Superpowers are no match for young love in Dream’s debut YA fantasy novel.
Eighteen-year-old Adam Vanolf is an “Endohuman”—a nonhuman, supernatural being. His origins are unclear, despite a scattered backstory, but he has cool superpowers, such as ultrasensitive vision, hidden behind a nerdy exterior that allows him to blend in with his teenage peers. Adam trains under the guidance of his grandfather, who tells him that he’s destined to protect humanity; to that end, the teen must follow the Ancient Rules—particularly a prohibition against falling in love. However, despite his mission, Adam can’t help but pursue a wholesome girl named Evie Chanik. Later, Adam defies the rules to save her when an alien evil is unleashed in the world and it’s difficult to tell the difference between friends and enemies. Dream’s narrative eventually includes monsters, Greek gods, and serial killers, resulting in a jumbled mess of myth and confusing character connections. The narrative also occasionally leaps back in time, placing Endohumans in contact with William Shakespeare and the Nazis. Adam is a predictable teenage character who’s alternately rebellious and lovesick, but other players, such as the tough-talking Coach Sanders, are inconsistent. When the coach discovers Adam’s supernatural powers, he forces him onto the soccer team, saying, “if it weren’t for me, you’d be behind bars right now”; a few scenes later, though, he offers Adam a prized family heirloom. Still, there are several good plot twists and an intriguing mystery surrounding Adam’s identity. Unfortunately, the surprises often get lost in the narrative chaos.
A confusing, overstuffed, and unfocused supernatural tale.