Today we are super stoked to be a part of the blog tour for Poet Anderson: Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge & Suzanne Young! We’ve got a review plus an excerpt for you and a very cool giveaway for this trippy YA Thriller!
Poet Anderson: Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge & Suzanne Young
Publication Date: Oct 6, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Thriller
From the critically acclaimed transmedia project Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, comes one of the most anticipated collaborations in YA literature this year: a thrilling, edge of your seat story written by award-winning musician, producer and director Tom DeLonge and New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young.
Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares follows the epic journey of two orphan brothers, Jonas and Alan, who are Lucid Dreamers. After a tragic car accident lands Alan in a coma, Jonas sets out into the Dream World in an attempt to find his brother and wake him up. What he discovers instead is an entire shared consciousness where fear comes to life as a snarling beast called a Night Terror, and a creature named REM is bent on destruction and misery, devouring the souls of the strongest dreamers to get closer to the Waking World. With the help of a Dream Walker—a guardian of the dreamscape, Jonas must face his fears, save his brother, and become who he was always meant to be: Poet Anderson.
Excerpt from Chapter 18
by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young
Suddenly, Poet’s gravity-bike kicked forward like a bullet, nearly knocking him off balance. He quickly acclimated himself to the feel, and was soon passing other, less-confident drivers. For a moment, it was even fun. Poet zigged in and out of the lanes, and at the first turn, two gravity-bikes bumped each other, sending them both hard into the wall where they exploded, shooting shrapnel into the audience. The crowd cheered.
Poet ducked down further, trying to concentrate. The sound of his breathing was loud inside the helmet. “Don’t die, don’t die,” he started repeating to himself. Another bike spun out and he had to swerve to miss it as it wrecked. There was a loud boom behind him, but he resisted looking back.
Ahead of him, the bikes in the front started up the vertical track. Poet could tell which ones had turned off their gravity, relying instead on speed. They were blurs as they climbed higher, and Poet tightened his grip and got ready for his ascent.
His front tire held fast to the track as his angle shifted. The back tire wobbled for a moment, but then he was shooting forward, still behind at least a half dozen other racers. He was going too slow as his gravity-bike took him along the track toward the clouds.
Poet swallowed hard, becoming light-headed when his altitude broke into low orbit. All at once, his eyelids fluttered like he might pass out—his bike slowed, nearly stopping, and then like the slow ticking of a rollercoaster at its peak, the climbing stopped and rounded the top. Poet’s stomach upended and he was upside down, miles in the air.
He began his descent, the gravity-bike skating along the track like falling space debris, beginning to glow red with heat as it picked up speed. Poet’s head bobbed in the wind, and he passed three riders, cutting his way slowly toward a middle lane. As he got closer to the ground, he realized the track thinned as it disappeared into a vertical tunnel—two lanes. Not all the bikes would fit into the narrow entrance.
“I have to get there first,” he said. He cranked the throttle, but he couldn’t seem to get past the front riders, one of whom swerved in an attempt to knock him off the track. Poet cursed and swung back in, narrowly missing another rider. He had seconds to think; the other riders weren’t going to let him through easily.
“Okay then,” he said, and flipped off his gravity switch. It was instantaneous. The grip his bike held on the track disengaged and Poet began to float up from the track, free-falling toward the ground. Without the magnet slowing him down, Poet passed over the heads of the other riders. He gritted his teeth and hoped to get past the last rider before he could hit the gravity button again. Otherwise he was going to crash face-first at the entrance of the tunnel.
Poet drifted over the rider and then quickly flipped the gravity switch. There was a zap, a sting on Poet’s leg, and like a heavy magnet, his bike was flung toward the track and his helmet narrowly missed the outside of the tunnel. He landed with a tire squeal on the track.
He gasped out his relief, and a few other bikes zoomed in behind him. There was a loud explosion and pieces of metal rained down, signaling that others had free-fallen and missed altogether. Even from here, Poet heard the crowd erupt in cheers.
The tunnel leveled out, but the space around him was growing darker; the only light in the tunnel was coming from the glowing wheels of the bikes. He skidded quickly to the left, just missing a boulder obstacle. The biker behind him, not seeing it, hit it head on, sending the rider over his handlebars. He was run over by another bike immediately.
There wasn’t enough light, and he couldn’t let someone go ahead of him to guide the way—they’d win. He had to win. He thought about Sketch’s advice and keyed in to his heightened emotions, sending electricity to his fingertips. The temporary distraction caused a rider to pass him, the same one who’d given him advice, but Poet just concentrated on his emotions.
He was going to find Alan and bring him home. All he had to do was win this race. Poet let go of his fear and, in its place, gathered his courage. Confidence. He brought up all of his love for his brother. His bike sputtered suddenly, and then, like a bolt of lightning, the gravity-bike shot forward like a blur. Poet passed the rider in front for him and narrowly missed a large spike of rock that fell from the roof of the tunnel. The rider behind him slammed into it and burst into flames.
Poet was stricken with guilt, but kept his head down. He was so close now. He didn’t dare check behind him. He could hear the rumble of several cycles, but not nearly as many as had started. The tunnel was a maze, the shape constantly shifting, obstacles appearing in his light just in time for him to avoid them. He stopped counting the crashes he heard.
But then, there was a growl, deep and thick. It crawled over his skin. Poet didn’t have to look to know; he felt it in his gut. A Night Terror dove into the tunnel behind the riders, galloping towards Poet and laying waste to any bikes in its way.
“Shit,” Poet spat and looked behind him to see the beast gaining ground, its horrible figure outlined in the shadows the bike tires cast. Poet didn’t know how the Night Terror had found him, but he put down his head, willing the bike to go faster.
A few yards ahead, he spotted a jagged scar in the floor of the tunnel—a four-foot gap in the track. He pulled up the handlebars and jumped it, landing with a thud on the other side as he raced forward. Behind him, there was a loud explosion and the feeling of heat on the back of his shirt.
At the next turn, Poet’s nostrils flared—he smelled something. Flowers? Lilacs. His mind swirled as he tried to place it. “Jonas,” a soft voice called, echoing through the tunnel. Poet’s heart kicked up and he pressed on the accelerator, knowing he needed to get out of this race. Knowing he needed to win it. “Is there room in your dream for me?” he heard her say.
Poet felt a brush on his side, but when he looked there was nothing there. But he could feel Samantha next to him. No, he thought. Don’t come in the dream. Not now. Poet cursed and his gravity-bike began to skid, losing power. Reacting to him. Poet looked over his shoulder and could see the track vibrating, the Night Terror hot on his trail. His eyes rolled up in his head as Samantha’s leg brushed his thigh as she curled up against him, her head on his chest.
“No, fuck,” Poet cursed, forcing himself to stay in the dream. “Not yet,” he demanded. He could sense the Waking World closing in around him.
I really did love a lot of the characters and the relationships between them, especially between Jonas and his brother Alan, their banter was so perfect to me and just made me want to have a sibling relationship just like that. Samantha while likable was a little too perfect for my tastes and this is the second book I’ve read in the past few months in this genre, where they use the shared Dream World to somehow make insta-love ok. They do a little bit better job of it here, because they do spend quite a bit of time there, but he’s always forgetting it, so it doesn’t really count, and eventually that turns into spending time together figuring things out in the real world, but it’s still sort of implied that the LOVE is there from the very beginning date on day one in the Dream World where different rules apply to things like that, and that’s just a little hard to sell for me. I mean it would be nice but, in the real world…
The other thing I found mildly disappointing was just that I have read a few YA novels that were similar to this really recently, dealing with shared dreams, or lucid dreams, or dream walking or dream worlds and they all kind of have this same core problem for me, they are great well-plotted, character-driven even action stories but there’s just something missing in that piece where I’m supposed to really emotionally connect with the book and the characters. Where I’m supposed to fall in love with it and feel something. I just don’t. I understand that he’s fighting for his brother and the connection there and I’m rooting for him because of it, but it doesn’t for whatever reason hit me the way I know it should.
Do I think this would make a cool as hell movie to watch? Absolutely! In fact, there already is a Poet Anderson animated film out as part of this whole project, but I’d love to see a live-action blockbuster version! But, I’d go see it more as just that: a blockbuster; fun, exciting, special effects and twisty thrills. But that’s not typically the same reason I pick up a book. Usually there I’m looking for something a little bit more and one of those things I want is to feel everything that’s happening to the characters in the story!
The Wrap Up:
Overall I enjoyed this book and I think comic book fans and fans of YA sci-fi, urban fantasy, horror or paranormal could all get into this. There is an entire universe being built around these characters so if you are looking for a new fandom, look no further. Besides the comics, there is already the animated film, the soundtrack and more books in the works (this one does leave us with a bit of a cliffhanger and a set up for book two). It’s inventive, twisty, and a little dark with characters that are loveable and fierce. Fans of Dreamstrider and Lucid will love it and those looking for something new in the YA genre could definitely do worse than checking this one out. Personally, even though I do love Suzanne’s writing style immensely I’m not entirely sold on all the details of the story. I think I might just prefer the comics in this case.
Tom DeLonge: An award-winning American musician, producer and director best known as the lead vocalist and songwriter for the platinum selling rock bands Blink-182 and Angles & Airwaves.
Suzanne Young: Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program series. Originally from Utica, New York, Suzanne moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She is a novelist and an English teacher, but not always in that order. Suzanne is the author of THE PROGRAM, THE TREATMENT, THE REMEDY, and HOTEL RUBY.