dream called time by S.L. Viehl

Cover of dream called time: a StarDoc NovelThis novel got caught up in my blog reorganization and so didn’t even get the quick comments that I’ve previously done on top of my interesting links but that in no way reflects my reaction to the story. dream called time is a bit of a torment for me because I’ve been reading Stardoc since the beginning (though I started a year or two late) and it seems like Cherijo and Reever have been part of my life forever.

My comment as I was reading was this:

I’m zooming my way through dream called time wishing somehow Viehl’s prose was a little less smooth so it would take me longer. This novel is both a culmination and a sorrow since it’s the end of the Stardoc series, one I’ve been enjoying since book one. Without giving anything away since you’ll know in the first paragraph, the old Cherijo is back and Jarn (at least so far) is gone with a few lingering residuals. There are parts that sadden me, but I understand exactly why it has to be this way, which doesn’t make it any easier to take-a clear sign that Viehl has once again sucked me in.

Having finished the novel, my first impression hasn’t changed. Viehl managed to tie up an incredible number of threads to give an unexpected if workable conclusion to the series, and along the way, she had me crying out in horror at what path things seemed to be taking.

You have to understand…I one of those oddballs who fell in love with Duncan Reever from the start, loving him for his struggles and everything that came together to make him into the damaged sociopath that he is. I have a personal connection to his history (as you can tell by reading my site bio (click home at the top of this page the “About Me”), and felt that he’s the reflection of who I could have become…okay, maybe without siding against humanity in a galactic war, but you never know.

This novel is rough on Reever, and as always seems to happen, he makes one or two critical errors, aided by those who wish for a different outcome than I do. I’m not going to tell you what, or how it comes out in the end, but let me tell you that was one of the places where I kept going with despair and hope raging in me.

That may sound melodramatic, but Viehl has the ability to capture a reader, to drag me into her world and absorb me within the pages until I feel what her characters feel.

dream called time is a tear down and recreation. The old Cherijo has returned, but she’s not exactly the same. Discovering how much time the “invader” Jarn has stolen makes time more precious and her focus more on the people around her. This is a harsh reality because while she’s been in stasis, they’ve moved on, leaving her behind.

This is not a comfortable novel. The Stardoc series ends as it has been from the beginning, a blend of personal and universe level conflict, tearing the fabric of the characters along with that of their world. I would not recommend this as a starting point even for people like me who can read series out of order. It is the culmination of the minor conflicts that slipped through the previous novels almost unnoticed only to boil into full clash in this one. It is a farewell, leaving little hope for a future novel in the Stardoc world (though there’s always the hope for extras filling in spaces in the original timeline).

For dedicated readers, this novel offers a reasonable conclusion, though not what we’d come to expect. For new readers, go back and start at the beginning. Learn to love, and hate, these characters, feel the transitions and growth within them as the series grows, and when you reach dream called time, it’ll have been well worth the journey.

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