Book Review: Sandman Chronicles: The Gates of Olympia
"There's no such thing as monsters. All the things you were afraid of as a child aren't real. There's nothing under your bed. The thing that wakes you up in the middle of the night, heart racing, it's just a bad dream, and dreams don't come true. There's nothing to be afraid of."
Until there is.
The Sandman Chronicles: The Gates of Olympia by S.L. Barrie is the first book in a series that takes you on a journey with members of The Order, a group of young people led by Murphy (Morpheus) in an effort to keep the stuff of nightmares at bay.
Barrie takes this first book in her Sandman Chronicles series to introduce you to her main characters. She skillfully takes turns giving you a bird's eye view in the their world, looking through their own eyes. It's a unique way to introduce the characters, and really helps you begin to understand their personalities, although their motivations and hinted at skill sets have yet to be fully revealed.
Based on legends, lore, and gods of mythology, the characters, places, and creatures give you the feeling you are on a journey similar to that of Odysseus in The Iliad or The Odyssey. This is a little more mature than the Percy Jackson series, but not hard to follow or understand, making this book a great series starter for readers that are fascinated by all things mythology.
I found the book a little hard to get into at first, only because it is so focused on introducing the characters that the plot gets a little buried. However, it is hard not to get invested in these characters, and being invested keeps you going. The plot begins to reveal itself as something deep and ongoing. There are a few grammatical errors - mainly a few pronouns that are mismatched, but overall, nothing that slows down the narrative or confuses the reader.
My favorite character is unsuspecting Mara, who at first glance is just a regular college kid with a very specific fascination with dreams, until her own dreams begin to take on a life of their own. I have a great many suspicions about her role in the story as a whole, and am eager to see the secrets she uncovers about The Order, her school, and her own past in the next books in the series.
I am especially impressed by the groundwork Barrie lays within this first book that sets the reader up for the next book. While I am not a huge fan of cliffhangers, Barrie ended book one in such a way that I am not angry or frustrated, confident in the characters themselves, that they will be able to handle whatever comes next - a journey I am eager to explore with them.
You can get a copy of the Sandman Chronicles: The Gates of Olympia on Amazon in paperback or eBook, and if you have a Kindled Unlimited account, you can read for free!
Be sure to check out S.L. Barrie's author page, and follow her for new releases and information on her other books in the Sandman Chronicles series. You can also find her on Goodreads.com
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