Series: The Waking #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books on September 29th 2009
Kara’s afraid to go to sleep—until the nightmares come when she’s awake . . . . Sixteen-year-old Kara Foster is an outsider in Japan, but is doing her best to fit at the private school where her father is teaching English for the year. Fortunately she’s befriended by Sakura, a fellow outsider struggling to make sense of her sister’s unsolved murder some months ago. No one seems to care about the beautiful girl who was so brutally murdered, and the other students go on as if nothing has happened. Unfortunately, the calm doesn’t last for long. Kara begins to have nightmares, and soon other students in the school turn up dead, viciously attacked by someone . . . or something. Is Sakura getting back at those she thinks are responsible for her sister’s death? Or has her dead sister come back to take revenge for herself?
Dreams of the Dead has been sitting on my bookcase for probably over a year. Every time I looked at it, I was not sure it was going to be a book for me. It was not until I read the summary for the second book in the series that I felt the calling to dive into Dreams of the Dead's pages. The tale starts off with a haunting beginning: "Akane Murakami died for a boy she did not love." From there, I was hooked.
Dreams of the Dead's main selling point is its focus on Japanese history. Having studied Japanese language and history in college plus having a very healthy love of manga / anime, I was completely at home in this novel. Randall beautifully describes not only the scenery but also everything about the Japanese culture. Throughout the whole novel, I felt like I was right there beside Kara, taking everything in as she did.
Truth be told, I loved this book. Didn't think that I would.. but I absolutely did. From the very first page, I could not put it down. And when I found that I absolutely had to, my brain kept going back to it. Wondering what would happen to Kara and her friends next. Wondering what was it that was lurking in the shadows. Now, this book may not be for everyone. But for those that love a great spooky story or Japanese culture, this book will have glued to its pages to the very end. And craving more. I know I am!