Life in a world of shattered dreams
Two girls discover everything that they thought was true was a lie, writes John Millen
Did you dream last night? Can you remember what your dream was about?
Perhaps you did dream, but you can't remember what happened in your dream. But perhaps a dreamhunter caught your dream and took it to the Rainbow Opera. If a dreamhunter steals your dream, it no longer belongs to you. And that is why you can't remember it.
When a dreamhunter hunts down a dream, catching it in a net like a butterfly hunter, it is his to sell and share with others.
The Rainbow Opera is a magnificent palace where dreams are shown to an audience like movies in a cinema. People come from all over the world to see dreams on the giant screens there.
Dreams shown at the Rainbow Opera are much more interesting and vivid than the boring dreams supplied to most people by their own sleeping brains. And if the audience at the Rainbow Opera enjoy your dream, you will never know.
Laura and her cousin Rose are both daughters of dreamhunters. They both wonder if they have inherited their parents' special gift. Dreamhunting is a skill you inherit, not something you can learn. And there is only one way to find out if you have inherited it.
It will soon be time for Laura's 'Try' - a coming-of-age test that will show if she has dreamhunting skills.
She will have the chance to enter 'The Place', a secret realm where dreams fly around like butterflies.
If Laura succeeds, she will be on the path to becoming a fully-fledged dreamhunter, like her father.
After Laura's first visit to 'The Place', her father mysteriously disappears.
Laura believes that he vanished while on a mission in 'The Place' and so she returns to this weird dreamland to look for him. She is sure he would not have disappeared on his own accord when he knew his daughter was on the brink of success. Something must have gone wrong.
This time, Laura's visit to 'The Place' throws up secrets and mysteries that she never expected. Her father was not the man that she thought he was. And it seems he knows more about 'The Place' than he ever explained.
Why didn't he tell her about the corrupt government that uses dreams in a terrible way?
And why did he allow her to get mixed up in a dark scheme of political intrigue and danger which he must have known about all the time?
Dreamhunting suddenly has become very dangerous for Laura.
The Rainbow Opera begins slowly and throws a lot of confusing terms and ideas at the reader in the first few chapters. But then Elizabeth Knox pulls together the strands of her story and the whole thing takes on an exciting direction.
The set-up for Knox's fantasy world takes its time to sort itself out and patience is needed to get fully into the story. But once the action gets underway, The Rainbow Opera takes off and ends up being an intriguing novel that will captivate readers.
The Rainbow Opera
By Elizabeth Knox
Published by Faber and Faber
ISBN 0 571 22456 3
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com