Jonas Anderson is a teenager who’s had a recent run of hard luck. His parents are dead, recently killed in a plane crash, and his older brother, Alan, is in a coma after a car crash. Jonas is no ordinary teen, though – he’s also Poet Anderson, a Lucid Dreamer – someone who can walk around in dreams and interact with other dreamers – who’s on the run from REM, an evil being who lives in the Dreamscape. Poets like Jonas are special dreamers; they can guide lost dreamers who accidentally find themselves in the Dreamscape. And REM wants to use Jonas to gain entry into the Waking World, where he can spread his terror net even wider, controlling everyone’s dreams and trapping them in a world of nightmares.
Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares is the first book in a new YA/New Adult series by musician Tom DeLonge, who you may remember from Blink 182, and New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young. Conceived of by DeLonge as a multimedia experience, there’s also a soundtrack, a comic book series, and an prequel animated film, Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, which won Best Animation at the Toronto International Short Film Festival last year. And the animation is truly gorgeous, just take a look:
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares is kind of like The Matrix, but with dreams. We live in two separate realms, but a handful of people can move between the Dreamscape and the Waking World, fighting evil and protecting the rest of us regular dreamers here in the Waking World. Jonas, despite having a brutal run of it recently, deals with his grief, knuckles down to stay in school and hold down a job while learning more about his talents. Jarabec, a Dream Walker who becomes Jonas’ mentor in the Dreamscape, helps keep him safe while educating him and training him for battles to come. Jonas is a likable character who you want to root for; you want this poor kid to catch a break for once.
The characters surrounding Jonas are also vivid, coming off the page and taking up space in your imagination. Jarabec is a gritty, curmudgeonly mentor that you respect and ultimately love. The Dream Walkers – the foot soldiers in this battle – will both irritate and impress, like the antiheroes they kind of are. Night Terrors will make you think about all the crazy times you thought of the monsters in your closet or under your bed and wonder whether you were maybe just a little right after all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this first book, and was very happy with the way DeLonge and Young left a thread for the next book hanging there, dangling, waiting for readers to take the bait.
The first book is available right now, and for more information about the graphic novels, music, and full animated video, check out Tom DeLonge’s website, To the Stars Media. To join the book club community, find out about the director’s cut of the book with rich media content, visit the Eden Hotel Book Club.
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Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares, by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young
Hardcover, 368 pages, $17.99
Publication Date: November 1, 2015
Distributed by Simon & Schuster