I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Ja-Mel Vinson’s forthcoming novel, “Dreamer.”
Time constraints limit my ability to fully delve into the structural elements of the novel, but I’ll hit all the main points here.
Vinson builds a complex and compelling world from the first chapter. His imagery is vivid and sometimes brilliantly abstract, while still being comprehensible. In many ways, it read like a standard fantasy novel, touching on familiar tropes and character archetypes, mainly the hero and their loyal retainers. In other ways, it read like an abstract painting, taking me through disorienting sequences.
I appreciate stories that take on big concepts and fascinating moral dilemmas and show me how a real, dynamic person would handle them. Vinson does this in spades. His main and supporting characters are products of changing information, shifting realities, and their own rapidly evolving sense of selves.
Maya reads like any teenager or new adult struggling to find her own power. Her journey is a relatable one, despite the fantastic and surreal setting and events. I think many new adults could see themselves in this book, either through Maya or her double, Lucent.
It features a bisexual main character and non-heteronormative supporting characters.
Non-heteronormative main characters are slowly becoming more common in fiction, and I’m pleased to see young adult and new adult/coming of age fiction trending in that direction as well. Our protagonist in the story, Maya, is bisexual. Rosemary, another character, identifies as lesbian. While Vinson doesn’t make it a major point of the story, they’re welcome details that create for dynamic, relatable characters.
It’s the first in the series and a strong start for Vinson.
“Dreamer” is book one in the Dream Come True series. It’s 210 pages, classified as “fantasy” and “new adult fantasy” and currently available for pre-order through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It will be officially released on March 19th, 2019.
Vinson will be promoting “Dreamer” on Radina Valova’s Instagram on February 23rd.