognizant of this power, what some conjure up in their dreams or nightmares come to life in the real world, producing chaos akin to Mr. Stay Puft (a.k.a. the marshmallow man) from the cult classic Ghostbusters film and that of a more wicked variety.

Because of the quickened pace and shorter chapters, I felt that Batson's character development was a bit weaker compared to some of his previous work. I personally struggled to connect to characters because none of them really stood out to me. It seemed like I got to know the characters and their motivations at a basic level, receiving depth when only relevant to the plot or story. However, this could be because I am not in this novel's target group.

Despite this, Archer is a likable protagonist. He has faults and struggles like any 15-year-old boy and I loved his relationship with his siblings (I'm a sucker for older brother characters). Kaylie, his prodigious younger sister, was my favorite character - adorable, precocious, and yet with mannerisms to remind you that she's still 8-years-old. I won't discuss other characters as not to spoil, but there is enough character development for a satisfying story.

I highly suggest reading the first two novels, Dreamtreaders and Search for the Shadow Key, to fully understand what's going on --this isn't a stand alone novel! With an intriguing premise and solid world-building, young readers might enjoy this trilogy with allusions to spiritual warfare and a subtle faith-based thread/worldview.

Have you read any of Wayne Thomas Batson's novels?  Who are some of your favorite authors that fuse fantasy worlds with our own? 

Content notes: Typical fantasy violence --especially in the first two novels, some scenes are kind of intense when you think about what's happening, but since most of it happened in the "dream world" I give it a pass, but it did give me pause. Nothing graphic, but I'd describe some of it as psychological torture (though it's never seen).

About the Author:
"Wayne Thomas Batson is an American writer. He has been married to his wife, Mary Lu, for seventeen years and has four children. He currently works as a teacher at Folly Quarter Middle School teaching sixth grade English language arts and is the youngest of four children. His most recent series, 'Dreamtreaders' published by Thomas Nelson Inc (2014), is a modern-day paranormal YA adventure dealing with the subject of dreams."
[Disclosure: I received a copy of this book as a member of the Litfuse Blogger Program for review purposes.]
Wayne Thomas Batson's Conclusion to The Dreamtreader Trilogy [Review] Wayne Thomas Batson's Conclusion to The Dreamtreader Trilogy [Review] Reviewed by The Artist Librarian on 11/10/2015 12:21:00 PM Rating: 5

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