I finished Dreamhunter and the sequel to it, Dreamquake, almost two weeks ago. Let's see what I can remember. Not that I ever have anything really insightful to say.
My first impression of Dreamhunter was that it was a little hard to understand. I truly was confused at the beginning because I didn't feel like I knew what the author was talking about. I wanted a glossary of terms to explain everything that I didn't fully grasp on my own. A glossary does appear at the end of Dreamquake, so perhaps I'm not the only one who felt that way! Even so, the story was intriguing enough to keep me reading. It got easier to understand, and I thought that book 2 was even better than the first one. I definitely recommend reading Dreamquake afterwards to fully understand the storyline. (You'll want to anyway, just to see what happens!) It definitely ties up all the loose ends.
I thought the characters were really well-written. You definitely got a sense of their personalities, particularly Laura, Rose, and Chorley. Tziga and Grace seemed to me a bit more mysterious, and perhaps that was the intent, since those two are the most famous dreamhunters. And I thought "the Place" was great. Although I still sometimes wonder about dreams outside of "the Place." It's mentioned that Laura has regular dreams. Do other people as well? I'm assuming they do and that the main difference between regular dreams and those caught in "the Place" is the ability to share them. It must be similar to watching a movie only while you're asleep. So a dream palace or opera would be similar to going to a movie theater only you have a bed to sleep in, and instead of a big screen there's just another person on another bed projecting the "movie." Isn't that a compelling idea? To be able to dream something that originated with someone else? I'm sure almost everyone has had a dream that they tell other people about. What if you could show them the dream? I think that would be pretty neat. On the other hand, I've had a few that I hope no one finds out about too!
I'm not sure that there is much more I can say without spoilers, particularly for Dreamquake. So if you haven't read them, I suggest you stop here.
You knew that something was up when Tziga was acting so strangely and trying to make sure that Laura remembered the songs he had taught her from her a young age. So when he disappeared and she was left on her own to figure them out, I wondered if she would be able to do it. Laura is more enterprising than I initially thought, so I was a little surprised when she went to Aunt Marta for help learning the songs instead of just trying to make a small living as a dreamhunter. Her tendency to have nightmares probably discouraged that a little bit, though. After realizing how determined a person she was, I wasn't surprised when she found the note from her father and decided to actually try to follow the request he made of her.
The Sandman, Nown, is one of my favorite parts of the book. I love the idea of how he is made and how he can be changed by just a letter - take away the first N and he becomes free, OWN; take away the W and he becomes NON and stops existing. And I liked the idea of how he was tied to her family, that other versions of him had existed to help other members of her family, and how he seems to evolve with each version of himself.
As for Dreamquake, I was surprised that "the Place" was a Nown all on it's own. I was even more surprised that it was created by Laura's son, Lazarus, and that all of the dreams stemmed from him. It had been mentioned in Dreamhunter and throughout Dreamquake that the dreams seemed to be taking place in the future. But in reality, they were taking place in the past. Confusing, huh? How strange it must have been for Laura to meet her yet-to-be-born son when he was an adult and she had, in his experience, already passed away. The magic of "the Place" covered a lot of things!
I really loved the ending of the duet. I thought the author did a great job illustrating how our actions don't just affect us but have a ripple effect in so many directions. Lazarus's choices changed the way his mother's and grandfather's lives turned out (along with everyone else who lived in that world); Laura's choices changed the lives of everyone in her present and, eventually, future when she erased "the Place." We can't change what happened in the past like Lazarus does, but our choices can make a difference in our own futures and in the lives of the people around us. Laura's choice to get rid of the Place even changed Lazarus's life. I thought the ending was really well done. And, while I always had a suspicion that Sandy didn't die and was simply being help captive by Cas Doran and his henchmen, I was relieved when he did turn out to be alive and could be with Laura.
Okay, this was a much longer post than I had anticipated. Hopefully someone else will have read both books. I'd like to know what other people thought!