Thursday, July 8, 2010

Alphabet of Dreams Review (Susan Fletcher)

Synopsis: Mitra and her little brother, Babak, are beggars in the city of Rhagae, scratching out a living as best as they can with what they can beg for - or steal. But Mitra burns with hope and ambition, for she and Babak are not what they seem. They are of royal blood, but their father's ill-fated plot against the evil tyrant, King Phraates, has resulted in their father's death and their exile. Now disguised as a boy, Mitra has never given up believing they can rejoin what is left of their family and regain their rightful standing in the world.

Then they discover that Babak has a strange gift: If he sleeps with an item belonging to someone, he can know that person's dreams. Mitra believes that they can use this gift to find passage back to the city of Palmyra and their remaining kinsmen. But soon Babak and his abilities come to the attention of a powerful Magus - one who has read portents in the stars of the coming of a new king and the dawn of a new age. Soon Mitra and Babak find themselves on the road to Bethlehem.

I really was not expecting this story to be very good. I was expecting it to be downright weird. Twists on the Christmas story tend to be. But Alphabet of Dreams actually wasn't! Granted, it did have a small sense of weirdness - any story having to do with dreams will. But it tied in well with the Magi and the journey to Bethlehem. I was pleasantly surprised.

Mitra is a character that one can get frustrated with very easily. She's a good character and cares for Babak in a sisterly fashion that would make anyone like her. But her constant desire to escape and go to Palmyra grows annoying. She's bad at planning escapes and so it always goes wrong for her. She's one of those characters that always makes the same stupid mistake and never learns. But apart from that, Mitra isn't entirely unbearable. And Babak is just too adorable and sweet.

My favorite character, though, was Giv. The exact moment he stepped into the story, I liked him. Giv conserves his words, watches out for Mitra and Babak diligently, and is just overall an awesome character. I really liked him; the exact sort of character I absolutely love to put into my own stories. As a Reader, I trusted him right off and was irritated with Mitra for not feeling the same way. Giv made the story worth reading.

Susan Fletcher's writing style really shone in this story. The only irritating aspect in it is a very minor one. There was one character - Koosha - who is fairly minor and he's not in it for long. But he often uses the word "savage" to describe something awesome. Like "savagely soft wool." It felt like a replacement for the modern phrase "wickedly good." It felt very out of place. But, again, Koosha isn't in the story much, so it's a minor annoyance.

Overall Rating: {{{{


  1. This sounds rather strange but interesting. I don't know if I'll ever read it, but thanks for writing the review! I love reading your reviews.

  2. Thank you. I'm glad I can be of service to people who are looking for good books (and trying to avoid bad ones).

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