An insecure young girl’s quest for her missing mother leads her to Dreamlands, a parallel world of incredible dreams, dark nightmares, and dangerous deceptions.
An “uncommon-looking twelve-year-old girl” with silver-blonde hair and amber eyes, Nell Perkins is able to see truths others ignore. After three local women mysteriously disappear, Nell insists they’ve been stolen by an ominous purple cloud. Then she witnesses the cloud sweeping her mother, Rose, away, leaving behind a small golden bird that Nell realizes is really Rose transformed. Determined to save Rose, Nell encounters Duke Badger, a Fearless Traveler, sworn to help those journeying to Dreamlands. Badger explains that Rose and the other missing women have been changed into birds by the Dark Daughters, “an ancient tribe of Nightmares.” Only Ravenhead, an endangered Dreamer, can change Rose back to human form. With Badger as her remarkable guide, Nell embarks on a perilous quest to the Wicked Places, traversing surreal landscapes and confronting bizarre creatures, hoping against the odds to outmaneuver the Dark Daughters and save her mother. Throughout the relentlessly paced, endlessly twisting plot, remarkable Nell emerges a “fearless traveler” in her own right. Though race is referred to, the book’s default is white.
A wildly imaginative, richly textured, and complex fantasy. (map) (Fantasy. 9-12)