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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

John Swan's In Your Dreams Gives Us a True Definition of Love

Update (9-17-2014): In Your Dreams has now been published. You can now find the link below the original review text!

Violet Eyes.

Untold Power.

A Naive and Scared Girl.

This is could be a recipe for disaster... but also a recipe for hope.

image courtesy John Swan and Natalie Spasic
Cover Art and Design by Natalie Spasic.

In Your Dreams, a fantasy, is the first installment of The Aldaya Series, written by John Swan.

So what's it about?

Long ago, long before anyone can remember, a great evil was imprisoned within the subterranean depths of Aldaya by the Esme, beings of great power and light. Once the free races of Aldaya were seen to be safe from this danger, the Esme all disappeared. Life was good for the people of Aldaya.

But now everything is changing. The fear-inspiring swamp mists are covering more land, and all those that enter them are lost. Evil once again appears to be gaining a foothold along the borders of the swamp. Towns are attacked by terrifying creatures, and governments are becoming distrustful of one another, leaving them open to further devastation.

Eolin knows that something dark and powerful is gaining strength, and fears the return of the evil that was long ago imprisoned. When he meets Mim, a violet eyed girl he has dreamed about since before she was even born, he becomes certain the land is in danger. 

I have to tell you... in the beginning, reviewing this particular ebook turned me into one big, twitchy ball of stress.


Well, this is the first ebook that I ever agreed to review sight unseen. I had a rough description, and I'd talked to Swan's publicist (a very sweet, fun woman), but I hadn't even seen a sample of the first few pages. We all know that I only post reviews of books that I consider good. Nothing so-so hits my blog, and nothing poorly written has even the slightest chance.

So what made me do it?

I'm not entirely sure. All I had when I offered to review this ebook was a slight feeling that this was going to be worth it. It was a gut feeling, and certainly not anything concrete, but I went with it. Hence the stress.

What I got was an advance review copy (ARC), and so far, In Your Dreams has yet to be published. Again, this is contrary to my norm. By this time, I was beginning to feel as though the stress was causing my hair to stand on end, which would have been very awesome if I was planning on going to a costume party dressed as a banshee, but not so awesome when all I was doing was sitting at home, reading.

But sometimes, moving outside of your comfort zone is a good thing.

I trusted my gut, and proved my theory that doing so will lead a person in the right direction. Anecdotal proof, perhaps, but we'll just politely ignore that, if that okay with you.

You see, this ebook did something that I found overwhelmingly impressive. While most books have a tendency to focus on the more sexual aspects of love, Swan didn't. Rather, he dug straight to the core, zeroing in on the true basis of love: mutual respect and trust.

In a fight between good and evil, a solid idea of love in its purest form is essential. 

Most writers, though doing a great job with it, fall short of that ideal, but Swan nails it. He shows the power of love for friends, for family, for a spouse, and even for a stranger. While vastly different, they all come from a place of respect and trust.

While hatred is the basis for every action committed by the enemy, love is at the heart of everything done by our heroes. Eolin is driven by his love for his assistant Chessa, for Mim, and for his husband. Mim is driven by her love for her friends.

I keep talking about love, but this ebook is a far cry from a romance. 

It's a high fantasy that comes straight from the author's heart. I really think his emotions bled out onto the pages, because the emotional weight of this story is intense.

Swan's writing ability is at its strongest when he composes dialogue, as well as when he describes the emotions that drive the characters. He has a deep understanding of the human heart, and actually...

He kinda makes me jealous.

Seriously. while his narrative didn't draw me in quite as much as I would have liked (especially in the prologue), his true ability to see the human heart as something beautiful, strong, and enduring took my breath away. I wish I had the ability to write such expressively true emotions.

His ebook gives me hope: Hope for a better, more loving, more accepting society. He wrote fiction... but gave us truth.

In Your Dreams is yet to be published, but you can follow the author on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. When he has a solid publishing date, you'll be the first to know if you do this!

Update (9-17-2014):
 In Your Dreams is now available on Kindle!

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