Tuesday 27 May 2014

Messenger (Behind The Walls of Sleep Book 1) - Scott Rhine

Title: Messenger (Behind The Walls of Sleep Book 1)
Author: Scott Rhine
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2014
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK

“Messenger” by Scott Rhine is the first book in his YA fantasy series entitled “Behind the Walls of Sleep”. It is Rhine’s first attempt at writing for the YA market and I can easily see how it could tap into the mind-set of online game playing teens the world over. The story follows Daniel, a young teenager who has suffered a terrible accident in his past which led to his mother going to prison and his movement between foster families before his unknown relatives took him in. Whilst living with them, Daniel soon discovers that whilst he dreams he can pass through into another world reminiscent of a roleplaying video game where wizards and barbarians roam. However, before long it becomes clear that what he is doing in one world is upsetting people in the other and Daniel’s life is far from being safe in either place.

My first impressions of the book was that the sections in the dreaming world really did feel like I was following someone’s adventure in a game such as World of Warcraft with respawn points, loot, NPC style characters and quests clearly evident throughout. All you would have needed to was switch the going to sleep for powering on the PC and it would have easily fit. The interesting bit here is that I found most of the charters in this world to be rather flat and uninspiring but I actually found that this enhanced that online game feel and made it all feel very familiar.

The real meat of the story to me however was in the real world; it was here that I found some more development in the characters which contrasted wonderfully with the dream world. It is also here that Rhine really tries to tap into the YA writing elements of showing Daniel’s attempts at discovering who he is and what he wants to truly wants become.

It was actually nice to see Rhine slowdown his pacing with this book as many times in the past I have found his work to quickly launch the reader from one fast paced section to the other which can be fun to follow but does sometimes leave the reader feeling dizzy. Yes, the dream world still seems a bit madcap and fast but this worked due to the nature of the world itself and was again wonderfully contrasted by a slower and further developed real world story.

My biggest issue with the story is the ending which left me feeling rather disappointed as it is all rather sudden without any real resolutions. I know it is setting up for the sequel but I do still like to see some sort of reasoned ending to a book in any series and I felt that this was missing from this novel.

Overall, this was a very different book from what I have seen before from Rhine which was actually nice to see. I think he has done a great job in trying to reach the YA audience, especially those who enjoy online gaming and fantasy adventures. Personally, whilst I am not the target audience I still appreciated the story, helped along I am sure by my own love of gaming so I know that I will be picking up the sequel when it is released.


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