Sunday, July 6, 2014

#AudioBook Review: Reaper of Dreams by Debra Holland - 4 Wine Glasses

21596081Title: Reaper of Dreams
Series: Gods' Dream Trilogy #2
Author: Debra Holland
Format: Audiobook/ebook
Published: August 8th 2011 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN: 139780983579236
Narrated by: Noah Michael Levine
Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
Links: Goodreads | Kindle | Audio | B&N
Source: Author
Reviewer: Linda
Rating: 4/5

Kidnapped from Earth, Jasmine was rescued by the goddess, Withea, and sent to the shadowy land where the god, Arvintor, is imprisoned. Jasmine’s interaction with the long-forgotten god helps restore his power.

Prince Indaran has been enslaved to Ontarem for 14 years. The evil god siphons Indaran’s psychic energy to enhance his own powers. With the help of Arvintor, Jasmine is able to free Indaran and the other slaves, and the two strike a blow crippling Ontarem’s influence. But the couple and the rest of the slaves are not out of danger. They still need to escape Ontarem’s country before the god recovers and they are recaptured.

Across the sea, Princess Daria and her new mate, Khan Laenser, must find a way to turn their enemies into allies. If all of the warring countries and their gods don’t join forces, Ontarem will overpower them all.


***This review is for the audible version of REAPER OF DREAMS***

REAPER OF DREAMS by Debra Holland is a fascinating addition to her Gods' Dream Trilogy.  A magically original romantic sci-fi, it picks up where the first book in the series, SOWER OF DREAMS, left off.  However, the author fills in background information via flashbacks so the second book could be enjoyed as a standalone if that's your preference.  Even though I had listened to the preceding book, I actually picked up additional tidbits in the flashbacks so the flashes-from-the-past weren't boring in the least.   I highly recommend reading SOWER OF DREAMS first just because it's a fantastic story on its own, but even though there are interconnected characters, it's truly not absolutely necessary to read the series in order to thoroughly enjoy REAPER OF DREAMS.

REAPER OF DREAMS is the story of Crown Prince Indaran and Jasmine Karzai. We are introduced to both thusly:

"Indaran, crown prince of Seagem, lay immobilized on a vast alter-like slab in the center of Ontarem's temple, the Evil God's mental tentacles enmeshed with his mind.  Ontarem fed on Indaran's memories, greedily gnawing off chunks of emotion.  Then He cracked them apart like a bone, sucking out the marrow of the prince's life essence."
"Jasmine Karzai emerged from the dark tunnel leading away from her shattered life, walking into the gray land of her vision.   In front of her, stubby trees with thick trunks the color of new cement laced tangled branches overhead, dangling leaves like pewter coins that tinkled as they fluttered in the breeze."

They were star crossed lovers from different worlds, mesmerizing characters that pulled at my heartstrings.  Each had experienced terrible traumas and suffered horribly.  Yet they were each charismatic and so inspirational.  Induran was phenomenal;  His exploration dream was shattered when he was captured by Ontarem, but he never gave up, holding on to his fighting spirit for an unbelievably long time all while being dreadfully tortured.   Both Indaran and Jasmine were strong of character and in "other sense" powers and their compassion for others motivated them to rise above their ordeals.  Would fate allow them a future together?  Would there even be a future for any of them?

REAPER OF DREAMS, indeed this whole series, is much more than a romance.  It's a captivating tale of complex cultures, good versus evil warring gods, and incredibly breathtaking worlds.  It's a bold good versus evil mythological tale of heroism, as timeless as the sand in an hourglass and an illustration of the impending consequences of the ever-present.

It was a rush to have favorite characters from the first book, Khan Laenser, and Princess Daria of Seagem, figure prominently in this tale.  One of my favorite scenes was the re-uniting of brother and sister in the evil god's temple culminating a long journey that began in the first book.  I almost cried when they finally embraced.  Supporting characters are well-drawn.  I especially look forward to reading more of the Chetowah Indians.
I am very happy that Noah Michael Levine returned as the narrator.  I had begun listening to audio books in March of this year and the first book in this trilogy was actually my first audio with a male narrator.  At first, it was disconcerting, but, after a few chapters in that book, I developed a true appreciation of his voice.  As was true for SOWER OF DREAMS, Michael doesn't read the story, he performs it.  His voice was very clear and he raised and lowered his tone and inserted pauses and needed emotions at the appropriate times.   He continued to do a great job capturing the essence of the characters and differentiating between them.  I could feel the tension, fear, relief, and longings in his voice.  I'm very glad that he will continue narrating this trilogy; he is working on the third book, HARVEST OF DREAMS, now.   I would definitely pick up other books that he has narrated in the future.

Bottomline:  With a solidly crafted plot, well-defined, genuine characters and crisp storytelling, this series continues to excite and excel.  REAPER OF DREAMS is a very enjoyable combination of sci-fi and romance.  As in the previous book, there's a very satisfying ending combined with a cliffhanger that leads into the next book.  I look forward to listening to the final epic installment, HARVEST OF DREAMS, which will decide the fate of all!

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