Twelve-year-old Moll wakes one night in the middle of the forest, seemingly brought there by a recurring nightmare of drums, rattles and masks. The Dreamsnatcher has already invaded her dreams, now he wants her life. But why? What is so important about Moll? What are the Oracle Bones? Who were her parents and why did they die? And why has a wildcat chosen her as a companion?
This is brilliantly engrossing world-building. Moll is courageous yet vulnerable. Adopted by a gypsy camp, she's never really felt as if she belongs. Her friend Siddy, with his pet worm, is the only person she's ever felt she could trust. But then she meets Alfie — he's one of the enemy, so why does he seem to be helping her?
Elphinstone's writing is taut, fast-paced, but not at the expense of characterisation or vividly descriptive scene-setting. I was sucked into Moll's world and found myself racing through chapters so I could find out what happened. However, this is the first book in a series, so while there is a resolution of sorts, much is left to be told in the next book, only due out in 2016.
A great deal of hype surrounds The Dreamsnatcher and it's clear that Abi Elphinstone is being marketed as 'the next big thing'. I'll reserve judgement on that for now, but this is a great read that I highly recommend. It also comes with one of the most beautiful book trailers I've seen, which you can watch here.
Title: The Dreamsnatcher
Author: Abi Elphinstone
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, $14.99 RRP
Publication Date: March 2015
For ages: 9+
Type: Middle Fiction