When 11 year old Ellie Dasher and her 6 year old brother Elijah inherit a house known as The Old Sleep from their grandmother, the family moves to Connecticut to take up residence. Ellie soon discovers that The Old Sleep has a reputation for being haunted. In one terrible nightmare, Elijah is dragged from Ellie’s arms by two invisible monsters, and when Ellie wakes up, Elijah is in a coma and cannot be roused. But Ellie knows he is trapped in another world and to save him, she must enter the world of dreams to get to Inzien, a dangerous place in the centre of the dream world.
I love the premise of this story, someone trapped in a dream world, which I think is truly terrifying. Ellie is a wonderful heroine, brave, resourceful, and prepared to do anything to save her brother. The world-building is superb: detailed, imaginative, and well thought out. I could have spent a lot more time exploring Inzien’s magical dangers and I can’t wait to return (skoils, mirrorpools, pyren beads, inshifters anyone?). The other characters, Hat and Trash (Sleepwalkers, kids who patrol dream world protecting the dreamers), Thaddeus the auglican (a non-human resident of Inzien), Nora and Oxburg (strays, stuck forever in Inzien) are all well drawn, and I’ve love to more about them, especially Nora.
Ellie embarks on a dangerous and exciting journey to save Elijah, but the plot twists and turns between monsters, sleepwalkers and traitors, and there are hints of a much larger over-arching story. There is a lot of” story” in this story, and you could argue perhaps that the author should have split over several books but I get the sense there is a lot more of this world yet to be shared, and I am eager to read more.
To avoid spoilers, I won’t mention what my favourite element of the story is but Sleepwalkers Round One has many wonderful imaginative details, a very exciting climax, and on finishing the book, I immediately wanted to pick up the sequel. I hope I won’t have to wait too long!
This is a middle grade fantasy/horror, best suited to those in this age group who enjoy complex worlds and plots, and who can handle the horror elements.
Overall, a hugely imaginative and extremely exciting fantasy/horror adventure. If you like high concept fantasy, you are sure to love this book.
An enthusiastic ten diamonds out of ten from TOTP and I.
Thanks to Somnium Publishing for the eARC of the book, I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Izzi Breigh, raised by a family of peacocks, grew up on a rutabaga farm. She now resides in a small cottage made entirely of pinecones. Izzi enjoys knitting shirts for starfish, rooms without corners, and peddling time. Her day job is filling hourglasses with precisely the right amount of sand, which she sells for 2 copper pennies every Saturday at her local flea market. Hide and seek is her favorite sport, and though she has repeatedly spotted Waldo, she has yet to figure out where in the world is Carmen Sandiego.
You can find Izzi by following the scent of fresh pinecones or by peeking through any strange magnifying glasses you come across at your own local flea market. Alternatively, she can be found online at: