Laura comes from a world similar to our own except for one difference: it is next to the Place, an unfathomable land that fosters dreams of every kind and is inaccessible to all but a select few, the Dreamhunters. These are individuals with special gifts: the ability to catch larger-than-life dreams and relay them to audiences in the magnificent dream palace, the Rainbow Opera. People travel from all around to experience the benefits of the hunters' unique visions.
Now fifteen-year-old Laura and her cousin Rose, daughters of Dreamhunters, are eligible to test themselves at the Place and find out whether they qualify for the passage. But nothing can prepare them for what they are about to discover. For within the Place lies a horrific secret kept hidden by corrupt members of the government. And when Laura's father, the man who discovered the Place, disappears, she realizes that this secret has the power to destroy everyone she loves . . .
In the midst of a fascinating landscape, Laura's dreamy childhood is ending and a nightmare beginning. This rich novel, filled with beauty, danger, politics, and intrigue, comes to a powerful crescendo, leaving readers clamoring for Book Two.
Dreamhunter is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
"It is like nothing else I've ever read." -- Stephenie Meyer, The Twilight Saga
Knox's (The Vintner's Luck, for adults) debut for YA readers, the first in the Dreamhunter Duet, recalls Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's sci-fi masterpiece Roadside Picnic. Both tell of a mysterious geographic region (here called "the Place") with unusual powers and properties, and of the societal caste made up of those designated to explore it. The Place is where dreams originate; dreamhunters enter it, capture dreams in their minds, then return to "perform" them for the masses at the Rainbow Opera palace. The novel centers on 15-year-old Laura Hame, whose father Tziga is the legendary dreamhunter who discovered the Place as a young man. Laura is about to have her "Try," a coming-of-age ritual which will test her sensitivity to dreams. She succeeds and, a few days later, her father vanishes. Laura ventures into the Place to find him, but instead receives a letter from him, confiding in her the essence of the Place and saddling her with a terrible mission to clear up a mess of his own making. Knox's fascinating story imagines the intersection of a haunting dream-world with a gritty real world. A Regulatory Body oversees dreamhunters as if they were mundane laborers, maps point out the exact spots in the Place where certain dreams reside, and an industry emerges to sell eager customers the exact dreams they seek. And what Laura learns about how the government really uses dreams (especially in prison reform) makes for biting commentary. This fully imagined world will surely lure readers back for multiple readings. Ages 12-up.