I first came across The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone in a School Library Sevice Meeting and spotted it amongst the new books to try. It was the cover by Thomas Flintham which first caught my attention with its bold colours and vivid images I knew that this was a book I wanted to read.
You might be mistaken if you believe the media’s image of librarians that we are all mild mannered and quiet individuals. However if you put a group of school librarians in a room with books and tell them that they can take the ones they want back to their school you will soon see their true colours. I couldn’t take the risk that someone might get this book before me so I may (not admitting to anything here) have picked it up and put it to one side to ensure it was mine to take back.
It’s really hard for me to describe how much I love Abi Elphinstone’s The Dreamsnatcher it’s difficult to put into words how it left me feeling after I first encountered it. It has the feel of a timeless classic and evokes memories of some of my favourite childhood reads. I felt drawn into Moll’s world in the same way I was with Narnia and Hogwarts, I could clearly see it and wanted to be there with them and become part of their tribe.
The opening prologue draws you into a world of dark magic where you feel terrible events are beginning to unfold and gives you a sense of uneasiness that stays with you throughout the story. This is only because you get so drawn into the lives of the characters that you care for them and want to protect them from the inevitable danger which lies ahead.
Our heroine of the story Moll is gutsy, headstrong and fiercely loyal to all her friends most specially her wildcat Gryff. Abi paints a vivid picture of the influences in Moll’s life from the friendship she forms with Alfie who is by her side. To her guardians Oak and Mooshie who have vowed to protect her and keep her safe. She also creates a deeply sinister villian in the shape of Skull who tries to draw Moll to him by using the Dreamsnatch to get inside her mind.
Moll is drawn into a world of darkness and danger in her quest to fulfill the prophecy and destroy the magic that killed her parents. The story moves at such a pace I struggled to put it down, it simply left me wanting more. I kept promising myself just one more chapter, then just another one. When my house was left in chaos whilst reading it, I have only got Abi and her briliant storytelling to blame.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the book was the setting within the gypsy camp and their way of life, traditions, songs and rituals are an integral part of the story. Throughout the book you can feel Abi’s love of nature come through, the woodlands feel alive and without this you would feel something was missing in the story. The distinction beween good and evil is clearly illustrated through the changes to the woodlands and nature as we stray into Skull’s territory.
The end of the book makes you desperately want to find out what happens next, and the great news is there is more to come from Moll and her quest. The sequel The Shadow Keeper is due for release in February 2016, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
If you have a child that loves adventure, the outdoors and magical stories then this is the book for them. I really can’t recommend it enough!
Q & A with Abi Elphinstone
I managed to have a quick chat with Abi and asked her these questions hoping to find out more about what makes her who she is. (Picture reproduced with kind permission from Abi)
What was your Craziest Adventure?
Hang- gliding over Rio de Janerio as ‘flying research’ for THE SHADOW KEEPER was pretty cool. But the craziest adventure was probably back in April this year when I climbed an almost inaccessible cliff in the Norwegian fjords without ropes or a helmet (there was a magical looking hut at the top and I wanted to see if there were dragons kicking around near by). But I have a feeling the adventure I have booked in for October may top that. I’m off to live with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia. I’m going to train golden eagles to hunt for foxes and marmots, sleep in a ger in the mountains, meet a local shaman, listen to traditional throat singing and fish in remote rivers… I cannot wait.
Most overused phrase?
Most magical memory?
The book you loved most as a child?
To find out more about Abi check out her: