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Dormia Paperback – 20 July 2010
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About the Author
- Publisher : Sandpiper; Reprint edition (20 July 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 506 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0547328877
- ISBN-13 : 978-0547328874
- Reading age : 10 - 12 years
- Dimensions : 13.02 x 3.48 x 19.37 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 713,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The journey of Alfonso is fun and engaging. The premise of (essentially) being a super hero when you sleep is unique, and Halpern evokes it well, along with the many twists such abilities entail. His supporting characters are fun - I personally like Vice Admiral Purcheesee - and the mechanism of the Dormian's powers is also very interesting, as is the antagonist Nartem.
All-in-all a fun book, clever in its execution, and leaves you excited for the next book...which I've just downloaded. I trust it will be as compelling as the first!
The premise seemed to hold some promise. Dormians, while sleeping, display stunning physical and mental powers. Alfonso is exceptional even for a Dormian. Unfortunately, the premise is driven into the ground and becomes silly and tiresome very early on. There is a lot of napping and drowsing and sleep walking, which is no more interesting than that sounds. And, ultimately, the sleeping angle becomes just an annoying distraction, and the book becomes a not very engaging generic super-hero kid fantasy.
This might be OK if we had interesting characters. But these characters are so one dimensional that they are indistinguishable. If you just read lines of dialogue, you wouldn't be able to tell if the speaker was the twelve year old hero, or his Mom, or his Grandfather, or his Uncle. They all have the same voice, and mostly they communicate in either simple declarative sentences or lengthy and convoluted paragraphs of exposition. This is in distinction to secondary characters who use stock cliches to establish themselves. The sea captain uses "sailor talk", ("oh, tarnation"), the muscle uses standard "tough guy" talk", the villain expresses himself in "bad guy talk", and so on.
The silly premise and meaningless characters are not helped by plotting that turns almost exclusively on coincidences. When escape is necessary, well the neighboring farmer happens to own a rebuilt aircraft that just happens to be gassed up and ready to go. Puzzles are all solved in half a page. Every question is answered by finding a scrap of paper, or an antique book, or a mysterious stranger, who explains everything. That sort of thing. Every few pages.
The upshot is that this is really just a wildly overlong chapter book that's not much more advanced than books along the lines of the Droon type chapter books. At over 500 pages I don't know who the book is for. It's way too long for a brand new reader, but it's way too simple, thin and unrewarding for a more advanced beginning reader.
My daughter's class met the author and he was funny and very interesting. Mr. Halpern acted out one scene and after that she could not wait to read the book. He pretended to be the lead character, Alfonso, and suddenly the book came alive to the children.
They refer to the helm of a ship as "the steering wheel"...in a hallowed out iceberg where people live, there's a stream at the bottom...wouldn't that eventually wear away the bottom of it? Alfonso is all googly-eyed over Resuza and there is really no connection between them whatsoever. They hardly really ever talked to each other. And if I see the phrase "of some sorts" one more time, I'm going to scream.
Kiril's attitude went from Golum-like to a sort of mirror of Hill, which I guess could make sense because he's a troubled man, but the lack of consistency was weird to read. There are many other various sorts of logic-gaps, making Dormia just a fun, light read.
This book was okay...a fun adventure for middle-schoolers. Most of the ideas and settings in the story were interesting, like the final battle, the plant and Dormia itself... The characters, however- Resuza, Bilbox, Hill, Spack, Alfonso, the General and the rest- were less cool. In fact, I didn't particularly like any of the characters. They were unique and slightly interesting, but ultimately annoying.