Dreamfire by Kit Alloway Review: The Science of Dreams

March 9, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

Dreamfire by Kit Alloway Review: The Science of DreamsDreamfire by Kit Alloway
Published by Penguin Australia on February 24, 2015
Source: Publisher
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher
Add to Goodreads

Joshlyn Weaver has always lived with a big secret. Ordinary kids spend their free time going to the movies, hanging out with friends, and searching on the internet.  But for her, an evening at home usually means entering people's dreams.  For many generations, her family has been part of a very powerful and very secretive society of dream walkers. Tasked with the responsibility of lowering the world's general anxiety—which only leads to war and strife in the waking world—their job has always been to stop nightmares before they go too far.  By stopping nightmares while sleeping, they help to stop nightmares in real life. But when an ancient feud within the dream walker society resurfaces right when a seemingly unconnected series of very strange and very scary events start occurring during her dream walks, Josh finds herself in a race against time. The one true dream walker has never been known. Could she be the one?

So you’re probably wondering what I ended up doing with Dreamfire with it’s slow and draggy pace. I was about halfway through until I started skimming, but I’m glad I didn’t DNF it because the ending was satisfying.

The setting was really interesting. Dream walkers are trained to enter nightmares and to resolve or end their dreams to reduce the dreamers’ anxiety. The dream walkers operate as a secret society with their own rituals, such as inducting people into the society when they turn 17, having extremely long names and having a scroll that can tell their future. Witnessing people’s nightmares was a weird and wonderful experience, featuring albino koalas, trapped souls in a canister, trench coat pursuers and reconstructions of world war II.

It took me a long time to warm to the book though, as it gets bogged down with lengthy and complicated explanations on dream theory. A lot of this detail wasn’t really necessary to the overall plot and made the book crawl at a staggering pace. I struggled to stay interested all the way through and ending up skimming the book partway through. The book does pick up towards the end, especially when it starts exploring the villain’s world and Josh’s past – I just wish it didn’t take so long to get there.

“There are only three ways to deal with a nightmare…One: Resolve it. Two: Convince the dreamer that they’re dreaming. Three: Bail.” – Josh.

Many secondary characters are introduced in quick succession at Josh’s 17th birthday, and it was hard for me to pick up their names, especially since most of them are related to her in some way. Even the character names were hard to grasp with interchanging male/female names – Josh as the female main character and Haley as a male character.

Once I warmed up to the characters though, I started to appreciate them. Josh is a reserved, cold and damaged character who is incredibly talented with dream walking. She’ll constantly put herself down throughout the book and prevent herself from getting close to others, because she blames herself for her boyfriend’s death. Seeing her dedication to saving people from their nightmares, her family and friends care for her, and hearing about her past trauma, added depth to her character. She was cold and difficult to connect to for a reason, and seeing her from Will’s point of view helped.

“You’d rather believe you’re a screwup who always gets let off the hook than admit how amazing you are and take responsibility for being so strong. If we die tonight, I’ll know the truth – that we died because you were afraid of being special. That’s your dreamfire, Josh, admitting how strong and smart and great you are.” – Will 

As Josh’s apprentice, Will really helped Josh to open up and overcome her PTSD. He’s warm, friendly and emotionally aware, thanks to all the self help books he’s read. It was interesting to see how he picked up on the emotional side of things, in contrast with Josh’s talent, by counselling people in their nightmares. Where Josh contributed with her strength, training and ability, Will also had something to offer with his emotional awareness and ability to calm others.

The other secondary characters were also interesting, particularly Haley, the identical twin of Josh’s ex-boyfriend. It looked like he was coping with his twin’s death by pretending to be him which was really creepy.


I was this close to DNFing Dreamfire, but I’m glad I didn’t. I got a satisfying resolution and ended up appreciating the characters and the plot once I reached the final page. The pacing was slow and draggy, with lengthy scientific explanations that went over my head. But it is so much more than just a paranormal book, as the main character deals with trauma from her past, the responsibility of dream walking and some pretty interesting dilemmas.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Thank you to Penguin Random House for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! 

The following two tabs change content below.
Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

Tags: , , , ,

44 responses to “Dreamfire by Kit Alloway Review: The Science of Dreams

  1. I love this cover Jeann!! What a relief that the story eventually got better and while I love the science-y stuff in books but when it's over my head…I hate that. :/ But I'm glad you made it past the point of DNF b/c it seems like in the end, it was worth it. 😉
    My recent post Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

  2. I'll be honest, this sounds even too quirky for me. I'm all for the non traditional, but when you're giving male characters traditional female names and vice versa, add that to the name and fact dumping, then it makes for a confusing read. It sounds pretty busy for a standalone, and might have been more engaging had the concept been simplified instead. Interesting concept, but I think you need to be in the right frame of mind for one of those slow reads. Kudos for being able to get through it Jeann, I'm not surprised you struggled.

    Wonderful review <3
    My recent post Every Move by Ellie Marney

    • Yeah, it definitely was confusing Kelly. I definitely agree about needing to be in the right frame of mind for a slow read. Thanks Kelly!

  3. danielleisbusyreading

    I'm glad you were able to push through, Jeann, and that it was ultimately worth the read! I've heard from quite a few bloggers now that the pacing is slow, so I'm not sure if I'm going to give this one a try. Plus Josh's emotional distance kind of puts me off. :/

    Great review, lady! <3

  4. Good for you for not DNFing. I am a shameless DNFer, so I probably wouldn't have made it through in your situation. But the ending was an improvement, so good job on sticking it out.

    • I know, I\’m quite surprised actually! Yeah I don\’t have a good attention span either, especially when it comes to slow books lol

  5. lorellepage

    A really interesting concept. A sidenote, though – that blurb is pretty stock standard. How often do you see this? So and so isn't normal. She should be plaiting hair and raising the hem of your uniform to attract boys, but…
    Only mentioning it as I'm wondering how important a blurb is to you. Maybe I'm doing my own research..but you are in the know 🙂

    My recent post Writing to desensitised readers: when nothing can shock us

    • TBH I don't read a lot of blurbs, I rely on reviews and recommendations from trusted bloggers on picking up books.

  6. Hm hm hm … I've had a couple experiences like that, where I almost turned a book into a DNF, but ended up liking it. I like books like this, with the whole entering dreams and stuff. Idk, I might have to try it. The book, not entering peoples dreams. That would be cool though.
    My recent post Confess by Colleen Hoover

  7. Okay…those names are really weird. I probably shouldn't talk, though, because the MC from my current WIP is named Twig. I wrote the preliminary story a couple of years ago when the name apparently appealed to me, but the story's changed a lot since then, and now I'm thinking I should probably change her name. But it's still there for nostalgic reasons. …And now, I'm rambling.

    ANYWAYS, I think the dream aspect of this book sounds so interesting. But not the albino koalas. Those just seem scary. Scientific explanations actually interest me in books, but they can get to be a little bit too much if they get too lengthy.
    My recent post Fan Month &amp; Mini Hiatus Announcement

    • Hehe, that's actually quite a cute name Ana. The albino koalas were part of nightmares, definitely were pretty weird lol. The only book I've read with good scientific explanations were the ones by Mira Grant.

  8. I want to read it because the premise sounds…interesting and different but at the same time, slow-paced books are a deal-breaker for me because I tend to lose interest and focus quickly. For that reason, I don't know if I'll ever pick this one up but I'm happy that the ending was amazing for you. Great review, Jeann!

    Laquesha @ We're All Bookish Here
    My recent post Making Up For Monday #13: Opinion Changing Books!

  9. 100% agree with everything you said, Jeann. I struggled with this book for the longest time, but I was satisfied with the way things wrapped up.
    " Even the character names were hard to grasp with interchanging male/female names" OMG. THIS! It really bugged me. I don't understand why the author had to go and make an already confusing book even more confusing. I guess the author was trying to spread some sort of message, but she could have done it in some other way, because it was a pain trying to figure out who was who.
    I'm glad you didn't DNF this, Jeann!
    Great review!
    My recent post Review : Becoming Rain by K.A Tucker

    • Oh I know, every time I read the word Josh I kept on picturing a guy, then I would get confused during the romantic scenes haha. It was pretty frustrating like that. Thanks NIck!

  10. thebigfatf

    I can see that you had mixed feelings about this book. The ending was satisfying (kind of), I was more satisfied that it ended. Because it seemed throughout this whole book, I was just waiting for it to end.
    The male/female names bugged and confused me so much! I constantly had to flick back to the character list at the beginning

  11. I feel your pain </3 I read this as well, while I did love the concept – the story was quite boring and slow though .. the plot saved the book for me though! Happy to hear you felt the same 🙂 Lovely review as well. Are you going to continue the series?
    My recent post Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway ♥ Review

    • I know, I wish there were more nightmare sequences you know? I didn't know it was a series, I think this one is a standalone.

  12. Bec

    Those names were a little ridiculous.

    I really wish more time was spent exploring the villains. That would have made the book so much more interesting, because those villains have the potential to be so dark. Either way I'm glad it picked up in the end for you!
    My recent post How to Get New Books Without Spending a Dime

    • Yes, I mean HELP US OUT with those names people :S The villains were definitely interesting, I was actually surprised they weren't as dark as I thought :S

  13. Oooh glad to hear that you continued with it! The same happened to me with Avery, and I ended up enjoying the second half and appreciating the character growth. I find dreams so fascinating because I always have the weirdest dreams – way too many zombie apocalypse dreams where I'm running in the air lol. This sounds like a nice YA version of Nightmare on Elm St haha. Intriguing, but not liking the sound of that slow start and info dumping!

    • Yeah, it's just frustrating cos I've had a few slow reads lately, but I'm glad it picked up int he end. Hahah Joy you and I are alike in those weird zombie dreams! I always have dreams with baddies lol, way too much Walking Dead for us.