As I am writing this, it has been less than 10 minutes since I have finished this book. I thought it would be best to start writing the book review just so my head isn’t jumbled up with my thoughts on this book, and so that I don’t forget anything that I wanted to mention in this book review. On that note, I apologise if this book review isn’t as coherent or well-structured as usual. I am still grieving the fact that the book had to end.
I also want to thank Harper360YA for sending my an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of this book in exchange for an honest review. As my blog’s book review states: “All the thoughts and opinions stated in this book review are of my own opinions”. I also promise to review the books honestly and genuinely.
That is my promise to you, Dear Readers.
!! Spoiler Warning !!
Dreams Lie Beneath
by Rebecca Ross
Kindle Edition, 496 pages
Published: November 2nd 2021 by Quill Tree Books
Perfect for readers of The Hazel Wood and The Night Circus, this lush and layered story about magic and the captivating power of dreams is delivered with acclaimed author Rebecca Ross’s signature exquisite style.
A curse plagues the realm of Azenor—during each new moon, magic flows from the nearby mountain and brings nightmares to life. Only magicians, who serve as territory wardens, stand betwee n people and their worst dreams.
Clementine Madigan is ready to take over as the warden of her small town, but when two magicians challenge her, she is unwittingly drawn into a century-old conflict. She seeks revenge, but as she secretly gets closer to Phelan, one of the handsome young magicians, secrets begin to rise. Clementine must unite with her rival to fight the realm’s curse, which seems to be haunting her every turn.
This is a 5 star read.
Let’s get that out there. This was such a phenomenally written YA fantasy novel that has everything I could ever want in a novel– fantastic world-building, a solid plot, great cast of characters, rivals to lovers, and magic. What more could you ask for?
I was swiftly learning that our dreams were intent on unmasking us and our plans.
Our secrets, our past. What we hoped for.
What we desired”
Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross follows Clementine, a territory warden who assists her father in watching over the town and keeping their people safe. Their town, Azenor, is plagued by a curse that brings nightmares to life and only the magicians, those like Clementine and her father, can keep those nightmares at bay. When two unfamiliar magicians challenge her family rule over the town, they are forced to leave the only place they called home. Overcome with the need for revenge, Clementine hatches a plan in order to take back what belongs to her and her family. Along the way, secrets are unravelled, lies are revealed, and Clementine is forced to question everything she has ever known about.
I am not shy to admit that I was pretty much emotionally invested in this book and the characters. If we were sitting in the same room together as I read, you would have heard every gasp, expletive and giggle. The world building in this book is absolutely phenomenal. The way Rebecca Ross is able to create such a fantastical (yet slightly terrifying) world within the pages of this books is pretty impressive. Like I want to live in a small town, and be friends with all the townspeople, but at the same time I’d be terrified to know that my worst nightmares might be lurking each new moon. The wizards and the use of magic in this book is easy to understand and follow– nothing complicated or overwhelming. The concept of nightmares coming to life and the magicians having to cast spells in order to defeat these monsters is such a unique concept, so I am so glad that Rebecca Ross was able to exceed all of my expectations and produce this gem of a novel. She is a master of story-telling and this dream-like world she has created within this book is proof of that.
Moving onto the characters. Our main character, Clementine, is a courageous and bold character that isn’t one to weaver at a challenge. She takes things in stride and has enough belief in herself that she will face any problem head-on. She doesn’t wait for problems to solve themselves, and instead finds solutions to them. Clementine is the epitome of a well-written, likeable heroine. I really enjoyed all of the characters in this book. I think they all played an integral part in the story, and I do wish that we could’ve seen more of them. One thing that I kind of have mixed feelings about is Clementine and her relationship with her father. Even though the twist did have me a bit flabbergasted, I did not really feel the close bond between father and daughter. If that closeness was more developed from the beginning, I think it would’ve made such a bigger, emotional impact to the readers.
Let’s talk about the revenge plot. I would argue that Clementine might’ve taken it a bit to far by disguising herself as an entirely new person in order to get revenge, I also understand that it was during a moment of desperation and helplessness. Clementine did it thinking of her family and must’ve felt like the people of Azenor would be left vulnerable to the nightmares that lurked in their town. Speaking of the disguise, that scene really reminded me of ‘The Little Mermaid’ where Ariel goes to had to give up her voice in exchange for human legs. Clementine had to give up her talent in exchange for the disguise. Clementine was Ariel and Mazarine was Ursula (kind of…). It was also intresting how the villain in this book isn’t who I thought it was– in fact, we actually go through a number of seemingly “evil” characters before it is revealed who the true villain is. I do enjoy a rollercoaster.
Now let’s talk about the romance. This book gave me some top-tier rivals to lovers excellence– the banter, the slow-burn, the initial revenge plan– it’s basically everything I could ask for in a YA romance novel. As soon as I had an idea that Clementine wanted to get back at Phalen, I cannot tell you the sheer glee that I felt. I knew I was going to be witnessing a “hate-to-love” trope and was pleading for the author to deliver it well.
And Rebecca Ross certainly did not disappoint.
“We can talk more tomorrow”
“Talk more about what?” he asked. “The fact that you missed me?”
I never said that I missed you. I said that it was quiet here”
He took another step closer. “Then let me be the first one to confess. I missed you.”
“I have no doubt.”pp. 275
I am still not over the fact that Phelan managed to see past her veil and her facade when everyone else couldn’t. The way he remembered the little details like her scar that eventually helped him realise that the girl he had been longing for was right in front of him. Not to mention the fact that despite her lying to him about her true identity, he still protected her.
(If that hasn’t enticed you to read this book, let me just say that there may or may not be a “My-door-is-open-if-you-need-me” kind of scene)
You know those books that leave you with such a good, satisfying feeling at the end? the ones where you feel so eager to share what you just read? This was one of those books for me.
I was in awe from start to finish.
p.s I hope you have found that kind of book too.
Thank you to Harper360YA for gifting me an Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review!
Have you read ‘Dreams Lie Beneath Us’ by Rebecca Ross? Let me know in the comments below!
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