Dream Country by Ashaye Brown – My Review

“The Majority saw their gods as poetry – and struggled just as much to understand them.”

Ashaye Brown, Dream Country

My Quick Review: I received an ARC of Dream Country from the publisher, Onwe, in exchange for an honest review. Dream Country is a fantastic debut novel from Ashaye Brown. The plot had some slow moments, but the creativity of the world completely made up for it. The mythology behind this story was comprehensive and well thought out, and the celestial world of the gods was beautifully portrayed. Overall, it was a great fantasy read.

Category: YA Fantasy, Mythology

Age Rating: 13+

Pages: 391

Publisher: Onwe

Representation: POC main characters

Synopsis:

A sibling rivalry to fuel your worst nightmares.

The dysfunctional triplet gods of Sleep, Dreams and Nightmares are kept separate by the deadly Gates of Horn and Ivory. Only one fact keeps them tightly bound: each of them is a suspect in their mother’s murder. Their knife-edge feud worsens when a mortal enters the world with astounding abilities that threaten to change the game for them all.

In this thrilling young adult fantasy, Ashaye Brown brings to life a visionary world infused with Kenyan, Brazilian, Caribbean, and Grecian cultural references. A story like no other with stakes as high as they come.

“I’ve allowed poor men and princes Dream of being kings. I’ve allowed broken hearts Dream of love and empty stomachs Dream of feasts. There is nothing that I cannot put in a mortal’s mind if they so wish it and ask it of me.”

Ashaye Brown, Dream Country

My Review (may contain slight spoilers):

Dream Country follows the story of the triplet Gods of Dreams (Fanta), Sleep (Theo), and Nightmares (Torres). In their celestial home, far above the mortal realm of Pangaea, the land of these major gods has been split and divided into three contrasting regions, separated by a huge wall of Bone and Ivory. This divide was triggered by the untimely and suspicious death of their mother, the God of Night. With the siblings separated and under suspicion by the minor gods that inhabit their lands, trust is scarce between the trio, and when a young mortal is thrown into the celestial world, causing the paths of the three major gods to interweave once again, the gates of Bone and Ivory separating their lands no longer seem to be as strong as the siblings once thought…

First off, I want to talk about how intricate and beautiful the world building is in this book. Ashaye Brown has created such a wonderfully rich and diverse world, that I truly wish I could visit the lands of Dreams, Sleep, and maybe Nightmares (depending on how brave I am feeling!). Elements of religion and mythology were wonderfully entwined throughout this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of the characters.

This beautiful box is available for purchase and includes some incredible Dream, Sleep, and Nightmare bookish inspired items! Interested? Pick up your copy here!

The narration follows the perspectives of both Theo and Torres, and the description of their abilities were descriptive and imaginative. While I enjoyed the perspectives and intricacies of the rivalry between the siblings, I did have some difficult connecting with the trio. Fanta was quite cruel and unforgiving, Torres was funny, but seemed too driven and unstable, and Theo relied too heavily on those around him, considering he is one of the three major gods. I found it difficult to really enjoy the characters and their development unfortunately, but that is more of a personal opinion. Just because I didn’t connect with any of the characters, doesn’t mean other readers won’t! I also found the story somewhat lacking in any form of romanticism, and would have thoroughly enjoyed a romantic relationships to be involved.

I truly loved the world building and imagery of Ashaye Brown’s writing, however I did find that the story focused too heavily on world building at times, which caused the plot to feel somewhat slow. The pace did pick up towards the end of the book though and it had a fantastic ending. I had previously thought this book was a standalone novel, but since the story was left on a massive cliffhanger, I am assuming that this will be part of a series, that I am truly looking forward to reading!

Conclusion: Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the setting and world building of this book. The intricate details and back story was wonderfully written, and the language was beautiful in parts! I did find, however, that because I struggled to connect to any of the characters, I wasn’t empathetic or emotionally attached to their individual journeys. The plot was also a bit slowly paced during the middle of this book, but certainly picked up at the end! I would definitely recommend this for readers who are fans of other mythological fantasy reads such as Circe by Madelline Miller.

4/5

“I guess what we’re afraid of doesn’t have to make sense.”

Ashaye Brown, Dream Country

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