The Queen of Dreams by Peter Hamilton

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The Queen of Dreams by Peter Hamilton

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Enjoyable fantasy adventure for middle grade readers. Lots of imagination and invention but sophisticated readers may find it a little twee in places.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: January 2014
Publisher: Doubleday
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0857533819

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Taggie and Jemima head off to spend a couple of weeks holidaying on their dad's farm. Much as the girls would like their parents to get back together, they know it's not going to happen. So they look forward to a fortnight of strawberry picking in the sunshine with their kindly, slightly eccentric father.

But things don't go to plan. Jemima gets a shock when she sees a squirrel wearing glasses. She gets an even bigger shock when the squirrel speaks to her. Then Dad gets a strange visitor. Taggie shouldn't be able to see him but she can. And THEN the garden gnomes come to life. And before the girls can save him, Dad is captured and pulled down through the well into a faerie land covered in darkness.

Taggie and Jemima discover that there's a great deal their parents haven't told them. But can they use their newly discovered powers to save their father from the King of Night?

There are a great many things to like about The Queen of Dreams. It's beautifully written in clear and accessible prose that also manages to do some vocabulary stretching. The worldbuilding is imaginative and hangs together perfectly. I believed in it and I can be a picky reader, but I loved the various realms that Hamilton has created here. The action also comes thick and fast so that nobody has a chance to be bored. The two central characters in sisters Taggie and Jemima are well-drawn and relatable, each with a very different approach to adventure. I was most drawn to Jemima, the seer. And the secondary characters are wonderful - vicious, fanged gnones, geeky squirrels and many more. The whole book is a treasure trove of invention and many junior fans of fantasy will love it.

However, the tone can be a tiny bit twee at times, perhaps even a little old-fashioned. I was put in mind of Enid Blyton more than I was of contemporary middle grade fantasies by Eoin Colfer or Ali Sparkes or Jon Berkeley. Bear this in mind if you're looking for something with a little edginess.

Overall, though, The Queen of Dreams comes recommended by Bookbag. It's pacy and fun and exciting, full of interesting characters, and set in a wonderfully realised fantasy landscape. It ticks all the boxes.

For another adventure in a magical world, try The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell.

Buy The Queen of Dreams by Peter Hamilton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Queen of Dreams by Peter Hamilton at

Buy The Queen of Dreams by Peter Hamilton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Queen of Dreams by Peter Hamilton at


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