I’ll tell you this much, Matthew Fleming has quite a few friends who are willing to give him pretty great reviews for his debut novel, The Dreams. I saw it on Book Bub and was intrigued enough to go through and see what the book was about. I was sold, kind of…I saw that Fleming and I share a love of horror, Stephen King, dogs, our spouses and tattoos, so I thought I’d spring the .99 for the book. Oh how I long for the days where that money was still in my virtual pocket. This book…was not very good, and I feel badly saying it because I can feel the passion that Fleming has for horror stories. That’s part of the problem.
The book felt like a first draft, the style is stilted, the “clues” are too in your face. So five strangers awake in a forest where they feel like they’re being watched. Whatever they’re being watched by is BIG, because they find footprints. There are NO SOUNDS in the forest and the five strangers don’t feel hot or cold…or really anything at all. They “remember” feelings of adventures, sadness, fear, excitement in many short and oddly placed flashback dreams. Hmmmmm…what could possibly be up with these five strangers??? Could they be????[massive spoiler alert–I’m going to spoil what the creatures are and the answer to the question that we all know the answer to.]
seriously, don’t read this book,………………………
So…could they be dead or close to death?
Turns out, yes. And I guess the “original” part of the story stems from what the creatures are. One character Emily, (who instantly falls in love with James and is immediately jealous/angry/power playing with the only other female character Amber to make sure that James likes her back instead of, oh, I don’t know…focusing on what’s killing them and skinning them??) I have to give it to Amber, it’s described about 1,000 times that she rolls her eyes at both James and Emily. I probably would’ve poked Emily with a stick…but where was I, yes. Emily learned from her grandmother (who clearly wanted Emily to have debilitating nightmares for the rest of her life) about the Dullahans which apparently are a thing (I mean in terms of legends). Think, the headless horseman except made out of moldy cheese (well and these Dullahans have heads. Also expect to read the word Dullahan 1 million times in a 196 page book). Apparently Fleming read the same Wikipedia article I just did because he referenced the moldy cheese consistency of the Dullahans’ flesh several times. So not only are they stinky cheese men but Emily also reveals that Dullahans like to use human spines for whips, thigh bones for spokes of their wagons, and will throw buckets of blood on the person next marked for death. These dullahans are not subtle creatures. James questions what can they possibly do to survive…to which Emily does her best Game of Thrones speech and ultimately says something lame like, “Death always comes for us.”
Oh lordy, how I wish death came for them on page 60. I won’t spoil the rest of the book, this might be your jam. But just a heads up –it ends exactly how you think it does because you’ve read this book, and have seen this movie countless times…just not with moldy cheese executioners.