From Rebecca Ross, acclaimed author of The Queen’s Rising duology, comes a story about magic, vengeance, and the captivating power of dreams. A must-read for fans of The Hazel Wood and The Night Circus.
The realm of Azenor has spent years plagued by a curse. Every new moon, magic flows from the nearby mountain and brings nightmares to life. Only magicians—who serve as territory wardens—stand between people and their worst dreams.
Clementine Madigan is ready to take over as the warden of her small town, but when two magicians arrive to challenge her, she is unknowingly drawn into a century-old conflict. She seeks revenge, but as she gets closer to Phelan, one of the handsome young magicians, secrets—as well as romance—begins to rise.
To fight the realm’s curse, which seems to be haunting her every turn, Clementine must unite with her rival. But will their efforts be enough to save Azenor from the nightmares that lurk around every corner?
What I Enjoyed
I absolutely loved this fantasy story. The world-building in Dreams Lie Beneath is so immersive from page 1 that you don’t even realize it is a fantasy world. It feels just as real as the one we live in. I loved how evocative and sumptuous this world is with its fairytale quality and the nightmares walking among the inhabitants. The magic system is original and intriguing, with three different styles of magic. Metamara magic is a form of magic that studies the transformations and adaptations of nature and objects. Avertana magic is the logical and practical branch that emphasizes defense and Deviah, creating enchanted objects. Magic and magic wielders rose up in response to the need to protect the population from nightmares.
This unique story has shocking twists and turns that keep the pages turning faster and faster. I never expected any of them. I was so enchanted by the story as it unfolded that it never even occurred to me to try to guess the plot before it developed. And many of those twists are absolutely jaw-dropping, especially the one at the end. That ending took me on a roller coaster of emotions that I still haven’t recovered from.
I’m a sucker for an enemies-to-lovers story, and this one didn’t disappoint. The romance felt destined, like the pair couldn’t have fought it or changed it no matter what came to pass. The seeds of love were spread in every exchange so that, even though Clem didn’t realize what her heart was telling her, the reader could see the inevitability of what was to come.
The characters are all so intricately developed, with many hiding behind a magical facade. Usually, that would make character development challenging, but it feels effortless and divinely natural in this story. The theme of appearance versus reality plays out in delightful ways as the truth always has a way of coming out, keeping the suspense at a high pitch throughout the story
Reminds Me Of
This story is refreshingly original and creative, so it doesn’t remind me of anything I have read or watched.
Clem is a delightfully willful, intelligent, and admirable main character. The story is told from her perspective, and I loved that. She is a character that I was happy to see the world through and wouldn’t have changed that for any other perspective. She is a relatable character at her core and a natural-born leader who carries the reader and influences those around her with ease and determination.
What I Wish
I love that this is a stand-alone fantasy, but at the same time, I would love to know how this world turns out after all the changes that take place in the story. I would happily follow Clem through the next stage of her life and cheer her on through whatever challenge is next. Life always has a way of presenting challenge after challenge, even when it looks like the characters have achieved their happily ever after.
To Read or Not to Read
If you are ready to be swept away to the most fantastic adventure you could ever imagine, then you must pick up this book and be thankful that you did. This is a stunning example of a fantasy story that you can lose yourself in willingly and thoroughly.