Dreams of the Dead
Sixteen year old Kara foster has moved to Japan with her father; which has been a dream of theirs since Kara was a young child. When she arrives, Kara feels like an outsider, but thankfully befriends Sakura, and her friend Miho. Sakura has her own problems – her sister was brutally murdered and the culprits were never found. Then Kara begins to have nightmares and other murders start occurring. Could this be revenge? Could Sakura’s sister be behind it all or is there something more sinister in the air?
One my favourite things about this book was the introduction to Japan! You see the country through the eyes of Kara, who is obviously not native to the country; this made it very easy for me to follow the story and jump into the plot really easily. Japanese terms and cultural references were well explained, and I wasn’t left confused.
The horror in this book felt pretty tame. I had hoped for some really creepy japanese horror (along the lines of the ring or the grudge), and I didn’t get quite what I expected. The atmosphere was suspenseful and japanese myth was well crafted in the story, but I wasn’t left looking over my shoulder.
Despite not being very scared I still found myself gripped by the plot, and I just kept turning the pages late into the night. Thomas Randall paced the novel really well and by the end I was eager to find an answer to all the mysterious happenings! I liked the little twist at the end of the book, and it definitely left me wanting to read the next book in the trilogy.
I really felt like I had chance to get to know Kara and the other characters in the book. You find out a lot about Kara’s past, which always adds depth to a character. Initially I felt that Kara was acting a little younger than sixteen, but this didn’t detract from her character, and I think she gained confidence and became a lot stronger as the novel went on. She ended up handling everything that happened well (better than I would have anyway!).
I particularly liked the friendship group between Kara, Sakura and Miho. As individuals they were all rather different, but they still managed to knit together and form a close friendship group.
Overall, this was a quick and enjoyable read. Learning about Japan was very interesting. I will definitely be reading ‘Spirits of the Noh’, which is the next book. I think I would also like to delve into some more Japanese horror which is a little scarier!