My thanks to Crispina Kemp for providing me with a copy of Lake of Dreams in return for an honest review…
Lake of Dreams is the second book in The Spinner’s Game series by Crispina Kemp.
Quick Review (read on for full review)
Enchanting and magical, this historical fantasy series goes from strength to strength. The characters, setting and story kept my attention from the very beginning and did not let up until the last page. A fantastic read. Highly recommended! 5 / 5
Summary (from Goodreads)
Powerful visions… but can their dreams reveal the truth of Kerrid’s fantastical origins?
In the first book of The Spinner’s Game, Kerrid explored and developed her powers, gained a glimmering of what she might be, discovered the source of the accusatory voice, and worked to transform her status to that of a genuine shamanic wise-woman, able to enter the Spinner’s Otherworld Web. At the last, the Spinner tasked her with the eradication of Neka, the snake-demon. To do this she must understand the cause and the source of their Asaric nature.
The eldest of Gimmerin’s Asaric brothers also wishes to discover this source. But to join his quest Kerrid must gain the approval of all the brothers, hindered by Gimmerin’s repeated efforts to undermine her, and the strange pull she feels to the second-born brother, Jiar.
A unique and captivating story of a tapestry unravelling.
Set in the between-time, when hunter-gatherers turned to settled agriculture, when spirits and demons morphed to gods, the five books of The Spinner’s Game takes Kerrid’s story across continents and weaves through ages fraught with floods and droughts to become the prototype of our most ancient myths.
They had been boys, they hadn’t had to cling to their lives. They could be wolfmen, farfooting, a convenient cover for running away. She’d been a girl, to be wed or be dead.
(From Lake of Dreams by Crispina Kemp, chapter 7)
First, I love the book cover. The colours – that ice cold, crisp morning blue – really draws me in, making me want to read this book. And that tiger…amazing! I like the chosen text too: A quest from frozen wasteland to lake-bed slumbers…Can their dreams reveal the truth?
I read and reviewed the first book when the whole five-book series was first published earlier in the year (you can find that review here). I loved that book, and as I’ve previously mentioned, having beta-read the whole series, I fell in love with the characters, the story and the setting. So you can imagine how happy I was to be offered the chance to review book 2 (if you can’t, I was very, very, very happy!).
Lake of Dreams sees a change of location for Kerrid, leaving behind the village of her husband, Gimmerin, to trek northwards to the frozen lands where his brothers are waiting for him to join them. And, although Kerrid is not invited, it is her and not Gimmerin, who insists they go. Their welcome is to be as frosty as the world beyond their hide-and-bone dome…
Kerrid is growing in strength and knowledge in this instalment, and with both of those comes an increase in power and understanding. She has a lot to contend with, from the jealousy and possessiveness of her husband to the open hostility of some of the brothers. Then there are those who don’t necessarily like her, but desire her. Mixed in with all this, there is genuine love too, a connection that goes beyond explanation and comprehension, but one that cannot be ignored.
As for the Uissids, these brothers are funny and chaotic and difficult and impossible to manage, but their interactions – with Kerrid and each other – make for compulsive reading. To find the understanding and knowledge of their origins, and to complete the task given her by The Spinner, Kerrid must somehow make them accept her but how can this be done when there is so much conflict? Kerrid’s journey of learning does not only see her tread the paths of a wise-woman in the otherworldly web, as she must also learn to navigate and overcome the obstacles of the living. After Kerrid, my favourite character would have to be Jiar…
One of my favourite parts of the book was the descriptions. I loved how the landscape came to life, I could see it clearly, imagining it as if I was there. Then there’s the mythology, and the ancient history, the references to early cultures…Lake of Dreams is indeed a rich and rewarding read. It’s the sort of story I can easily get lost in, and quite happily so. There is a lyrical quality to the prose that I just find enchanting and magical.
Do you need to read the first book in the series, The Spinner’s Child, before reading this? Good question. I would say, ideally, yes. That story is wonderful in its own right, and it will ensure you understand Kerrid’s backstory and who the people are around her. However, is it absolutely necessary? Probably not, as the author does a great job of providing you with the information you need to know without burdening you with it. I believe if you choose to begin the story here, you will be able to follow it.
Although the book is not short, I managed to finish reading it within a couple of days, so hooked was I on the story. Every time a free moment appeared in my day, I would sneak in an extra chapter’s worth of reading…
The third book in the series is The Pole That Threads, and I am looking forward to reading and revisiting it, tremendously 🙂