The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe is a fantasy novella standalone and I don’t understand why I didn’t like it more than I did. All of the elements were there for a story to really speak to my soul, but for some reason this one just didn’t. It’s a good story, and I enjoyed it but my expectations going into reading it were a lot higher.
Vellitt Boe is a professor at a University when one of her students, Clarie Jurat runs off to go live in the waking lands with a Dreamer. Compelled to retrieve her student, for reasons that have something to do with sexism and women at the University and their standing, Vellitt Boe sets off on a quest accompanied by a little black cat. The cat is totally my favorite part of the story, to the surprise of absolutely no one. Apparently, this is a retelling of Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, which I have not read and so cannot make a comparison. I will say that nothing about the story feels particularly Lovecraftian for what it’s worth.
I did really like the character of Vellitt. Like I said in my tittle the world needs more fantasies about older women going on quests. She just doesn’t have a lot of time for the nonsense around her. Plus she is accompanied by a little black cat, so you know –awesome. However, despite the fact that I really liked Vellitt (and the cat); nothing else about the book really captured my attention. The stakes in her quest never felt pressing, though they are raised above ‘women will be barred from the University if this woman is allowed to run off as she pleases’. Honestly, one of the things that annoyed me about the book was the nature of Vellitt’s quest. Vellitt goes to stop a girl from making her own choices. I mean running off with someone you don’t know is a stupid choice but it’s still a choice, and what right does anyone have to tell Clarie that she can’t do that.
It’s a fine little novella. But my expectations for it were a lot higher then fine, and so I was left feeling just kind of disappointed in the whole thing. Also, I’m still just feeling blah about reading and books in general-despite pushing through and finishing several books- so some of that may be influencing my thoughts here.