Steggie Belle & the Dream Warriors

Young Adult - Fantasy - General
386 Pages
Reviewed on 06/18/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Elias Pell is a London-born poet, writer, and Lucid Dreamer, whose unusual life experiences shaped and stoked his creativity: a style reflected in his work.

Disguised as an adult (children have somehow always been able to see through this facade) Elias left England in 2016 and never looked back. Since then, he has won AudioArcadia’s International Short Story Competition (2018), and in March 2020, published a collection of short stories for adults, entitled Scapegoats & Crowbars.

Steggie Belle & the Dream Warriors, published on Summer Solstice 2020, is Elias's debut novel and was recently awarded as a Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards within the Fantasy category. He is currently seeking representation and working on the Sequel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

Steggie Belle & the Dream Warriors by Elias Pell had me spellbound, a fantasy tale with characters that will stay in the minds of readers long after the last page is turned. No exaggeration here! It explores the realm where reality and fantasy merge. It is told by Zoofall, a quirky character with a strong and captivating voice. During a raging storm, he knows that something sinister is happening, so shutting himself up in the attic and with just seven candles, he sets to work on writing his secrets—unsure if both adults and young readers can even understand. He has been experiencing lucid dreams as a child, but they were more than dreams. They were a world he could step into and explore and, curiously, he has the innate ability to control his own dreams. In this story, he shares what happened when he discovered other dreamers and they set out to explore this “real-fantasy” world. But what happened to Steggie Belle is the mystery he must unravel, and as the darkness thickens and time runs out with enemies becoming stronger, can he and his friends rely on his skills to save Steggie or will she be their ultimate hope?

This is one of those books that you read and want to read again and again; then you find it hard to talk about it because it offers such a transporting experience that should only be lived. Words fall short when I try to describe my experience with Elias Pell’s characters. The world-building is fantastic and it offers a perfect escape for fans of epic fantasy. The conflict is intelligently written and I adored the way the author uses “time” to create a strong sense of urgency in the action that punctuates the narrative. The seven candles, for instance, constitute a symbol of fleeting time. The protagonist and his companions have a lot to accomplish, but time is always against them. Steggie Belle & the Dream Warriors will delight fantasy fans of different ages and the strong narrative voice casts a spell that is irresistible.

Saifunnissa Hassam

Elias Pell's novel Steggie Belle & the Dream Warriors is a Young Adult fantasy about a group of children, the Freedivers, for whom the dream world is as real as the waking world. Zoofall discovers as a young boy that he can create his own epic adventures in his dreams. Zoofall is now 44, and he writes of the incredible dream world that he experienced as a young boy. When he is 10, he meets Steggie Belle and her Freediver warriors, children like him, in their dream world Treetop city. Steggie Belle, their leader, is about 13 years old. She mentors and trains the Freedivers to go on missions in the dream world. As Zoofall learns, the dream world is complex, with mythological figures, witches, shapeshifters, wolf-men, good and evil entities, and ancient artifacts. When a mission turns dangerous, Zoofall discovers his own rare and exceptional talents. The story is action-packed with twists and turns to the very end.

I particularly enjoyed reading Elias Pell's Steggie Belle & the Dream Warriors for its adventurous and courageous Freedivers, and the intriguing storyline of the dream world as a real world. I was hooked into the story right from the start, as I pictured Zoofall writing furiously about his dream world experience before the last of his seven candles splutters out. I loved the highly imaginative world-building of the dream world, evoking vividly its mystery, magic, and horrors. I thought Steggie Bell's dramatization of how she entered the dream world and how the Freediver group got started was fantastic. I liked the gradual revelation of Zoofall's story and character through missions and ferocious battles. I felt the most gripping moments were the life-threatening situations when Steggie and Zoofall each have to make hard and courageous choices. And I liked the trust and friendship that develops between Zoofall and Steggie. A fantastic fantasy of courage and friendships, of the Freedivers who fight evil entities that threaten the dream and waking worlds!

Vincent Dublado

Seven candles are all that Zoofall has with him to light on one stormy night as he tells the story of his secrets. This is how Elias Pell’s Steggie Belle & the Dream Warriors begins. Zoofall has locked himself into that bleak room and finds reason to fear a mirror that he has covered with a bedsheet. With every drop of melting wax, he is pressed for time to tell his story. During his childhood, he stumbles upon the existence of a fantastic world that you can only find in your dreaming state. It is also during this time that he becomes aware of what is happening. Zoofall encounters other dreamers calling themselves the Freedivers. They teach him important lessons that humankind has long forgotten. As he is experiencing what transcends lucid dreaming, Zoofall tries to make sense of whether his ability is a curse or a gift. And as dark forces are on the rise and threaten what their group stands for, he needs to find out more about the enigma surrounding their leader, the powerful Steggie Belle. Will he be able to finish his story before the seven candles run out?

I found Steggie Belle & the Dream Warriors exciting and rather intelligent. I would want to experience something that goes beyond the limits of lucid dreaming, and stay there to escape from the humdrum of my conscious existence. Elias Pell is a brilliant visual writer and his narrative possesses that same dreamlike quality that should be inherent when you are taking your audience to a panoramic dream world. He gives his characters an appearance and personality that is distinctive and original and not rehashes of familiar young adult fiction heroes. The story is enchanting in its eerie way, and it develops an intriguing plot that evolves as you read along. As for the ending, I will not spoil it for you. Let’s just say that Pell shows no hesitation in delivering the demands of a good resolution. Read it to see how it has a good beginning, a middle, and an ending that will make you want more.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

At night, do you dream when you’re sound asleep? Great adventures where you are the hero and you save the world? Have you ever considered that these dreams might be real? Well, partially, as in another dimension or another reality? What is the difference between life in the Waking World and life in your Dream World? Mr. Zoofall was once a boy with such exciting dreams where battles were fought, some won, some lost. He had friends in his Dream World, a real place in so many ways. But, like any Waking World and any other dimensional existence, there were both good and evil forces at play, magic and mayhem, and so much more. And then there was Steggie Belle and the Dream Warriors, a group of steadfast dream friends, some of which remained close as they grew up in the Waking World.

Elias Pell’s fantasy novel, Steggie Belle and the Dream Warriors, is a compelling adventure involving young people caught between two worlds: the Waking World and the Dream World. The reader never learns the name his parents gave him but Mr. Zoofall, now in his forties, has a tale to tell which may be unbelievable to some. Yet those with creative and vivid imaginations, indeed, those who dream and know how to truly dream, will believe every word he shares. He’s writing his treatise intently, hoping he has enough candlelight to see him through the entire tale as he writes vigorously, locked in his attic room, waiting vigilantly. The plot unfolds as the story, told in the first-person narrative, begins with Mr. Zoofall’s first experiences with dreaming as a young child. Adventures happen in both his Dream World and his Waking World, but more and more the adventures occur in the Dream World.

For anyone who is a dreamer, this story speaks of poignant realities – alternate and fantastical realities. The characters are well developed, the narrative engaging and instantly drawing the reader into the story. Powerful writing. Though Mr. Zoofall leaves the reader wondering at the end, there is an interesting twist. This is a classic fantasy, much like C.S. Lewis’s tales of Narnia and so many other adventures that captivate young readers.

Romuald Dzemo

Steggie Belle and the Dream Warriors by Elias Pell is an enticing narrative that will be absorbing to children and will stir the imaginations of adult readers. Written in a lyrical style with prose that has a spell of its own, the novel follows a man named Zoofall, who has shut himself up in the attic during a storm. With only seven candles left, he must write down his secrets before the last candle is consumed. But there are demons of his past that he still needs to face and the mystery surrounding what happened to Steggie Belle. As a child, he was able to control his dreams and he dreamed of whatever he wanted. And while adults called it Lucid Dreaming, his experience defied every definition, plunging him into a world where fantasy and reality intersect. With other dreamers, he sets out on an adventure to unravel Steggie Belle’s mystery and save her. With time running out and dark powers rising, do they stand a chance?

I was pulled in, captivated, and literally sucked into the world that Elias Pell has created in Steggie Belle and the Dream Warriors. This is fantasy at its best and told in the entrancing, oftentimes snarky voice of Zoofall. The story starts with the narrator’s opinions and thoughts about dreaming and how it has affected his life. The writing is insightful and readers will enjoy the shift, the point when the line that separates reality from fiction blurs: “The effects were not obvious at first. The shift came slowly, reality blurring between the waking and the sleeping world.” Steggie Belle and the Dream Warriors features characters that are fully drawn. The descriptions are terrific and the imagery, especially when describing experiences like the storm, is stellar. A story that starts in the small attic quickly grows with an expansion in the setting, pulling the characters through a world filled with danger, evil, and conflict. It is simply fascinating, gripping and suspenseful.


Marvellous exploration of our dream world and alternate realities. Could this be the next Harry Potter!