Early Review: Between by Kerry Schafer

, by Kt Clapsadl

Between by Kerry Schafer
The Between #1

Vivian Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours.

All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes—forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real.

And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once—a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control…

Going without sleep isn't the smartest choice for an ER doctor, but closing her eyes isn't an option for Vivian Maylor. Whenever she sleeps, the dreaming world starts to seep into her waking one, making horrific things a reality. She's terrified that she's following her insane mother's footsteps. But all of that changes when a patient starts screaming about Dragons and then literally turns to ash before her eyes. She realizes that her dreams may actually be a reality, one she may not be able to escape from.

Getting to my style issues that didn't quite jive with BETWEEN: I'm a huge fan of Urban Fantasy, but not so much of pure fantasy. I like a bit of fantasy and paranormal mixed with a modern world in my books rather than a completely made up world. The reasoning behind that is that Urban Fantasies tend to have a good mix of normal and paranormal, whereas in High Fantasy, the world behind the story, and all of its "rules" can become overwhelming. I have to admit that there were several times while reading BETWEEN where I found myself lost in the descriptions or explanations, especially as I started to skim over the lengthy ones. I realize that the description does talk about the Dreamworlds, but I honestly wasn't expecting the very large majority of the book to take place in one of those worlds. I had thought there would have been more of a mix, or some traveling back and forth, rather than Vivian pretty much staying put once she got to this other world. So, I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed once I realize what pattern the book would follow.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't seem to connect with the characters in BETWEEN. Perhaps it's because I was already stumbling over the complicated world, but I just couldn't seem to really get into anything that was happening with the characters. Even worse, there were confusing elements of duplicate characters. Even after finishing this book, I'm still not sure what was going on there as it wasn't really explained at all. In fact, despite my stating about the lengthy descriptions, I still don't have much of a clue about what is really going on with the characters or the world, especially Vivian. She was thrown into this world like a fish out of water. It was sink or swim, and despite the ending I'm honestly not sure which one she did.

This was a very difficult review for me to write, as my issues with the book were more due to a stylistic preference rather than any real fault with the book. These situations are very frustrating for me as I don't want to give a book a poor rating just because it wasn't in my preferred style range, but I also cannot give it a higher rating because that wouldn't be honest. Unfortunately, I was frustrated more than not while reading this book, which just didn't make the book very enjoyable for me, and leaves me with no choice but to give a lower rating. While BETWEEN didn't really work for me, I think there still is a really good framework there, and Fantasy fans should be more than pleased with this new series.

(Received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley)

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