book review

Book review: ‘The Dreamer’ by E.J. Mellow (in which I roll my eyes a lot because love triangles, ugh)

25309550The Dreamer. E.J. Mellow. Four Eyed Owl. May 2015.

Molly hasn’t slept well since the night of her twenty-fourth birthday. Being struck by lightning might have something to do with it, but then again, her chicken did look a little undercooked at dinner. Whatever the culprit, her life quickly catapults from mundane to insane as, night after night, Molly is transported through her once dreamless sleep to a mysterious land illuminated by shooting stars.

There she meets the captivating but frustrating Dev, and together they discover Molly possesses a power coveted by his people—the ability to conjure almost anything she desires into existence. Seduced by the possibilities of this gift, Molly shifts her attention from waking life toward the man, the magic, and the world found in her dreams.

But Molly must ask herself—does something truly exist if you only see it when you close your eyes?

Faced with the threat of losing everything—her job, best friend, boyfriend, and most importantly, that little thing called her sanity—Molly will learn just how far she’ll go to uncover what is real and what is merely a figment of her imagination.


I bought The Dreamer last year, and I’d completely forgotten about it until Anne and I were searching for our next Book Club read and noticed it was a mutual book on our TBRs. I was really excited about reading this one, as it’s such an interesting concept, and I’d seen some rave reviews! I still love the concept, but sadly my super-high expectations weren’t met. Remember when I said Anne and I ranted a lot about Red Queen? Well, Red Queen has nothing on this book… haha.

You can read Anne’s awesome review here.

First of all, I’m going to start with the things I did love! I don’t want to be too negative, and I’m going to try to be as constructive as I can. As I mentioned, the concept of this book is all kinds of awesome. I’m really fascinated by dreams, what they mean, whether you can actually control them, why they’re so damn weird, whether eating cheese before bedtime makes them any weirder, etc. etc. When I was younger, I actually genuinely believed (or maybe just wished) that dreamland was a real place you visited in your sleep, and that if you tried hard enough, you could meet up with your friends there each night.

The premise of this book is that a young woman named Molly is struck by lightning. She survives, but following the accident, she starts to experience strange dreams of a place which feels very real. Visiting this dreamland every night, the place starts to feel so real, in fact, that it begins to seem more exciting and important than her real life. She actively tries to spend more time there, even resorting to taking sleeping pills to get herself back there.

I loved the fantasy aspects of this book, but for me there was far too much focus on the romance. This book could have been SO MUCH BETTER if it wasn’t for the insta-love, love triangle, and generally all the annoying romance tropes I’m super-bored of reading about!

The love triangle consisted of Molly, her ‘real life’ boyfriend Jared, and Dev (who I’m gonna call the man of her dreams because that’s where she meets him #badjoke). Jared was a really underdeveloped character for me… he was just a bit boring, and I don’t think I could tell you anything much about him besides the fact that he’s Molly’s boyfriend. Also that he’s super clingy, because when Molly is ill and wants to be left alone, he has a random tantrum and makes it all about him like ‘Why don’t you want to see me?’

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The man of Molly’s dreams, Dev, isn’t much more exciting. I guess he was supposed to be the dangerous option in this love triangle, as Jared is definitely the ‘safe’ option, but he didn’t really have much charisma, and the main thing I can tell you about him is that he has smouldering blue eyes and he makes Molly’s heart flutter basically the first time she lays eyes on him.

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Anne and I had quite a lot of rants about Dev, because he does some rather annoying things in this book. He seems to have a very casual attitude towards putting Molly in danger, and never seems to worry about risking her life. He’s supposed to care about her, but he doesn’t really act that way. Props to Molly that she got just as annoyed with him as we did, though!

Molly herself was more well developed than her love interests, but I still didn’t get a firm sense of her character. She didn’t seem to have any hobbies or interests. Her main hobby seemed to be her boyfriend. There was a best friend character, Becca, but all of their conversations seemed to revolve around men, and I never got to know anything important about their friendship.

This review is getting a bit more ranty than I intended so I’m going to go back to talking about some of the positive things. I didn’t hate this book, honestly, but it just had too many clichés for me to really rate it.

One thing I did love was the mystery surrounding the land of dreams. Everything in Molly’s dreams had this surreal, ethereal quality, and the atmosphere was definitely dreamlike! I loved the way the city was described, and I really felt like I was there. Also, I would really love to GO there, because their main method of transportation is zipwire!

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The world building was well paced, and I liked that we explored only a tiny bit more of the land with each dream, rather than having all of the information chucked at us in one go. I did find myself getting a little bit frustrated with the lack of answers later in the book, mainly because Dev was being so evasive and not acknowledging any of Molly’s questions. I just wanted to shake him! But props to the author because the mystery of it all was very compelling and I really wanted to keep turning those pages to find out what was going on.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, but I felt that the romance was full of clichés, and if a romantic subplot is going to work, I need to feel that chemistry (and it needs to actually BE a subplot, rather than take over the book). I really enjoyed the fantasy side of the novel and the concept, but I think I would have loved it a whole lot more if Molly ditched both of those wet blankets and kicked ass on her own!

Have you read The Dreamer? What did you think of the book?

Image credit: Giphy