After waiting for over three years, I’m so excited to report that Janet and Mick are back! The fifth Stormwalker book opens with Janet and Mick on a date. Their fortune cookies contain dire messages that Janet must go help her half-sister (same evil goddess mother), Gabrielle. From there, things only get more chaotic and dangerous as Emmett Smith, the evil mage from the previous book, is back. As the Ununculous - the most powerful mage in existence - he kills anyone who would be his competition, and he desperately wants Janet and Mick’s magic mirror.
Dreamwalker is a wonderful addition to one of my favorite series. Although it’s been a while since the previous book, I was able to submerse myself completely into the world without feeling like I forgot anything. Ms. James does a great job tying in important facts without it feeling like a rehash of the entire series.
One of the best things about the Stormwalker series is the ensemble cast of characters who surround the protagonist, Janet. From the love of her life, dragon shifter Mick, to her powerful sister. From her wiccan hotel manager to the vampire resident. From her watchful grandmother to her loving father. From the contrary, mysterious Coyote god to the magically null police officer. The list goes on and on. Each character adds so much to the setting of the story and helps create a home for Janet, as well as the reader. Each person has his/her place in the overall tale; no superfluous fillers. Through flashbacks and present day actions, we learn more about several of the cast, as they in turn learn more about themselves.
This time around, Janet spends quite a bit of time in her own past as she dreamwalks, which is different from dreaming. In her dreams, she relives parts of her life, while maintaining knowledge of her current self. At first, I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, to a time before the series began. But after a while, the dreams began to feel like filler to me, and I would have preferred more time in the present.
Overall, Dreamwalker is an enjoyable story. I love this series and have missed it greatly. While the book was entertaining, it was lacking the “big mystery to solve” that has accompanied the previous titles. Dreamwalker felt almost like a transitional tale, yet still complete. It closed some chapters in Janet's life but opened new ones. The dreamwalking was an interesting tool, but I felt a bit cheated out of "new" material because of it. However, in the end, it simply felt so good and right just to be with the characters again.
My Rating: B+ Liked It A Lot
The last Stormwalker book was released in 2012, and this one's release date has actually been pushed back a couple of times (the original timeline was 2014 if I wasn't mistaken). Having said that -- and even if I had little to remember about the details of previous books -- I truly had no problem jumping back into the world of Janet Begay, Mick, and their bands of family and friends. As always, we had villain that threaten Janet, the hotel being broke down (again!), quick fast-pace story-line doused with actions, and absolutely terrific battle in the end.
Because I loved this series so much, I bought it even without reading the blurb (or apparently, paid attention to the title, Dreamwalker). In result, I was slightly a bit annoyed with the dream sequences that Janet was having in this book. I felt like it took Janet away from the action in real life, plus it went back to her past life, and I thought ... we've been through this!!
However, when I finally realized the game plan, what those dreams meant for Janet as arsenal to fight the Ununculous, Emmett Smith, I thought it was pretty brilliant. I actually grasped all the things that the dreams were teaching Janet. Plus I was gasping in delight when I realized who pushed Janet into all those dreams. It was surprising but very, very good.
It's all I can say about this ... I was loving it (as always). It kicked ass (as always). I loved the secondary characters too (as always). Plus the relationship progress between Janet and his step-sister Gabrielle was able to made my eyes a bit teary (bonus point). I know that the hotel will be rebuild (again); I just hope it survives another battle ... plus I think Janet will want her wedding there?
Hopefully the next book will not take another 4 years >.<