Amy’s Marathon of Books: Dreamfire, by Nicole Luiken

September 4, 2014

dreamfireTitle: Dreamfire
Author: Nicole Luiken
Publisher: Great Plains Teen Fiction
ISBN: 9781894283885
Province: Alberta

Book Source: personal collection

Synopsis (from the jacket):

Brianne is having a bad dream. The thing is, when Brianne has a bad dream, it usually means horrible things are about to happen.

Things go from bad to terrifying when her dead aunt contacts her in a dream with a dire warning. To prevent her family and friends from perishing in a raging wildfire, Brianne must find a way to stop the wulfdraigles – ancient enemies to humanity that are growing in power, one evil dream at a time. 


When I was in the 10th grade, I won my age category in the St. Albert Public Library’s writing contest for kids. As part of the prize, the winners got to take part in a writing class led by Nicole Luiken. We worked on hooks – the opening scenes that draw a reader into a book – and Nicole read us the hook of a book she was currently working on.

About ten years later, I ran into her at a group book launch, where she read the very same hook, now the opening of her newly published novel, Dreamfire. Naturally, I had to buy a copy. 🙂

So what is the hook, you ask? Brianne falls asleep and dreams of a spider the size of a VW Beetle, then wakes up on the floor, the centre of the class’s attention. It’s a great hook, tapping into primal fears of both venomous creatures and public humiliation, and the book is off to a rapid start. The plot continues at speed, drawing the reader in while weaving backstory into the action only as needed.

Dreamfire is a short novel, only 190 pages, and I wanted more – more depth, more detail, more time in the world. That’s just me, however. Because of its simple structure and rapid pacing, the book is a perfect pick for reluctant readers. I also wanted more of Lissa, Brianne’s younger sister and my favourite character. I discovered this morning that Lissa is the start of the sequel, Dreamline, which I’ll be checking out sometime soon.

For more information on Nicole Luiken and her books, visit her website. I read this book for the 13 Amy's Marathon buttonBook Challenge, part of Amy’s Marathon of Books. Amy’s marathon is designed to raise awareness of the amazing YA books that Canadians are writing, and to raise money to launch a new YA book award. You can donate by clicking the button!

Stay tuned for more reviews in this series:

Manitoba: Tales of a Reluctant Psychic, by Carol Matas
Saskatchewan: Dust, by Arthur Slade
Northwest Territories: Devil’s Pass, by Sigmund Brouwer
Nunavut: Skraelings, by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley
Yukon: Juggling Fire, by Joanne Bell

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