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Scapemaker - Steve V. Cypert Scapemaker takes place in a world were some people, known as “Dreamscapers”, are born with the ability to enter a dream world in which monsters and myths are real. Although Matthew’s father teaches dreamscaping, Matthew is unaware of the existence of Dreamscapers until his father’s mysterious descent into a coma forces him to learn. He quickly finds that his father’s coma was caused by events in the dreamworld, events which have left a powerful talisman his father was guarding unprotected. Now Matthew must act as guardian and try to free his father before it’s too late.

I really liked the premise behind Scapemaker. The mythology built up in the story was fairly novel, but included enjoyably recognizable elements. The plot was a standard one, with a purely evil bad guy and a chosen hero who must stop him. I think there’s a reason that sort of story is the standard though. It’s just so enjoyable to watch an underdog hero grow into his powers and take out a bad guy you can love to hate!

The execution, unfortunately, was not as good as the ideas. The dialogue often felt stiff and unnatural to me, while the exposition was done by having the characters give unbelievably long back stories. There was also a lot of telling instead of showing. For example, Matthew’s mother is introduced as “Matthew’s loving mother” when she could instead be shown to act in a loving way. I also felt like the ending only worked because of a lack of internal consistency, with the bad guy only losing because he didn’t use all the tools at his disposal. However, I’m sure the writing for the next book will be more polished and there was a lot to like in this book. The world is creative and I can’t wait to learn more about it. The characters are believable and act realistically – plus, a male protagonist! I don’t feel like we get enough of that in middlegrade and YA books. Overall, I’m definitely excited to see where the next book goes.

This review first published on Doing Dewey.