There comes a point where you are no longer toying with your readers by withholding information. I’m afraid Dream Alchemy not only surpassed that point, but it excelled in aggravating me as a reader. The only reason I kept reading past twenty pages was because I was given a copy for free, and felt I had to try give it a fair shot.
I can assure you that the first chapters do the novel no justice. They are scattered, spattered with over-complicated words, and overall, not enjoyable to read. On top of that, it seemed to me that the first pages were all single sentence pages (/exaggeration). There were way to many fragmented sentences for comfort.Things do quiet down when we actually get a story to follow, but it’s so interspersed with random side-stories that are supposed to be all trance-dream like, but it comes off as so fragmented, you can’t even see the mirror through the broken shards.
I did like the story. Let me rephrase: I liked the fantasy story. I didn’t like the one or two instances where we were taken from that fantasy story and forced into some neo-futuristic world with space-travel, and a dominating class of android-Nazis. Why didn’t I like them? Because we didn’t actually see anything from them. A few nude cyberpunk droids here or there, but nothing concrete. There was nothing there to make me say: I can’t wait until we see more from this section. Nope.
The dartboard theory really shows through in this case… It’s like, let’s take the most random things, combine them into a science-fiction story, and then schlep them into a fantasy novella. But without actually making a cohesive story stick them all together. I’m all in favor of a science-fiction-fantasy-neo-Nazi-alternate-Earth mashup, but if it’s not done right, it’s not done right. And in my opinion, this is not done right.
Now I’m usually really soft on fragmented stories. Hell, my first novel is quasi-fragmented. But like I said, it gets to a point where you can’t even see the mirror through the shards. We hit that point, and went way beyond that here.
My advice, since I believe this to be a self-published book. Expand it. This was short; nigh over a novella at 200 pages. Double that, at least.
Figure out what you want to happen, then write it out. Because it reads to me like a car with no driver, and a brick holding down the accelerator. Figure out how the different plots will intermingle and actually explain that to your readers, because for the life of me, just saying that one character is dreaming about the other doesn’t quite cover it.
I received this book for free through Goodreads Firstreads.
As of November 7th, 2015, I am now reading Dream Alchemy by Nicholas Boyd Crutchley.
Here is part of the blurb from its Goodreads page.
On stealing the dreams of an old warrior and priestess, Chaos discovers them to be essential ingredients for his dream alchemy. With their souls the dark god can control Sol, Dragonland’s angelic ruler, and release his wanton daughter, Babalon, from Hell. If the devil queen returns and swallows the angel’s soul, the veil separating reality from the pitch Abyss will tear, and Chaos will pour forth and warp reality. Can Sol defeat Chaos? Or will Babalon’s poison kiss seduce him?
PC: Pixabay user tookapic