Dream Waters follows the unlikely adventures of Charlie Oliver. Charlie finds himself in a mental institution, locked away by his mother. The only issue is that Charlie has no mental issues, he is Sighted. Able to see both the Waking World and the realm of Dreams, the appearance of any person he comes across can either be their real one or the horrific Dream version. Trapped in the sterile walls of the loony bin, Charlie settles into a complacent life of badgering the doctors and riling up patients. Until . . . Emma strolls in and turns everything upside down. What follows is a strange love triangle involving Emma, her husband, and Charlie that spans both worlds. As Charlie struggles to protect Emma, a truth is revealed and new players saunter on the stage in the first book of the Dream Waters series.
Charlie’s story is a unique one. The story cherry picks elements from various genres; fairy tales, urban fantasy, romance, drama, and adventure. The end result is deceptively simple, but eagerly engaging. Jensen alternates chapters with different character points of view to amazing effect. Allowing the reader to see the story unfold from varied perspective keeps the plot humming. The characters are fairly well realized, especially the crotchety Nellie and erratic Bob (a heart-warming side story that hopefully continues in the next book(s)). The heart of the story is the dynamic between Emma and her husband and Emma and Charlie. While Emma is locked away and begins a relationship with Charlie, she experiences intense intimacy with her husband in the surreal Dream World.
Despite some minor, but distracting, formatting/editing issues, Dream Waters is a breath of fresh air in the urban fantasy genre. It artfully blends reality and dreams into a waking daydream, one that lulls readers in. Like the Waters used to travel between the worlds, Dream Waters carries readers to strange realms but remains grounded in harsh reality. Delightful and tense, this is fantastic start to a new series.
Erin A. Jensen
Dream Waters Publishing