Friday, November 1, 2013

Book Review: Ashlynn's Dreams by Julie Gilbert

Ashlynn’s Dreams
By Julie Gilbert
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publisher
Published: July 31, 2013

Amazon Synopsis:

Before she was kidnapped, Jillian Marie Antel Blairington was just an average bright, brave, headstrong child. She was excited for life in a new house with her Momma and new Daddy. Afterward, she's all that ... and so much more.

Held in a scientific facility, Jillian discovers her past - a family she never knew and a power she doesn't understand. With her ability now activated, she can enter and even shape a person's dreams. Jillian's been kidnapped, and her Gift has been 

triggered, so she can locate and save Benjamin Connelly, a brother she never even knew she had. She'd better master this strange ability quickly, though, because her life isn't the only one at stake. Her babysitter, Danielle Matheson, is being held as a hostage to ensure Jillian's full cooperation. Slowly, Jillian begins to learn more about her captor and the other genetically altered children held at the facility.

Join Jillian as she tries to survive the training being forced upon her, find her unknown brother, escape with Danielle, and work her way back to a normal life once more.

Purchase Link

My Thoughts:

Don’t let he cover put you off of this book. When I first saw it, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it because of the cartoon-type cover. I guess I just associated it with comics, not serious literature. Well, I was wrong!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I thought the way the book was written, as correspondence and journal entries was a very unique way to present the novel. It enabled us to see into the mind of the writer of the letters and journal writings.

I enjoyed the humour sprinkled throughout the book. Two examples would be Jillian’s first two lines in her journal, “I’m Jillian, and Momma says “I’m smart as a whip. I saw a picture of a whip once; it didn’t look too smart.” It sounds like something as twelve-year-old would say, and that’s exactly how old she is. The author took the time with little details as well. Danielle writes one of her journal entries on 54 Post-it notes. I can just imagine the pile of papers that was to sort out.

The plot was very intriguing. Jillian (whose original name was Ashlynn) is kidnapped by her creators, Dr. Devya and his associates. She was genetically engineered and incubated until birth, then placed in a “normal” family until they (the kidnappers) wanted to train her “Gift”. Ashlynn’s gift is to see into other people’s dreams and interact with them. The story suggests that this gift, and the gifts of the other children in the facility where she is being held were genetically engineered into them. It’s a bit far-fetched, but this book is in the fantasy genre, so really, most anything is possible.

What I did find hard to swallow was that one of her captors was able to write a computer program to show on a map where the individual whose dream she was in was located. Ashlynn wasn’t where the dreamer was since she was sleeping in the laboratory where her captors were holding her. Only her sleeping consciousness was somewhere else.

The author did an excellent job of writing the letters and journal articles using the grammar etc. that a person of the age of the character would have. You can almost hear Jillian’s Southern accent compared to Danielle’s more Northern speech patterns.

The novel is very fast-paced and definitely keeps your attention. The complexity of the situation built as new characters were introduced. Each of the children in Dr. Devya’s facility has a unique ability, created for a specific purpose. The characters are written with depth and personality to them, so that as a reader, I came to like most of them (the children, not the adults).

I liked how the book required that all the children had to work together with all their different abilities in order to escape. I felt sad for Nadia when her selflessness caused her to have to remain behind in order for the others to excape.

This was a delightful Young Adult/Teen novel in the Fantasy/Science Fiction genres. It was well-written and fun to read. I would recommend this book to adults too because many of the themes are adult themes – man playing God, which is more important: how we achieve a goal or the goal itself. 

I gave this book a rating of 4 stars. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, Nadia’s Tears.

Thank you to the author Julie Gilbert who provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. A free product does not influence my opinion. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

Julie writes, reads, reviews, plays video games, and teaches chemistry. She’s mildly disturbed by the fact that 10 words can sum up her life. Her stories have fallen into many categories, including Christian, science fiction, YA, and fantasy (not all at the same time!). She enjoys detailed letters, snail mail style, as well as emails but cannot quite grasp this texting thing.

Author Links
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Blog  *  Book Blogs   *  What I Write & Why

If you could have a special ability, what would it be? Please comment below. I think I would like to be able to take away people's pain.

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