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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps is a coming of age fantasy novel for young adults and preteens written by A.J. Massey. Ben’s life was rather more complicated than that of most 13-year-olds. All he had left of his dad was a broken watch, which he was determined never to part with, and his mom’s efforts to make a living for the two of them had meant frequent moves to new neighborhoods -- and schools -- and her working double and sometimes triple shifts. He was still trying to immerse himself in the school he had been in for about six months now, and was summoning up the nerve to ask a girl he liked to go to the dance with him, when he was suddenly thrust into a totally different world. He had found himself alone in a black forest under a crimson sky and was amazed to find that the snow which lay underfoot was uncomfortably warm and burned his face as the flakes descended from above. Ben was all too aware of the white pajamas he wore, and somehow had lost any memory of why he was wearing a broken watch. Where was he? And who could he trust to help him find his way?
Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps is exactly the kind of sleeper fantasy that the target audience and the larger adult audience may be inclined to overlook, and there are infinitely many reasons why fantasy lovers and even those, like myself, who are somewhat jaded by fantasy at this point, should pay attention and start reading. Massey’s characters are marvelous! Each of the three main characters has a compelling coming of age story and is someone I came to care about. And don’t let the dragonwoofs scare you away. No, it’s not a child’s tale, and the dragonwoofs are critters most of us would love to get to know in the waking world. There’s drama in this enthralling spectacle of a tale, deals struck with goblins, hidden menaces and unknown villains populating a parallel world well worth exploring. And yes, there’s a mystery as well. What’s with the yellow mailbox, and why does it figure so prominently in this well-plotted and original story? Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps is one of the finer works of epic fantasy I’ve come across in some time, and it’s most highly recommended.