Book Review: Dreaming Your Dream by Starwing

Dreaming Your Dream: Book One of Machine Dreaming by [Starwing, Melinda Maria Lack]

For some reason, this year I’ve had several books involving machines, potentially dystopian futures, and proper AIs cross my desk. It is, generally, a topic that I enjoy quite a lot, and Dreaming Your Dream by Starwing reminded me of why.

1. Thoughts on the plot

This book follows John, an electronic repair person in the distant future, where people have to wear gas masks outside, their lives are run by AI, and they take a special supplement to remove any emotions during the day. Their AI moderated dreams, as such, become the only place where they can feel the full range of human emotion. But John has a secret; he still feels a measure of emotions during the day, and he may not be the only one. 

The plot stars of relatively small stakes, with John’s focus being narrow on himself. This changes throughout the book, and was done in such a way that felt absolutely natural and intriguing, eventually making the stakes immeasurably large. The day-time plot was interspersed with dream sequences, which initially did not seem to have a bearing on the story, but soon became integral. I cannot say a whole lot, but the plot twist at the end, where things take that extra step and begin to change, really made the whole story, I think. Everything up to it was interesting, but that piece at the end was enough to launch the story into excellence. 

2. Thoughts on the characters

Generally speaking, I found it a bit difficult to sympathise with John and the other characters at the beginning of the book. I think part of the initial difficulty was that the characters were written to have little to no emotions during the day. This was done exceptionally well, with the dream sequences interspersed throughout feeling almost like a different story. The further the book progressed, however, the more interesting and relatable I found John, and the other characters. I think the prose actually highlighted the discrepancy between daytime and nighttime emotional states, and while it takes a bit to get into a very flat, emotionless world, the end result really makes the characters shine. I think the only one that did not quite fit that mold was Kira, but we see very little of her after a bit, and again, that makes sense.

3. Favourite part

The ending was definitely my favourite. The whole situation there really sold the book for me, and I really enjoyed how it turned out. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you much more about that, but I can say that I found it absolutely fascinating and even if there are no more books in the series (though I think there will be), the book did really well with ending things perfectly.

4. Critique

The only part that I think didn’t necessarily fit the story for me were the illustrations. It was interesting to see the illustrations reflect the story, and if it were a different form of book, or even a video or graphic novel, I think they would have done really well. But I’m not used to reading books of that level accompanied by illustrations and I think that threw me off just enough to pull me out of the story and make me realise I was reading a book rather than being immersed in one. Granted, I like the illustrations; they were done very well. And this is more of a personal preference than anything, so it’s not really a relevant critique on the story or the book. So if that sort of thing does not bother you, then this will be absolutely no problem at all. And even if you’re like me, and it’s a bit out of the ordinary, I think the story was good enough to make this critique irrelevant.

Overall, Dreaming Your Dream was a book that grew on me more than I expected. I like th story, and the concept is fascinating. The characters started out simply being characters in a book, but in the end, they were wonderful representations of potential, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. A very good book.