We love books in our home. In particular, books for children. Through my years as a teacher, I collected a large and varied selection of picture books, beginner reader and young children's books, all of which are now spilling from our many bookshelves. So it came as no surprise to me that my eldest child is an avid reader. Sadly, she is now getting a little old for the books that we have in our home which prompted me to begin building our tween and teen collection a little. To this end, I began applying to review books, with my 9 year old girls' help of course!
Published in February 2015, The Dreamsnatcher is the first in a series full of magic, mystery and adventure by debut novelist Abi Elphinstone.
The story is one of magic and action with strong characters and enough mystery and peril to draw the reader in. Centered around an orphaned gypsy girl, Moll, we are invited into a world where belief in magic and spirits is strong. The antagonist, Skull, is perfectly intimidating and undeniably scary. His magical pull on Moll is terrifying. He haunts her dreams and is determined to end her young life.
Moll is given the responsibility of protecting her people from dark magic and the evil which is lurking, waiting to be released by Skull and his companions. The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has been by her side for as long as she can remember, are the only ones who have the power to fight against the Dreamsnatcher's dark magic. We join Moll on her quest to outwit Skull and retrieve objects which will help to keep the darkness at bay.
Get ready to be transported in the world of the Romany gypsies with their traditions and rituals. Be a part of their alternative lifestyle and beliefs and enjoy the colourful characters who make up the camp in which Moll has been raised her whole life.
Right from the prologue we knew we were hooked. The reader is immediately drawn into a gripping scenario which is both intriguing and a little scary. It entices you to read on.
I felt excited when I was reading and I just wanted to know what would happen next! I read it in 6 evenings, after school. I couldn't stop!
The main character, twelve-year-old Molly (Moll) Pecksniff, is extremely likeable and one for whom you feel great sympathy. For one so young, she has a tragic past and a heavy burden to carry. She is feisty, strong, bold and brave; something I am a fan of when it comes to female characters. She certainly holds her own against Skull. Throughout the story she is in danger both physically and mentally from the gang who seek to prevent her from task and I found myself filled with anxiety for her safety during some of the more perilous scenes, and silently willing her to survive and succeed.
I felt like I was in the story with Moll
We found the descriptive passages particularly well written. The author creates vivid images with her choice of words making it easy to visualise the characters and the setting. This really helps to make you feel like you are there, like you are part of the story.
The Dreamsnatcher is a fast paced action fantasy. You are racing from one tense moment to another, pulled along with Moll and her companions from one trial to the next. It is not a relaxing read! It is because of this pace that you fly through the book quickly and find yourself at the end wanting more.
Amazing descriptions and fast paced story
The storyline grips you and keeps you turning the pages. Each chapter ends in a carefully constructed cliff hanger. Just when you think, I'll just finish one more chapter before bed you find yourself still reading 3 chapters later as each one demands that you keep reading.
The ending was satisfying and made me want to read the next book straight away! I did not want it to end!
Watch the trailer for The Dreamsnatcher here.
The Dreamsnatcher is perfectly written for older readers. (This mum included!) The language and vocabulary used is accessible enough for children aged 8 and over and not so easy as to be overly simple. We recommend this to children who enjoy action, adventure and a little touch of magic in their books.
The Dreamsnatcher is the first book in a trilogy and adeptly manages to sow the seeds for the following two. We are already eagerly anticipating the sequel due for release in 2016.
My daughter dressed as Moll Pecksniff for World Book Day
To be honest, my girl first jokingly rated it 4 and a half and when I queried that rating, she said, I've only taken off a half because I have to wait til next year to read the next one! 😉
Purchase your copy of The Dreamsnatcher here via Amazon
Would you like to find out more about the author? Join Abi Elphinstone by following her on Twitter or liking her page on Facebook using the links below.
“The Dreamsnatcher is, in many ways, like an extension of my childhood (minus the witchdoctors and the tree ghouls). I didn’t have to create Moll’s outdoor world; it grew out of my own” Abi Elphinstone
Visit Abi Elphinstone's website
Meet the author Q&A with Abi
* all quotes contributed by my 9 year old book reviewer
I am a preschool and primary school teacher and mum to 3 children. I have been involved in education since 1997 and have trained in a variety of educational specialist areas. It is with this expertise that I write articles to help parents and educators provide quality learning experiences for the children in their care.