Since their parents’ strange disappearance several years ago, 12-year-old twins Mei and Yun have been raised by their grandfather, who makes the best mooncakes around using a secret ingredient.
On the day of the Mid-Autumn Harvest Festival, the emperor sends his son to sample Grandpa’s renowned mooncakes—but instead of tasting wonderful, they are horrible and bitter, strangely mirroring the odd, gloomy atmosphere and attitudes that have been washing over the village in the last few days. Grandpa is arrested for insulting and harming the prince, and Mei and Yun realize they are the only two people who will come to Grandpa’s aid.
The twins set out on foot for the long journey to the emperor’s palace where Grandpa’s being taken, but a surprising stop in the eerie City of Ashes, a visit with the legendary, mystical Jade Rabbit, and an encounter with a powerful poet whose enchanted words spread curses, influence just how Mei and Yun will manage to clear their grandfather’s name.
I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
If you are looking for an action-packed, sweeping adventure that will keep you entertained and intrigued with its historical, fantasy, and even mystery elements, then look no further than The Dreamweavers, a lovely middle-grade historical fantasy releasing next month!
Today, I want to share five wonderful reasons to read this exciting new middle-grade novel. I had a lot of fun reading The Dreamweavers, and I think this is a book that younger readers will absolutely love.
1. An exciting and action-packed historical fantasy adventure
When Yun and Mei’s grandparent is kidnapped, the siblings must journey all the way to the emperor’s palace to save him – and along the way, they must lift the curse from the City of Ashes and powerful poet whose curse is spreading across the land.
As well as being a fantasy, readers will enjoy the historical setting, its fast-paced action, its daring sense of adventure across the cursed City of Ashes and also the emperor’s grand palace. In other words, I loved how all these different elements come together, creating a story that is exciting and different. Schmidt has a way with creating the right atmosphere too, and the story’s setting paired with its different story elements will immerse readers into its story.
2. A story inspired by Chinese mythology and folklore
The Dreamweavers is rich with Chinese mythology and influences from Chinese folklore – and I loved how personal the influences felt as well. From allusions and gorgeous imagery that alludes to Chang’e and to the powerful Jade Rabbit, I loved how The Dreamweavers is a fresh take on these timeless stories. Furthermore, if you are looking for a read for Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Mooncake Festival, then The Dreamweavers is the perfect read.
3. Sibling protagonists who go from strength to strength
I loved that The Dreamweavers featured sibling protagonists! While Mei reacts to things emotionally and can be both brazen and brave, Yun is logical, analytical, and knows when to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
I love stories that center on sibling relationships, but, more, I loved that both Mei and Yun work together as a team. Even if they annoy one another, disagree with each other, or even argue with one another, at the end of the day, they have each other and have each other’s backs and can build on each other’s strengths!
4. The story’s magical elements are dreamy and like poetry
The most unique aspect of The Dreamweavers is its take on magic. For instance, I liked the mysterious magical power to manipulate dreams that the siblings possess. Without spoiling too much, dreams are integral to Chinese folktales and mythology, as dreams are often thought to foretell a person’s fortune or misfortune – and I loved that Schmidt adds another layer to her adventure story with a magical power related to dreams (hence the book’s title).
Moreover, I enjoyed the story’s use of poetry and how it intertwines with fate and fortune. I loved how the story utilises poetry as something that is beautiful and lyrical, and also something that is funny and humorous!
5. Ultimately a story about love
At the heart of this story, The Dreamweavers is a story about love; it’s about the love between two siblings who have lost so much, the enduring love and nurturing of grandparents for grandchildren, and likewise the love that grandchildren have for their grandparents. It’s also about the power of love lost and betrayal and the shadow of grief, and it’s also about love between new friends.
MY CONCLUSION: RECOMMENDED
Is this book for you?
Premise in a sentence: Two kids set off to save their grandfather from being mistakenly arrested and journey to the emperor’s palace to save him, but along the way must lift the curse of a city and help a Jade Rabbit.
Perfect for: younger readers who enjoy action-packed reads; younger readers looking for a Chinese-influenced story; readers looking for something to read during Mid-Autumn/Mooncake Festival
Think twice if: you are looking for a story that is more mature or for older audiences
Genre: middle-grade fantasy adventure
Trigger/content warning: missing parent