Storm Dreams is a completely surreal book. I thought I’d grown past my surreal phase because now I seek out stories, and story structure doesn’t mesh well with surreal. Nor does it in this novel where things change at the blink of an eye and logic is out the window. But this story doesn’t rest on the structure. It depends on the heart and soul of the characters for a foundation.
This is how the book sucked me in.
The story might have wandered without a goal, but John Cassidy, the main character, did not. Most of the characters, including Cassidy, are dream people, but Cassidy wants to be more than just a fragment, and his hopes and dreams are what hold the narrative together even when reality itself is in question.
Cassidy struggles with his state of being in a way none of the other dream people do. He’s a construct dreamed up by a real person, but thanks to Captain Banner (a dream person unlike any others we meet), he’s sprung free of the Everdream and now wanders in the place between reality and dream called Twilight. Banner is Cassidy’s captain and guide in the Twilight and even the real world, a place they can visit only because the energy of storms keeps them together.
But it’s more complicated than that as Cassidy discovers because he’s not willing just to be. He needs to explore, to understand, and to collect explanations. Cassidy is the glue in the tale, always questioning, always reaching beyond his grasp, and yet willing to risk it all for his friends.
This is a powerful narrative that explores the questions of personhood, dreams, and the meaning of real. I almost quit in the beginning because I couldn’t see the shape of the story, but I’m happy I didn’t. Don’t think this is all philosophy with no action, though. Things happen, good and bad things. There’s both suggestive and mature content. The sensory details are wonderful as well, but the power is in Cassidy’s search for definition through the trials he faces.
Storm Dreams is not for everyone, but for the right reader, it’s stellar.
P.S. I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.