Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith Review + Interview * GIVEAWAY

by Lindsay Smith
Release date: Oct. 6, 2015
Format: ARC
Genre: YA Fantasy
Goodreads Link

A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.
Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.
A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.
*I received this book from the publisher/author through Netgalley and Sunday Street Team to review honestly*

My Rating:


Can we start with the cover? Because it's a work of beauty. I would hang that on my wall, no lie.

More importantly! This book. Oh, I loved this book. I am fascinated by anything to do with dreams (though they also kind of freak me out) and a YA fantasy book about dreams? That's really all I knew about it, but it was enough!

Livia is a dreamstrider, the only one as far as she knows. This means she can go into the dream world, called Oneiros, which only select few (mainly the priests to the Dreamer) can do. What's even more unusual is that she can dreamstride, take over other people's bodies in the real world while they dream. This makes Livia the perfect spy -- or it should at least.

I have to say what really made me love this book so much is the world. I've never read anything like it, everything little thing felt new and unique. I loved the idea that their god (basically) was the Dreamer and their devil (again, basically) was Nightmare. Just, think about that for a moment, how can it not intrigue you?

Dreamstrider really brings it with its amazing world and premise. There's secrets, deception, greed, lots of bad things, and so much espionage! I'm not the biggest fan of espionage/political fantasy type books but I was so intrigued by the world and plot, so in love with the characters, I completely forgot that it wasn't my favorite thing.

The characters! Ah, as if I didn't love enough about this book already. Livia is not your average main character who's the chosen one and good at everything. As far as she can tell, she's not really good at much. Even Dreamstridering. She's convinced the Dreamer gave her this gift for a reason but she's also plagued with doubts and memories of all her past failures. She's flawed and uncertain and such a well-written character.

I admit, I have a ship or two, not going to say who but there's plenty of moments for subtle swooning. The romance never takes over the plot and there isn't even a wisp of insta love.

I'm having a hard time writing a coherent review... Just know you should go and read it as soon as possible okay?

I know what you're thinking, if I loved this so much, why the half star? Well, I did love it and once I got into it I was really into it. I wanted to drown myself in this world and characters. But parts were slow and it dragged just a little in the beginning and middle. And for once I wanted the romance to pick up, okay!?

Overall: I really enjoyed this one. It's a great fantasy novel and I was not disappointed by the dream related things that I was so looking forward to. Highly recommended!


1. What three words would you use to describe Dreamstrider?
Dreams. Nightmares. Hope.

2. What inspired you to write Dreamstrider?
Dreamstrider is a mix of so many things for me! It’s about the process of turning dreams into reality, and finding your way in life. I wrote it at a time when I was struggling with that process myself, and the imperfect way real life has of playing out, and the fact we have to go on despite that. I’m also always drawn to thrillers heavy on the political intrigue, and vast, wild fantasy worlds, so the story naturally manifested that way for me. And Livia--I wanted a character who isn’t a chosen one, who isn’t certain and confident in her abilities, and struggles with meeting the expectations that have been placed on her. I wanted to give her a chance to upend those tropes.

3. Do you have a favorite character to write?
The scenes with Marez and Kriza were always really fun to write, because they get to poke at Livia’s insecurities and her stuffiness. Vera, too, was always a blast. I enjoyed writing her so much that I gave her a short story of her own called “Kingmaker,” which will be published on on September 22nd. 

*check out Kingmaker here!

4. Do you have a favorite scene or chapter in Dreamstrider?
There’s a quiet moment right at the end of Part I, where Livia and Brandt are sitting on the Ministry’s rooftop, watching something terrible but necessary play out on the city square below them. They don’t realize it at the time, but it’s a big turning point for both their characters, and the story, as well, and I love seeing what should be this easy, comforting moment twist into something bitter and terrifying for them both.

5. If you had to pick a theme song for Dreamstrider what would it be?
That’s a tough one! I think there are a lot of good options on the The Fragile album by Nine Inch Nails. “The Day the Whole World Went Away” is good for signifying the way Livia moves between the dreamworld and the real world, and the frightening disruptions that happen in both of them. And “The Fragile” really speaks to Livia’s personality and struggles. I tend to listen to epic wordless music when I’m writing, though, so a lot of dramatic Tchaikovsky symphonies and movie soundtracks (including, yes, Inception) went into the writing of Dreamstrider.


About the author:

Author of YA historical thrillers SEKRET and SKANDAL and the forthcoming YA fantasy DREAMSTRIDER (all from Macmillan Children's). Russophile, foreign affairs junkie, nerd.


  1. HAHA such a cute review Shay! :) I saw this book months ago and I have to agree that the cover is so gorgeous. I mean, the colors and all blend well together. I'm glad to hear that it impressed you well because now I'm really excited for this one!! Two OTPs - amazeeee! Thanks for the awesome review :D

  2. I wasn't all that interested in this, but after reading your review I'll definitely add it to my TBR. So awesome review, Shay! :)

  3. I was hesitant about this one because I usually don't like dreams in books or movies. It sounds like you can at least tell what's a dream and what's real though, right? I usually like political intrigue in books, so that part sounds good. Yay for no insta love! More than one ship? Does that mean there's a love triangle? I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

  4. This book sounds incredible and so many people have been loving it! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! I wasn't completely sure about wanting to read this, but you make it sound really great :)

    Lipstick and Mocha