Anna Undreaming ARC Review


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GoodReads Blurb:Anna is a student surviving the city, and she lives by a simple credo, “Never play their game; their game is always rigged.” For every man she has ever known, it’s a saying that has served her well.

That all changes on the night of “The Big Storm,” when Anna is slipped a date rape drug. Though she saves herself and her best friend, Anna is lost to the dark heart of the city and finds herself hunted by The Night Collectors. Unsure if these monsters are real or hallucinations, Anna nonetheless fights them as best she can. The battle attracts a stranger—Teej—who saves her using powers she cannot understand. He explains that she is an Undreamer and possesses the same powers, and in the future, he will not be the one to save her. She will save him.

But Anna is not yet ready to join Teej and stand against The Dreamers. She has difficult decisions of her own to make. Decisions she has always run from. She still has her partner’s suicide letter. It remains unopened. She still wears his ring, though she can’t seem to remember his face.

Anna learns of The Dreamers – artists so preeminent in their respective fields that they can paint, dance, sew or sing new realities – and as she travels through their creations, she learns that there’s as much beauty in the world as there is horror. With a complex conspiracy at work within the community of Dreamers that threatens to undermine reality itself, Anna will have to look deep within herself, and eventually have to face the horrors of her own past, to save her old world as well as her new one.

Anna Undreaming is a dark urban fantasy, and the first book in the The Metiks Fade trilogy.

Recommended to me by Kaleena!

I was lucky enough to receive this book from Thomas Welsh and Owl Hollow Press after responding to a tweet about a review copy. My review is honest and given with no strings attached! But still, a big THANK YOU to the and Kal who strongly recommended this book!

It’s rare to get a good dark urban fantasy [It’s one of the reasons I became enamoured by Holly Black but I digress] but this one was a very good dark urban fantasy. It was creepy without being too much if you get my drift and the ‘worlds’ called ‘Hazes’ were surreal and wonderfully chilling at times. Speaking of Hazes and other things, we were lucky enough that Thomas Welsh put a glossary in the back which came in handy at the start but he also does a great job of explaining the terms during his worldbuilding. And his worldbuilding is not only introducing us to this new setting but Anna as well so it doesn’t feel out of place or redundant. [The Sump was my favorite place.]

Never play their game. Their game is always rigged.”

Anna is raw, real, she is suffering through a dark time in her life and she has learned a mantra that suits someone living in a world that’s felt so harsh to Anna. I absolutely loved that quote and each time I read it I would be nodding as if to say ‘that’s right Anna, you got this.’ Because usually, she was in the middle of dealing with everything under the sun when that quote came up. Her background isn’t thoroughly given up and neither is Teej’s, but, you don’t need their full histories for this, you’re sucked into their world and are rushing with them through everything that happens!

Teej, her mentor of sorts, tries to help Anna in this new world she’s been flung into but ultimately Anna is on her own, she is the one who is supposed to be saving him and she saves herself over and over and you have to admire that kind of strength. ❤

The pacing was on point, it never really dragged for me, I mean I got impatient but that was not on the book, that was on me, haha. And it’s divided into two parts but come on, I read right into the second part to see what was going to happen, who wouldn’t? I really enjoyed this book and it was a great read for me.

Pros:
– Anna is completely human, I mean, there are times you’re like ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING’ but, you know, people make you do that. Especially in cars.
– It’s dark goodness, creepy enough to make you go ‘oooooh’ while reading, or at least I did.
– Anna doesn’t need saving, well, she might but she doesn’t get it and has to get through everything on her own one way or another.
– There are so many good quotes in this book it could take a post on its own to get them through.
– Welsh really does a great job with world building
– The hazes are super interesting
– Great pacing
– Leaves you wanting more at the end, I can’t wait for the second

Cons:
– You may not want something dark like this, so, there, you’ve been warned
– In the second part a few chapters talk about another character, given the outcome, I feel I could have done without, BUT, BUT, I think it still served a purpose, I just enjoyed those chapters the least (though I really appreciated the creation of that one thing no spoilers damn it.
– You could do with knowing more about Anna’s motivations, it might make you want to shake her less during certain parts.
– We need to talk about Sue but we won’t because of spoilers. But I had some issues with that friendship and felt Anna’s choice at one point was totally validated and Anna is a great friend just from the first chapter alone to Sue lol.
– I can’t wait for the second book.

**This is the first book in a trilogy and the second book, Anna and the Moonlight Road will be published this year so keep an eye out!**

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In a world of dwindling light, you’re a bonfire in the night”