The Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning Tricia Sullivan released a fantastic book last year in ‘Sweet Dreams’ that I feel most of us missed. I should note that there is some mature content in the novel, so probably not an excellent choice for your kids who are just getting into science fiction and think that the concept sounds cool. The story takes place in the near future and follows Charlie, who suffers from narcolepsy and has the power to enter the dreams of others.
Charlie’s power and narcolepsy came from a medical trial gone wrong from a rather large company.
While she has the horrible condition of falling asleep at the absolute worst times, which comes into play quite often in the story, her powers really are a gift. With the combination, she has taken up the profession of being a Dreamhacker. That is, she takes on clients and helps them by reshaping nightmares and dreams in a new form of therapy. It works. In fact, it works so well that her talent is highly sought after and is well compensated for.
It isn’t long until Charlie starts to suspect that she isn’t the only one that can enter the dreams of others as bodies begin to pile up, including that of one of her clients.
The story is really told from an interesting set of perspectives. We have Charlie’s diary, her case files, an interview over one of the deaths mentioned above, and a bit of first-person perspective.
As we start to see the deaths as murder being committed by a masked Creeper, it isn’t long before the two come face-to-face, so to speak. It is hard to use that exact phrase as the Creeper wears a mask and they are meeting in their lucid dreams. Now, Charlie can’t just help her patients but also has to stop a murderer who seems connected to the very company which gave her powers in the first place.
If you’re looking for a straight forward narrative, this story likely isn’t for you. ‘Sweet Dreams’ is told from a multitude of angles and perspectives. While none of it feels like straight-up exposition dumps, it might not be the way some readers would want to be told this story. If you do want an exciting story with some great twists and a different narrative style, you should really pick this one up!
By: Tricia Sullivan
July 23rd, 2019