Some nightmares never end
In his sleep, Louie starts visiting a magical world where he meets his father, who died when Louie was still a baby. But nothing turns out to be what it seems, and great horrors loom very close by …
Welcome to Dreamland
A mysterious teen ghost story about fear and loss and losing yourself in dreams, Dreamland was originally published in Danish to great reviews, and is now available in English.
First of all, many thanks to Nick Clausen for reaching out to me and offering me a review copy. Nick is a Danish author with almost thirty traditionally published books under his belt, so he’s by no means a lightweight. Recently he has started translating and indie-publishing his books in English, and Dreamland is one of those books.
Dreamland is a tiny sliver of a book, which is why I put it in the novella category in my monthly overview, but it’s actually a compact, yet well-rounded story about Louie, a twelve-year-old boy raised by his mother because his father died when he was just a baby. The trouble starts when Louie starts visiting a place called Dreamland in his dreams. There he meets a man who says he’s Louie’s father. He knows things, things only Louie’s father would know, but is he really who he says he is, and why is Louie dead-tired every time he wakes up?
For sure an intriguing premise, and an excellent execution too, a dream-like ghost story that felt like a mix of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 and Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls. Dreamland reminded me of NOS4A2 in that they have the same dream-like, nightmarish quality. If I had to put Dreamland in a target audience age bracket, I’d say it is mostly middle-grade, and obviously NOS4A2 is aimed at a more adult audience. However, Dreamland as a setting feels like a light version of Christmasland, it has some of the same atmosphere. Dreamland reminded me of A Monster Calls because both stories have a young boy at their cores, who is trying to make sense of death and loss. Although Louie has never really knows his father, he is growing up without one, and that has had an impact on every aspect of his life, and so of course he clings to his Dreamland father. In a way, this also made me nostalgic for the Goosebumps books by R. L. Stine, so if you or your kids are into that series, you should definitely give Dreamland a whirl!
Although I think this book is best suited for a middle-grade audience, I, at a slightly more advanced age (ahem), did enjoy Dreamland too, and very much so. It was a quick, fun, yet at certain times also emotional read that I’m happy to have read and that I’d gladly recommend.