Who can you trust when you’re told to believe in everything – even what you can’t yet see? Wren Handman takes us on a journey of self-discovery, fairy magic, and teen angst in her latest book, In Restless Dreams.
Though Sylvia has more than enough on her plate – what with her mother’s attempted suicide resulting in Sylvia and her brother Eric going to live in New York with their wealthy dad, and the snobby crowd at her equally snobby new prep school – she takes on so much more when she learns that she’s the Phantasmer, or a human that holds the power to alter the entire fairy world just by believing in a new story. No pressure.
Except, there is a ton of pressure on this one girl’s shoulders. The Seelie and the Unseelie, two warring courts of magical beings, want her to side with them and use her gift on each other. It doesn’t help that their pulling no punches and pitting Sylvia’s own teen hormones against her by sending in some attractive male fairies to sway her one way or the other. And while I’m normally wary of the quintessential love triangle trope, especially in a narrative primarily focused on teenagers and their already erratic behavior, I will admit that their methods are quite effective on Sylvia. The pair of fairies causes her so much trouble, in fact, that it spills over into the real world.
In Restless Dreams is great for lovers of fantasy and romance, as well as your boilerplate setup for two old-world power struggles, each complete with pompous speeches and strict hierarchies, but minus the finesse one might expect in a subtle yet hostile takeover. This read is perfect escapist literature since it amplifies the conflicts we see every day, but throws in the additional complications we would expect – and maybe a few we wouldn’t – from the realm of magic and fairies.
On top of the familiar and easily adapted myths and creatures found in this book, Handman employs a signature writing style that’s elegant, yet simple. The combined effect is a story that readers can picture in their minds as they follow the characters through problems big and small, realistic and fantastical.