A lush tapestry of dreams, myth, and magic—perfect for fans of Holly Black, Roshani Chokshi, and Margaret Rogerson.
Seven years ago, Tanvi was spirited away to the subterranean realm of Nagalok, where she joined the ranks of the dream runners: human children freed of all memory and emotion, who collect mortal dreams for the entertainment of the serpentine, immortal naga court.
But when one of Tanvi’s dream harvests goes awry, she begins to remember her life on earth. Panicked and confused, she turns to the one mortal in Nagalok who might be able to help: Venkat, the dreamsmith responsible for collecting the dream runners’ wares and shaping them into the kingdom’s most tantalizing commodity. And as they search for answers, a terrifying truth begins to take shape—one that could turn the nagas’ realm of dreams into a land of waking nightmare.
From the author of the Indie Next selection and Andre Norton Award finalist Star Daughter, this stand-alone contemporary fantasy, inspired by the nagas and garudas of Hindu mythology, is full of slow-burning romance, haunting intrigue, and shimmering magic.
Thakrar (Star Daughter) draws upon Hindu mythology in this richly detailed standalone fantasy. Abducted from the mortal world at age 10, Tanvi is spirited away to the kingdom of Nagalok to serve its dream-eating, serpentine inhabitants, called naga. Along with other captive mortals, Tanvi, now 17, emerges from Nagalok's subterranean realm under cover of night to harvest dreams from sleeping humans. She delivers them to naga dream broker Lord Nayan and his mortal apprentice, 18-year-old Venkat, whose wares fetch a high price to live, dreamless naga must consume nocturnal visions, and the heightened emotions within them. As a dream runner, Tanvi's memories of her previous life are erased, until a harvest gone awry recalls disturbing images of her past. Struggling with her memories and reeling from the realization that fellow dream runners have vanished, Tanvi seeks out Venkat, her only mortal confidante. As secrets of the realm unfurl, the duo, both of whom have brown skin and implied Indian heritage, must wake up to the developing nightmare as war brews beyond Nagalok's borders. Though the pacing's lack of urgency lowers the stakes, multifaceted characters, a splash of romance, and complex, intriguing worldbuilding deliver an engaging fantasy read. Ages 13 up. Agent: Beth Phelan, Gallt and Zacker Literary.