Review: Between by Kerry Schafer

January 31, 2014 3 stars, Book Review 7 ★★★


Vivian Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours.

All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes–forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real.

And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once–a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control…

Dragons, Dreams and an evil sorceress. All this and more is in store for readers when they pick up Between.

With a fascinating premise and promising start I was pulled right in to this story. There was mystery, and a touch of madness and death, so how could my interest not be peaked?

Vivian recently relocated to a small town and is now a local emergency room doctor. But she can’t escape the feeling of responsibility towards her mother who has always been unstable and is now in a care home.

She has always had an issue with dreams and sleeping, partly from ramblings she constantly heard from her mother growing up, but lately her dreams have become worse and strange things start happening in her waking life as well. Soon Vivian meets a man named Zee who runs the local bookstore and she swears she has always known him in her dreams. He shares his thoughts on dreams with her and some very odd information. This coupled with the news of her grandfathers death and her mothers disappearance quickly throw things into turmoil for her.

The way Between started I really believed it was going to be an urban fantasy, but it really felt more like a traditional fantasy. A short ways into the book Vivian enters the dream or between world and the rest of the book pretty much takes place there in a more fantasy setting with a castle, servants, dragons, warlord, impoverished prince, an evil queen and a just as wicked man from Vivian’s real life.

I was fine with this fantasy setting as I love traditional fantasy. But I definitely think some readers might be surprised by it if they were expecting urban fantasy as I was. While I enjoyed the book there were a few things that kept me from enjoying it more. At time Vivian is portrayed as this really strong character and yet she doesn’t portray strong behavior. She mostly flows along with everything that is happening to her and really doesn’t make any real progress that comes from herself. I felt that Zee has more presence of personality in his very few chapters than Vivian did the entire book. Whether it was due to her personality or lack of oomph, I was left feeling completely disconnected from her.

My only other bone to pick was the dream and between world. The rules just weren’t there. This became a problem for me such that I started to pick at it in my own head constantly. I completely get that dreams might not have any rules but I always need some firmer guidelines for my mind to work within when reading a story that doesn’t run in the same reality as my own. Usually those guidelines are gently given in the details of the story itself as you’re shown the world over the course of the book. Things here instead only puzzled me and had what I felt were mild contradictions. But I might be over-thinking things.

Between is most definitely a promising start to a new series that I look forward to continuing. I often find when starting a new series that the first book has the chance of being shaky with me – but then I grow to seriously enjoy it as I move through the next book. I anticipate that will be the case here as the groundwork the author laid still really peaks my interest.

Between (The Between #1)

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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7 Responses to “Review: Between by Kerry Schafer”

  1. melliane

    It’s too bad for Vivian… but I’m also curious about the book, I loved the ideas in it but I still need to read it. I have it since its release and I just need the time to read it now. But well it seems nice so I hope I’ll like it too. Hope the second is better.
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I think you will like this one – I know you read alot of urban fantasy right? This would be a good fit for you because this one takes place in the dream world but I believe the second book takes place in the real world. So it might end up being a nice balance. I’m looking forward to the next.

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I liked the switch over to fantasy. I love traditional fantasy as much as I do urban fantasy. But I know some people like you prefer one over the other and don’t like going in expecting one thing and get something almost completely different. Anya who’s read book 2 already said its worlds better than the first and I really am looking forward to reading it tomorrow!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      It was so fun having someone to chat with about it along the way! Seems I still didn’t connect with her though in book two. But RED DELICIOUS I just finished reading this morning I ADORED!! Quinn is so kick ass.