To Dream Is To Die

The Dead Dreamer Series

Fiction - Supernatural
236 Pages
Reviewed on 12/20/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Lampkin is a 2015 graduate from Lynchburg College [University of Lynchburg] with a master’s degree in English. Since graduation, Sarah now lives in Northern Virginia working in the IT field while continuing her research for her graduate school thesis. When she isn’t working, Sarah continues her Celtic mythology research and Gaelic studies, while working on the Dead Dreamer series.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

To Dream Is To Die: The Dead Dreamer Series by Sarah Lampkin is a blend of coming of age and paranormal genres that follows eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit as she experiences her freshman year in college. It is an exciting period for her with new friends and even a crush. But she has a dark secret, an experience that she doesn’t want anyone to know. It has been three years since the accident happened and life has never been the same for her. Whenever she falls asleep, her spirit wanders the Fade. When she finds out that someone watches her in spirit form, all her fears escalate. Can she navigate the complicated relationships in school and keep her secret away from prying eyes?

This is a strong and compelling narrative. Told from the perspective of the protagonist, the reader is drawn into her worldview and experiences her pain right from the beginning: "In school, I had been a social butterfly; now I was a social outcast. A few people still made an effort to talk to me, but most stayed away." The pathos is strong and the emotional levels of the story are well explored. The characters are well developed and it is interesting to follow the character arc and watch the key character evolve through her complex relationships. The conflict is strong and well-handled. To Dream Is To Die is a fascinating story told in an engaging first-person narrative, a tale that has great potential to entertain fans of paranormal fiction and readers looking for strong and multidimensional characters.

Cheryl Schopen

In To Dream is to Die by Sarah Lampkin, the first book in the Dead Dreamer series, Brenna is a college freshman. She has just moved into her dorm and is meeting new people. Things are great! However, she has a secret. Three years ago, she died. She may have only been dead for a few minutes, but ever since then, she doesn’t exactly sleep like the rest of us. When her body is sleeping, her spirit leaves her body and wanders the Fade. And it seems like her new school has some secrets of its own. When someone can actually see her in her spirit form, she is worried that her secret isn’t so secret anymore. How will she be able to handle her first year of college along with this supernatural mysterious world she is now part of?

This book reminded me of a cross between the shows Supernatural and Felicity. On the surface, Brenna is a typical college student trying to make friends but also making a couple of enemies along the way. On a deeper level, she is part of this supernatural world that no one can see except her. It was just really fun and entertaining to join her on this ride. I was excited to immerse myself in this world with her to get to know her friends, see what in the heck was going on at this school and why she was wandering the Fade, and what that meant for her and the world around her. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering where this story would end up. To Dream is to Die is full of suspense, mystery, fun, and some humor. Don’t expect a nice, wrapped up ending with a bow on top. There’s a cliffhanger that will keep you wanting more, and you’ll want to jump into the next book. Thank you, Sarah Lampkin, for writing a wonderfully intriguing book!

K.C. Finn

To Dream Is To Die is a work of supernatural fiction with dark themes and plenty of action, penned by author Sarah Lampkin. Written for more mature YA readers due to the presence of some violence, explicit language and hints of sexual situations, this novel forms the opening to The Dead Dreamer Series. Our focus is placed on hero Brenna Whit, who is eighteen and entering college as a freshman with a lot more on her mind than just the usual nerves. Brenna often slips away into the Fade in her sleep, communicating with spirits and wandering through the darkness. So as her college life begins and she struggles to keep her secret, Brenna must face the realities of what her abilities really mean.

Having read parts of The Dead Dreamer Series before, it was wonderful to see where it all begin with Brenna and her powers. Author Sarah Lampkin has a wonderful way of making a fantasy feel very emotive and realistic, and so Brenna’s powers are grounded in a darkly surreal kind of reality which makes them all the more terrifying each time she enters the Fade. The plot construction balances out the normal world and the spirit world really well, and the character development work that’s put into Brenna makes her guarded yet accessible as a hero, with plenty of intrigue to keep us rooting for her as she uncovers the mysteries that the plot lays out for her. Overall, To Dream Is To Die is an excellent work that’s sure to please paranormal fiction readers everywhere.

Ankita Shukla

To Dream Is To Die (The Dead Dreamer Series) by Sarah Lampkin is a supernatural story that follows Brenna, who calls herself dead. Ever since Brenna met with an accident, her life hasn't been the same. The moment she goes to sleep, she leaves her body and enters the Fade. This is a place where spirits, fairies, demons, etc. roam freely. As she is a freshman in college, she feels she has a chance to turn over a new leaf: make friends, leave the craziness behind, and explore the new place. Well, not everything goes according to plan, does it? She makes new friends (Damon and Aeria), but she is having a hard time trusting them. To add to the evergrowing list of her concerns, something about this college does not seem right. During her wanderings in the Fade, she cannot help but notice sealed demon doors and the troubled screeching voices in her head. Moreover, there is someone who knows about her secret, and that fact alone is more consequential than any other complication.

The female characters in To Dream Is To Die are no damsels in distress. They are all empowered girls who do not like asking for help. Brenna has a lot on her plate, yet she doesn't start looking for her Prince Charming to solve her issues. Instead, she contemplates her options and shares her thoughts with her friend, Aeria. Brenna has a crush on a boy, but she does not go gaga over impressing the guy; she ignores him as if her life depends on it. The bickerings of Damon and Brenna are quite amusing. Indeed, all the conversations have an undeniable depth to them. Sarah Lampkin's storytelling is a mixed combination of intrigue and lightheartedness. The plot promises to enthrall you, but at the same time doesn't overwhelm readers with grief, pain, and emotional drama. Action, suspense, light comedy, romance (just a little bit), horror (again, just a hint of it), and a lot of supernatural mystery define the plot of this fascinating book. To Dream Is To Die (The Dead Dreamer Series) by Sarah Lampkin will grab your attention and not release you until the very last page.

K.A. Wells

Fantastic read!


A refreshing paranormal story!