REVIEW: IN RESTLESS DREAMS BY WREN HANDMAN

In restless dreams

Title: IN RESTLESS DREAMS
Series: THE PHANTASMER CYCLE #1
Author: WREN HANDMANS
Publication Date: JANUARY 28, 2020
Rating: 4/5

SYNOPSIS

Sylvia is a normal girl with huge, normal problems—her mother’s attempted suicide; trying to make friends in a rich prep school where she doesn’t belong; whether or not to trust the cute boy with the dangerous eyes. She thinks that’s more than she can handle, but she tests the limits of her endurance when she learns that she is the long-awaited Phantasmer, a human who can change the fabric of Fairy simple by believing in a new story.

Sylvia’s life is thrown off course as two warring Courts, the Seelie and Unseelie, both attempt to co-opt her gift to attack the other Court. All while she’s trying not to get kicked out of school for fighting. And it doesn’t help matters that the fairies begging for her help are both attractive young men—with their own agendas.My reviewTo me, this is the most unique story about fairies and humans. I’ve never read anything like this before. A world of fairyland mix with the human world, taking place in the modern day era, and a girl who can change the fairyland just by using her mind…

One word: POWERFUL

This book follows the journey of a girl named Sylvia who just moved to New York City and is a new student at her new school, and one night she encountered a stranger who is actually from the fairyland and that’s when strange things start to happen to her.

I loved the plot and the storyline, it focus on Sylvia being the Phantasmer and how she was supposed to be the one to change the fairyland. The thing with the Phantasmer can be a bit complicated to get. But I do appreciate the author for putting a lot of information regarding Phantasmers and the history behind it, and what does it had to do with humans and fairies. The history was very intriguing, and I was really invested in wanting to know more about it.

The magic in this book was different, and not what I expected at all. It’s not the same magic as the magic in most books, Sylvia basically changed the fairies and the way of their world by using her mind alone. She single-handedly used her mind to change the rules of the fairyland and the way the fairies live their lives. The new changes is more better, at least the fairies get to live in a world where there is no bloodbath, and no more war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts.

The book only showed the Unseelie queen, Queen Mab, and I was wondering what happen to the Seelie queen, Queen Titania. She was mentioned a couple of times but wasn’t shown at all. I guess she will play a major part in the next book. These two queens wanted to use Sylvia for their own agenda; one wanted to change the fairy world to be better which is wiping out all evils, and the other wanted to change the fairy world to the way it used to be which was before the human wizard wrecked their world.

I totally get their reasons, but I’m not siding with any Courts. I don’t even know which one to trust, Queen Mab already showed how evil she can be, and I wasn’t sure what Queen Titania was like. And after the ending, I wasn’t sure if there is any queen at all. The changes was truly magnificent, Sylvia managed to make the fairyland into a much better world. So I’m excited to see what happens next, the prophecy that the old witch was saying in the epilogue chapter was kind of eerie.

I have two theories regarding the prophecy; either Sylvia have to face the new Phantasmer which is a male Phantasmer since the old witch said, “and so will he,” or Sylvia will have to face the human wizard who vanished a long time ago. Either way, whoever will come next is dangerous, and I have a feeling that they will have to battle Sylvia for the fate of the fairyland. If the ‘he’ is a new Phantasmer, then the title of the next book better be like, Battle of the Phantasmer. I know it sound simple, but hey, I’m just saying!

I was really enjoying the second half of the book which focus more on the fairyland and the history of the fairies. The first half not so much, I was really disappointed with the first half due to it focusing on the stuff such as bullying, and spoiled rich kids in high school. Sylvia is the new student, and the treatment that some of the students at her new school gave her really made me want to skip the first half. I don’t see the importance of the first half at all, especially when it has to do with showing how rich the high school kids are, and what kind of luxury they’re living in. Sylvia is rich too, but at least she keep it low instead of flashing how rich she is to everyone. One of the more reason why I really like her character.

Honestly, it was very unnecessary for the first half to be about those rich kids, their homes, their money, their lunch at an expensive restaurant, and the luxury party they were throwing to celebrate a birthday. I much prefer the whole book to be all about the fairies and magic, better that way than focusing on spoiled kids who bullied others just because they’re rich. The only thing I get from the first half and second half was the difference in the tone of the story, that’s it.

The characters in this book are a mix of good and bad. Those spoiled kids are mostly bad such Cassidy and Alex, only a few were good like Chris and Fiona. But the main three characters: Sylvia, Royan, and the Stranger are great characters with strong personality.

Sylvia is the protagonist of the story, and despite the new changes in her life—that she still had a hard time adjusting to—she managed to divide her time between her life and her mission on saving the fairyland. It must’ve been hectic for her to always pop in and out of the fairy realm, but I do like her own adventure when she went to the fairyland by herself without the help of the Stranger and Royan. She was using her knowledge and her research to get there. I don’t think she is the type who easily get scared or afraid of anything or anyone. She is in fact a great and strong character, it wasn’t easy to break her or her mind. I like that she is tough and doesn’t let other people put her down so easily. She does have her weakness too, but doesn’t show it too often. She’s also very daring, love throwing sarcasm, and easily handled her own enemies. She is an overall a nice protagonist.

Royan is one of the knight from the Seelie court. He’s great and nice too, but I disliked how he’d been lying from the moment he met Sylvia. I totally get that he did it to protect her, but it was still wrong because in the end, Sylvia still getting tortured no matter what. I finally understood why Sylvia kept saying he had sad eyes, it was because he had to lie to her and he felt guilty about it hence the sadness in his eyes. Royan has some great qualities being the knight, but the ending made me feel sad for him. I wonder if he will be able to remember Sylvia at all, or at least manage to keep a small memory of her. The changes will change him for sure, but what will happen to him next? I would like to see the changes in his character in the sequel.

As for the Stranger aka Spooklight, from the moment his character appeared, I get a feeling that he is different than most of the fairies. The ending was proof that he is the only one who doesn’t change, and also the only one doesn’t lose his memories. He might not be as special as Royan, but he has all the good qualities and to me, that was the reason why he is above Royan’s level. Stranger was all plain and simple, but his honesty and his will to help Sylvia understand more about the fairyland are what makes him deserve that ending. He’s not the type to give up hope, he disobey his own queen and betrayed the Unseelie court in which he came from just to help Sylvia and save her life. I’m hoping he will be given a better development next, and hopefully he’ll stay happy as he is at the end of the book.

There’s a little romance in the story, basically it was just Stranger and Royan who are obviously liking Sylvia. It’s not a love triangle but far from it, and as a reader, I don’t have to choose which guy is perfect for the heroine. Both guys are great in their own ways, and I’m happy with whoever Sylvia end up with. This isn’t like those books with a love triangle trope that I totally cannot stand. It was obvious since the beginning on who the heroine will choose. It was nice to see everything works out just fine, and I don’t want to reveal who Sylvia choose, but it will surprise a lot of people…unless, you can see the obvious from the start like I did then you’ll be happy with the result. Most importantly, this isn’t a love triangle at all although it seems like it, but actually it’s not.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable story. And I’m looking forward to read the sequel. I’m so excited to know what happens next, especially the thing with the prophecy. That epilogue is giving me anxiety mix with a little bit of excitement. I need more of Sylvia doing her secret work as the Phantasmer, and here I am hoping for the author to give Sylvia a nice upgrade, and I would like to see her discovering her power and perhaps let her have a training scene in which she can learn more on how to use her power.

see you soon

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