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Mari Atherton

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Member Since: May, 2006

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The Dreamer's Way
by Mari Atherton   

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Publisher:  Swimming Kangaroo Books ISBN-10:  193404105X Type: 


Copyright:  2006

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Flita is alone in a hostile world. Abandoned by her mother, betrayed by her stepmother and her best friend, and sentenced to death, she is now trapped in the poisonous air outside the safe boundaries of the Protectorate. If the air doesn’t kill her, the hideously deformed monsters that dwell Outside will. Her only hope is to find the Dreamer’s Way that will lead her to the Golden City and safety. But the monsters have already attacked and wrapped their deadly tendrils around her. Even if she knew the location of the Dreamer’s Way, she has no way to get there…or does she?

Flita stood gingerly in the dank, cramped cell. She yearned to sit down, but couldn't bring herself to lower her body into the stagnant pool of water that covered the floor. Shuddering, she lifted first one foot then the other out of the water. A whole night in the dungeon stretched ahead of her, and then a vision appeared in front of her of a great, black cauldron filled with bubbling oil. The kettle moved towards her and she was held in place and could not move. As the oil moved closer, she could feel the heat from the tiny splatters that hit her skin. "No!" Flita cried. The vision vanished.

Reluctantly she crouched down, leaning her back against the slimy wall, gagging as the stench from the sludge flooded her nostrils. Her legs gave out totally beneath her, and she sat in the water and drew her knees up to her chest. "Branna! Eorin! Help me!" she prayed and then muttered, "Oh, what's the use? They won't listen to the prayers of a Dreamer!"
She was so cold. Perhaps she could create a vision of a fire to warm herself. Flita closed her eyes but she was just too tired. She couldn't conjure up even the tiniest of visions.

"We must help her!" Alodi cried. "We can't let her be executed."

Silvan paced the floor of their room. "I don't know what we can do. If she would only use her powers to escape, then we could bring her here."

"Can't we bring her here anyway?"

"No! She must come here by her own power. A Dreamer must not only have great power, but must show that she is willing and able to use it. Flita has the power, yes, but has shown no inclination to put it to use other than as a plaything for her imagination."

Alodi choked back a sob. "I can't just watch her die!"

Silvan made clenched his fists. "Damn that boy! He is totally unfit to be Tzeh Cher. If Vevine were well..." His voice trailed off.

Alodi caught her breath. "Perhaps we could reach her!"

Silvan frowned. "It would be risky. I'd have to get inside her mind somehow. I don't know that it's ever been done."

"But that doesn't mean it can't be done! I'm willing to take that chance!"

"We could kill her."

"She's dying anyway."
Silvan's eyes met Alodi's. He nodded slowly. "You're right, of course. I'll see what I can do."

"No. I'll do it. I can't ask you to take that risk."

"It's less of a risk for me. I'm a Seeker, remember. I'm used to searching for others' minds. Besides," Silvan paused and swallowed. "I used to know Vevine. She is not a stranger to me."

Alodi regarded him curiously. How little she knew of his life in the Protectorate, but now was certainly not the time to explore it further. "I will monitor you then," she said quietly.

Silvan lay down on the bed and closed his eyes. Alodi sat down beside him and prepared for a long vigil. What Silvan was about to try was extremely risky. It might not even be possible to get into Vevine’s mind, and once there, it might not be possible to get out. At the slightest indication that anything was wrong, Alodi would need to exert all her power to try to pull Silvan out of his vision. If she couldn't, then Flita, Silvan, and Vevine would all die. And she couldn't bear to lose three people so very dear to her.
A few of the dissidents stirred, and Alodi aimed her next words at them. "Come out with me now. It is your last chance. If you stay, you die."

"Can a Dreamer kill a Dreamer?" Kilian asked in a mocking tone.

"Not willingly, but yes, we will kill you." Alodi looked him steadily in the eye.

"Even your own daughter?"

Alodi hesitated. She looked beyond Kilian's broad shoulders to her daughter. "I don't want to kill anybody!" she said forcefully. "Flita, please, won't you come out with me now? Things can be better. They will be!"

Flita took a step forward. She looked from her mother' s hopeful face to Kilian's mocking one. Then, with a deep breath, she took Kilian's arm. "I will stay with him!" she said.

Alodi drew a deep breath. "Then you will die with him," she said quietly. She turned to the others in the room. "Who will come with me now?"

Professional Reviews

Haunted by Dreams
Title: The Dreamer’s Way
Author: Mari Atherton
Haunted by dreams.
We open up with Alodi, our heroine, denying she is a Dreamer. She knows the danger she would place her husband and daughter if anyone discovered this. Citizens living within the protective borders of the Protectorate (a safe haven against the poisonous air of the Outside) despise Dreamers, believing they are directly responsible for many deaths.

Visions come and go as they please until a particular one shows Alodi the end result if she remains alongside her family. Fearful her dream would turn to reality, she sets out on a journey, outside the Protectorate, to seek out the ‘good’ Dreamers and discover how to control and understand the visions that have disrupted her life.

Atherton does a remarkable job keeping the suspense up there. Although a fantasy book, the elements of romance, loss, and discovery are all present. Alodi comes to meet several characters who will become either her ally or her enemy…but she never figured her daughter would be the one on the opposition. Fighting against time, Alodi needs to somehow get to her daughter and make her see the light before all opposing Dreamers face execution.

I can see this book appealing not only to fantasy readers but also to those who love a good romantic pull and family drama. An excellent read.

Reviewer Lea Schizas – AllBooks Reviews

Lillian Cauldwell's Review
Good. Evil. Black. White. Perspectives.
Point-of-views. "Dreamer's Way" by Mari Atherton is a
bit of both. A blending of two worlds, dreaming and
reality. Which one is right? Which one is wrong?
Should Dreamers be sacrificed for the common good?
Should Protectorate turn the other cheek? Who chooses
who will live, and who will die?

The reader decides along with Alodi and Silvan, the
Dreamers, Tzech Cher Vevine and Swane, the rulers, and the
dissidents, Flita and Kilian, or is it Mera, the
temple priestess. 4 1/2 dreamers up - Lillian Cauldwell

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