Friday, May 28, 2010

The Dreamer by Lora Innes

Beatrice "Bea" Whately is a typical High School senior. Interested in Drama and working on the school play, Bea's mostly absentee parents are away a lot of the time, and she has a serious crush on one of her classmates, a Boy named Ben Cato, who also happens to be the star Quarterback.

But one night, Bea dreams of the American Revolution, of a man dressed in a redcoat who kisses her and tells her he thought she was dead. The dream is so real and vivid, that the day seems to pass in a fog. But when she goes to the auditorium to try out for the play as Juliet, she is surprised by none other than the object of her crush, Ben Cato!

He's there to try out for the play also- he injured his knee last year, so after this final year of school, he won't be able to play any more. Not only does he seem to like her, but he asks her out, and she's so flustered that all she's able to say is "maybe".

That night, she once again dreams of the American Revolution, and the soldier she kissed before gets her off a ship and takes her to shore, where is captured by American soldiers, who don't believe him when he tells them to take him to Captain Nathan Hale, who is the only one who knew what he was doing.

Bea learns that the young man who rescued her is named Alan Warren, but when she passes out in her dream, she wakes up back in her bed, and its morning. At school, she approaches her cousin Ben to ask him to be her date at the show her mom is opening at the museum. He tells her to ask Ben- he doesn't want to go with her, and he's not liking her passive-agressive, or cowardly, approach to Ben Cato.

Eventually, she does ask him, but once again falls asleep while waiting for him to come over- and is plunged back into the world of her dreams, where she in an American camp. Alan is a member of Knowlton's Rangers, and as for Bea, nathan Hale wants to quiz her about what she learned while she was a prisoner on General Howe's ship, but Bea has to confess that she doesn't remember a thing. She doesn't even remember Alan, and they have supposedly known each other for several years.

Alan finds out from Hale about Bea not knowing him, and he's depressed for a while. But then things look up. If she doesn't remember him, she also can't remember all the beastly ways he tormented her when they were just kids. Bea thinks that's amusing, but tells him not to push his luck.

It starts to rain, and Alan takes her back to camp. But his Captain must send him back out into danger, and with his bravery proven after the daring raid that Alan carried out in getting Bea back and setting fire to several of Howe's ships, he wants to promote Alan, who, reluctantly agrees. As a condition, he wants Bea sent back to her father's house, but Boston isn't safe. As a compromise, Alan wants her sent to the camp of his brother, where she'll be safe caring for the sick and wounded.

Bea wakes up again when Ben comes to pick her up and take her to the museum opening. But while at the museum, she has a fight with her cousin, who acts like a jerk to her. Going into another room to cool down, she sees a painting set at a place called Breed's Hill, that shows the death of a Major-General Warren, and Bea is shocked, and a little bit frightened.

The people she's been dreaming about are real. And Bea suddenly can't wait to get back home and plunge into her dreams to try and save Alan Warren from she fears might be his death in the Battle of Breed's Hill. But can she find him in time?

This was a very well-done and effective comic. The story was great, the characters were interesting, and you could genuinely feel Bea's confusion over why she is suddenly having these amazingly vivid dreams of the Revolutionary War. At the beginning, we don't know much more than she does- just that she dreams of Alan Warren kissing her, he says "beatrice, I thought you were dead." and she wakes up.

She finds it a little distracting- who wouldn't? Especially since most people don't remember their dreams at all on waking. But the fact that the dreams show continuity is a little worrying. By the end of the book, it's much the same- we still don't know why she is having these dreams, and who Bea Whately is in the Revolution. I was thinking that she was inhabiting the body of an ancestor or something, but I have no reason to really think that. There are simply no clues.

At the end of the book, Bea is still shocked that all the people she is interacting with are real people, and that what she is dreaming actually happened. She tells her friend that the people she is dreaming is real, and the graphic novel ends there, leaving us in suspense. But I couldn't wait to read more, even if the only comic shop I know of in my area went out of business. So I guess I'll have to wait.

With a taut, excellent story that grips you from the get-go, I definitely recommend "The Dreamer". I want to see what happens, and what is going on. The Revolutionary War is one of those areas that should receive more interest than it actually does- the Civil War as well, and not just in those dry, period films. A winner. Highly recommended.

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