Dreamwander

In The Ruins of Eden Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - General
307 Pages
Reviewed on 05/10/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

For fans of fantasy, Dreamwander, the first book of In the Ruins of Eden series by Kildare will be the perfect escape from the doldrums of life. Eighty-six-year-old Cillian Rysgaard has just been given the most heartbreaking diagnosis of his life and he is certain that the end is very near for him. But when he walks out of the doctor’s office, shocked and disoriented, he finds himself in a very strange world, and in the prime of his youth. The adventure begins when he decides to steal a powerful sword to fight a dragon. Things don’t turn out the way he wanted and he ends up releasing a prisoner who claims to be a god, and who is about to unleash the most horrible war amongst the gods, a war that could destroy the entire creation. Follow Cillian in this adventure as he battles his way through dragons and wild beasts and creatures of myth, as well as a technology he’s never known, in an alternate life to stop a powerful and mischievous god.

Kildare is a terrific writer and Dreamwander accomplishes what the works of Rick Riordan do for fans of mythology and epic fantasy. There is an eeriness in the setting that is evocative, and the fast-paced plot is highly imaginative, filled with surprising turns. The writing is impeccable. I was pulled in by the vivid descriptions. The author transitions with ease from the world we know to a dreamland, making readers feel as though they were dreaming, and taking them on a rollicking ride through exotic landscapes. The setting is beautifully captured in the prose and there are passages that will arrest readers' imaginations and make them visualize places as well as scenes. The author makes you feel as if you are part of the setting with descriptions like the narrowed path: “...the ferns hedged in. The cedars also leaned closer, and the moss shifted from yellow to dark green.” This is a deeply satisfying read and I give it a 5-star rating on all levels.

Lit Amri

Dreamwander (In the Ruins of Eden, Book One) by Kildare is a story about Cillian Rysgaard, a dying 86-year-old dementia patient. He visits his doctor’s office in North Dakota, but walks out and finds himself in another world, 50 years younger and healthy. The strange place is the empire of Siderea, and Cillian is prophesied as the champion that will kill a dragon called Red Ruin, one that has terrorized the land. First, he must steal Anbhás or Violent Death, a dwarf’s sword forged to kill dragons. However, his quest becomes harder when he’s tricked into releasing a prisoner who claimed to be the god Loki. Cillian soon finds out that there are many obstacles that he has to face before even attempting to slay the dragon.

The Irish mythology and folklore in the story concept and premise are prevalent right from the beginning. Apart from the real world, the world-building is also a mix of Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology-perhaps a dash of Western with the way the protagonist dressed-filled with fantasy beings of dwarfs, dragons, old gods, biblical angels and much more. The plot has more facets and depth than I expected, with themes such as mortality, love, familial bonds, good versus evil, and deception, just to name a few. There are some slow parts in the narrative and it took a while for me to relate to Cillian, but the storytelling is solid. All in all, the combination of various aspects in Kildare’s Dreamwander can be overwhelming at times, but it’s uniquely imaginative and has an interesting concept.

A. L. Peevey

In Dreamwander, The Ruins of Eden Book 1, the author, Kildare, introduces us to retired professor Cillian Rysgaard, aged eighty-six, and suffering from both dementia and dying. Yet, as he leaves his doctor’s office, he finds himself in his prime again, in a far-off alien city, being hailed as a hero for deeds he does not remember performing by people he does not recognize, nor is he left alone to rest on his laurels. Carried off to find a matchless blade to kill a ferocious dragon, he is diverted to still another clime and fooled into releasing the Father of Guile himself, Loki! Is it all a dream wonders Cillian, as archangels and other mythic beings tell him otherwise, hoping to enlist his unwilling help in stemming the spread of Loki’s chaos through his main disciple, Satan, across many worlds of the universe. Cillian’s shifts in time and place leave us breathless and wondering if he will ever embrace his heroic destiny.

With an intertwining of Norse and Irish mythology and Christianity, Kildare’s fast-paced Dreamwander whisks us along with Cillian, who speaks four languages, from one scene to another, varying from battles against fierce creatures in which he wields his legendary sword, to tender scenes from childhood with parents or siblings long dead, and to conversations regarding the purpose of life and its experiences. Peopled by characters who often seem familiar but are portrayed in a refreshing way, Kildare’s story is an imaginative adventure tale both exhilarating and introspective, not only for Cillian Rysgaard, but for us as well. I found some of the descriptive writing to be especially evocative: "They changed course at a shallow stream silently winding through a wide trough of denser, shorter pines. The gloom of shadow cloaked the woods, a sulking slate sky in the gaps above." Great read! I found the author's knowledge of linguistics and mythology a plus to the storytelling. We look forward to more from Kildare.

Ruffina Oserio

There couldn't be a better introduction to In the Ruins of Eden series than Dreamwander by Kildare, a book with great appeal to fans of epic fantasy and stories with mythological characters. An eighty-six-year-old man has just been given a diagnosis that sounds like a death sentence. Upon exiting the doctor’s office, he finds himself in a very strange world. He thought he was dreaming, but he soon finds out that he is in his thirties, strong and full of energy.

He sets out to kill a dragon with a magical stolen sword and unintentionally releases a prisoner who turns out to be a god. This god is determined to start a devastating war among his peers and if Cillian Rysgaard doesn’t find and stop the god, the entire world could just be destined for the worst form of destruction. The adventure takes the protagonist along a dangerous path filled with hideous creatures of legend, powerful enemies, and dragons. Can Cillian find and stop the rascally god before it’s too late?

I think the most compelling element of this novel lies in the eerie setting. Dreamwander by Kildare succeeds in making readers feel as though they were living in a dream with a character while being realistic. The world building is awesome and the author paints landscapes and settings that readers will delight in. I loved the wonderful prose, which is filled with vivid descriptions. What will also appeal to readers are the memorable characters and the sophisticated plot. I devoured every bit of the crisp prose and could not help but be swept along in the fast-paced plot. I'll be looking out for the next book in the series.

K.J. Simmill

The diagnosis had been both expected and a shock. Dementia. Cillian had suspected for some time that his mind had been betraying him, hadn't he? With this label under his belt, though, he found slipping into the strange reality much easier. Gone were the wrinkles, the aches, the pains. In their stead was a quest, a mission to slay Red Ruin, a dragon. He was welcomed as a hero, said to have served this land before, but he couldn’t remember ever doing so. A world of angered gods, dragons, swords, and the tapestry of myths didn't seem like too bad a place to wither away into obscurity, and at least his final days would be full of excitement. But what if this was real, what if he really was some place where he could be young again, and really had inadvertently freed a god hell-bent on destroying all? Is Cillian truly an ancient hero reawakened, or is this his sanity's last hooray? Unravel the tale, join the adventure in Kildare's Dreamwander.

Dreamwander is the first book in Kildare's In the Ruins of Eden series. Any book dealing with a step between worlds or realities has to be tightly crafted and clear in order not to confuse the reader, and this seamless transition is well executed. There is a surreal element to the settings, and the play on the diagnosis of dementia - the shifting perspective, faded memories or those which may not even have existed - is expertly woven in to keep the reader wondering whether Cillian has just embraced a delusion, or is in fact living a new, younger life in an eerie, surreal, and magical setting in which he seems destined to be the hero, or at least central to the tale. These scenes are vividly crafted, and from the first page you are struck by a fast moving plot designed to keep the reader slightly off balance throughout. Be prepared for some interesting twists, unexpected developments, and great characters.