#20BooksOfSummer 1 – The Dreamsnatcher Abi Elphinstone

#20BooksOfSummer is an annual event hosted by Cathy Brown of 746 Books and runs from 3rd June until 3rd September With the aim to clearing a target of 5, 10 or 20 books from your TBR but with very relaxed and fun rules.
Here is my joining post & List!

Illustration by Thomas Flintham

Moll has nightmares and wakes in the forest having sleptwalked her way out of the gypsy camp she has lived her whole life.

However, this night she and her wildcat Gryff are intending to steal away to Skull’s camp and take back her horse. But in the adventure Secrets are unveiled which change everything and life will never be the same again.

Natural Magic
Woodland Setting
Dark Forces
Romany inspired community

I loved the gypsy camp woodland setting, the concept of real natural magic and the chosen one narrative. The immersion and respect for the natural world and offerings and speaking to spirits of water, Earth, trees and more appeals to my Faery heart.

The romance of the Gypsy camp with its strong communal and family feel is strong with touches here and there about particularly Romany ways which was a lovely touch throughout making it clear the strengths and values of the community.

The darker parts with Skull, his gang and the terrible magic of the Shadowmasks are full of tension and tightly written for pace and to keep the reader feeling like they are with Moll, not quite knowing what is going on but knowing they are in danger.

Moonlight spilled in through the crack in her shutters and Moll could just make out one if the Sacred Oaks that formed a ring of ancient wood around the colourful wagons.
Oak stood up and closed the shutters tight. ‘ Some things are just too dark for night, Moll.’

However, and I feel awful for saying this- because it’s the first book in a trilogy, it has a far more restrictive word count, it’s holding back a lot for the other two books and it’s Abi’s debut so whilst wonderful and creative it’s understandably not as gobsmackingly amazing as Rumblestar but it’s still a gorgeous read and clearly has the flame of storycraft that will become The Unmapped Chronicles.

Mea Culpa. In the end I popped a couple of short books with the Fae in between Rumblestar and continuing Dreamsnatcher because I needed a little detachment.

Dreamsnatcher is REALLY good but there understandably is a lot of growth between Abi Elphinstone’s debut and latest release, the glory that is Rumblestar was still in my mind whilst reading, but was never a disappointment.

This is in no way a criticism or a negative review, it’s actually testament to how fantastic Elphinstone is as a writer to have SUCH an enjoyable and imaginative debut and also to grow from there.

The DreamSnatcher by Abi Elphinstone is published by Simon & Schuster

8 thoughts on “#20BooksOfSummer 1 – The Dreamsnatcher Abi Elphinstone

  1. Sorry if you get this twice. The first comment I left is clearly lost in the ether…
    You know I absolutely loved this trilogy, but I can totally understand – you can really see how Rumblestar has grown from this, and reading this off the back of Rumblestar can see why it wouldn’t have quite the same effect.
    Will you read the rest of the trilogy do you think, or just wait for her next new release?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I will read the others! I really liked it.
      I love the concept, setting, the culture that Moll is immersed in, there was just a… ‘woollyness’ is the only word I can really grasp to some sections especially the beginning chapters that Abi has overcome in her writing since, and the fact it’s not as self-contained has a factor too.
      The brightest and clarity of Rumblestar is totally honed off the back of her other writing as it’s clearly here it’s just like watching an artist grow across the pages. As I said it’s not a criticism or negative review- without this Rumblestar wouldn’t have had the freedom to fly.


  2. I am very much the unpopular opinion with this, but I never got into this trilogy- I DNF this one the first couple of times I tried it and I never continued with it. I really enjoyed both Sky Song and Rumblestar though!
    Amy x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s definitely a difference between this and the later work and I wondered if it was me. I love the ideas, there’s just a ‘woolliness’ that has been sharpened up in later writing. It’s totally understandable that growth will occur, and it’s pretty amazing how quick that growth has been.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I totally understand the thing you mean!! I’m so glad it’s not just me who feels it. I’ve always felt awful for not clicking with it, because I can appreciate it’s a good book but I just didn’t connect with it at all 🙈


  3. I have this one, but haven’t gotten to it yet. I have heard it’s not as strong as her later work but I’m def going to give it a try. It sounds pretty cool and the cover is to die for. I always look forward to your reviews – you add to my middle-grade tbr so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, that really means a lot to me to hear. I’m still going to read the other two in the trilogy as I love the concepts but Rumblestar is certainly a masterpiece


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