Kerstin Gier: Book of Dreams trilogy: Dream a little dream (2015), Dream on (2016), Just dreaming (tbp)
Kerstin Gier is a German author whose two trilogies have completely charmed me. The Gem trilogy is about time travel and the Dreams trilogy about a second reality in the world of dreams. Gier writes smoothly flowing prose and hooks up a reader from the page one.
Her stories mix fantasy with reality, have a female main character in her teens and of course a budding romance or two. Sounds familiar from a whole bunch of YA fiction, so what’s so special in Gier’s stories?
3 things separate them from the mass:
- Authentic description of the life of teens. The plots are fantastical and family life lacks any serious problems. Yet, there is an authenticity that is definitely lacking from so many other similar series. Maybe the best way to describe it, is to call it unpolished.
- Europeanness. These books are clearly and wonderfully European.
- Fresh optimism. These books are essentially feel-good books. There’s mystery, action, suspense, romance and danger, but the overall feel is still happiness. Life is good, even if there are problems and hick-ups in the way. And sometimes it’s just good to feel good.
Liv is not just dreaming…
Book of Dreams trilogy’s main character is 16 year old Liv, who moves with her mother and little sister Mia and their ”nanny” Lottie to England. Liv is an independent, but somewhat scatty type of girl, who’s moved around the world with her family. Mia is a perfect sidekick to her with a kind of irony and quick wit so often present in a preteen girl. Lottie takes the place of warmhearted mother figure while Liv’s real mother is hoping her daughter would take up a bit wilder teenage existence in her footsteps.
She shouldn’t worry too much on Liv getting bored, though. Soon Liv discovers a second reality in her dreams, where she meets some of her new school mates. The dream world is exciting, but gets quickly completely out of hand. Well, just imagine that you’d actually shared the same dream with the people in it… and they would remember it just as well as you on the next day.
The problems with school, new friends, romance and family clash between the day world and the dream world. Gier weaves a net of mysteries, which tightens book by book and gets even a wee bit too tangled.
Gier’s superb description of relationships and characters makes the story shine. Liv, and all the characters surrounding her, have their own unique personalities. There is no love triangle, which is refreshing, but the relationship between Liv and Henry goes through some very relatable and real problems. What perhaps makes these problems even more tangible is, that they are not caused by rivaling boyfriend candidates, but stem from the inner workings of the pair. Insecurities, misunderstandings and miscommunication. Yet, Gier hands them out in perfect portions, not causing irritation over overtly clueless characters. In the last book the problems of Liv’s relationship with Henry are all caused by her own insecurities and create some incredibly humorous situations. In this book Mia really comes into her own and has a crucial part in solving the mysteries and fighting the villains – just like a reincarnation of Miss Marple should.
I would warmly recommend this series, as every part of the trilogy has left me looking for the next, at the same time thoroughly happy of the time I’ve spent in the world created by Kerstin Gier.
”Liv’s dreams are becoming more and more dangerous and the relationship with Henry needs working up too. Somehow they have ended up in a situation, where Henry thinks Liv is incredibly experienced in all aspects of life, although that is not at all the case. A lot is happening at the home front too: Liv’s mother is getting remarried, which is causing all kinds of headaches. On top of all this, Arthur – hungry for revenge – is not only causing damage by night, but he has discovered a way to control people also outside the dream world. Liv really has her hands full, as she tries to stay alive both in the real and dream world.” (Translation from the Finnish version of Just dreaming: ”Liitto”.)