Melaina could be considered a fairly average woman, all things considered. She’s getting out in the world, she runs her own business as a “dream therapist,” and she gets by… just about. Of course, there is one very particular perk to her vocation: she’s half-Oneiroi; a dream spirit. Being able to control people’s dreams really gives her a leg up in the biz’. But there’s always a downside to these things, and for Melaina that downside comes in the form of a very interesting client, and the hell he brings to her doorstep. The nightmare has woken, and it’s very, very interested in Melaina. Australia-based author Cassandra Page tells Melaina’s tale in Lucid Dreaming.
It’s very typical of the urban and paranormal fantasy genre, but that’s in no way a criticism; Lucid Dreaming is a great, comfortable read, like a new pair of slippers that fit like your well-worn favorites. This isn’t Page’s first stab into the genre, with previous book Isla’s Inheritance debuting in 2014 and recently taken off shelves as it gets a freshening up as a trilogy release. Lucid Dreaming is, in comparison to both its older sibling and even much of the rest of the genre, very fresh and gorgeous looking, with a fluid and vibrant read to match. To chance a pun, you could even say the writing is lucid. Page has a particular self-awareness that just, just about creeps in and tinges the edges of the page now and then in a very modest manner that pays dividends when the time is right.
Similarly, Melaina is a great lead, with a wry and experienced charm to her character that stands out from her peers, both in the context of her own story and in the wider genre. She’s relatable, in all the right ways, and there’s a sadness behind her strength, but she’s taking it all in her stride. It sounds par for the course, but there’s a very certain je ne sais quoi to her and the whole book at large. There’s a really strong and surprisingly wide supporting cast of all breeds that are well curated to push the story in every way it needs to, when it needs to be, and the perfect storm comes in wild, colorful strokes from beginning to end.
Cover to cover, the book really shines, even down to the simple detail of its little butterfly motifs scattered here and there as dividers. It’s a really outstanding work that I cannot sing high enough praises of. Urban and paranormal fantasy fans: buy this book. For me personally, it scratched an itch I didn’t even realize I had, and for anyone looking for something new in the genre, it’s likely to do the same. It’s an example of some of the finest to be found in a rather crowded arena, so you owe yourself a look in. It’s hard not to find yourself giving yourself “one more page”, page after page, and for better or worse this is a read that will definitely keep you awake if you’re not careful!