DreamKeepers, Volume 4, Descent to the Archives, by David & Liz Lille – Book Review by Fred Patten
by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
DreamKeepers, volume 4, Descent to the Archives, by David & Liz Lille
Monroe, MI, Vivid Independent Publishing, July 2015, trade paperback $24.99 (117 [+ 11] pages).
“Dreamkeepers is a supernatural fantasy adventure series for teens and up.” (publishers’ advisory)
After two years and an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, here is DreamKeepers, volume 4, Descent to the Archives, containing Chapters 10 through 12. By now, so much has happened that you have to first read What Has Gone Before; either page-by-page for free on the DreamKeepers website or as albums from Amazon.com.
To rephrase what I have said in my reviews of the first three volumes, “The Dreamworld is a mysterious reality that parallels our own,” inhabited by funny-animal DreamKeepers, one for each person in the world. They guard us from the nightmares that would drive us mad. “Everyone’s DreamKeeper is completely unique – your personality and subconscious influence your DreamKeeper’s appearance and abilities.” Since there are now over seven billion people in the world, that’s a lot of almost-all different funny animals; but David Lillie has shown in large crowd scenes that he can draw that many DreamKeepers. Most DreamKeepers live in “Anduruna, the largest DreamKeeper city in the DreamWorld.”
“The protagonist is Mace, a young puppy (or is he a kitten?) in Grunn’s orphanage, a Dickensian hellhole along Anduruna’s eastern seacoast. Mace, the equivalent of a ten- or eleven-year-old human boy, is always getting in trouble for his practical jokes. He doesn’t care that he makes it easy for the orphanage’s real troublemakers to blame their tricks on him. But when his best friend is brutally murdered and he is blamed, he is forced to flee with Whip, his little blue companion (don’t call him a pet) into Anduruna’s lower-class throngs. There he meets Lilith Calah, a female counterpart from the aristocracy’s elite Sabbaton Towers who has just escaped a murder attempt (with the help of her half-sister, Namah) that apparently is connected to a black magic plot (and believe me; Dave & Liz can draw really gory and frightening black magic!) by the Dark DreamKeepers to overthrow the DreamKeepers and bring the nightmare hordes into the ascendency.”
The first three volumes, especially volume 3, Intentions Entwined, establish the original quartet of Mace, Whip, Lilith, and Namah; Bast, who seems to be Mace’s violent enemy but helps them because he has romantic feelings for Lilith; and the trio of Woods, a deer, Bill, a cat, and Damon, a dog. All four albums are “wall-to-wall full-color gorgeous art (no margins) on glossy paper”, printed in China.
Chapter 10, “Throat of Stone”, begins with Woods, Bill, and Damon having escaped underground, where they are drafted into the Underground to fight the Nightmares (which they don’t believe in). Viriathus (Vi, shown on the cover) teaches them against their will how to fight guerilla-style. But she tries unsuccessfully to get them excused from any action, feeling that they would only be cannon-fodder. Lilith’s group of herself, Namah, Mace, and Whip, with the tagalong Bast, tries to sneak away from the Underground to go even deeper underground, into the caverns beneath Anduruna to find the lost Archives and its books. Meanwhile the Nightmare Lord Nabonidus orders the turncoat DreamKeeper Tinsel Nanaja to go into the caverns (despite her extreme reluctance) to find and get captured by Lilith’s group and get taken by them to the Archives, as a spy to get whatever they learn.
This synopsis omits several other things that are going on. (What is Operation Guillotine?)
Oh, I didn’t mention that each character in the DreamWorld has a superhero psionic talent (Whip = telekinesis, Lilith = healing, Namah = ‘ether tendrils’, Tinsel = ‘burning hair tendrils’, etc). It is illegal in Anduruna to use these, so they are usually undeveloped. In Chapter 11, “Echoes”, Nabonidus wants his agents to start using their powers. He sends the childlike but evil Wisp to train them. Lilith’s group go down and down into the caverns and eventually reach the Archives, but Bast’s legs are broken. After Lilith finds what she needs to fight the Nightmares, they are ready to return except for Bast’s broken legs. While they argue over abandoning Bast or not – he orders them to; they refuse – Lilith suddenly discovers that there is a level lower than the Archives.
In Chapter 12, “Tomb of the Forsaken God”, everybody fights. The Good Guys seem to win, but is it a real victory or just a breathing spell?
“It appears there’s a distinct probability of life as we know it horribly ending.”
“Well … at least we won’t have to file taxes anymore.”
To be continued.
It’s all terribly confusing, but so beautiful that you won’t care. The colors are so vivid (the publisher’s name has been chosen carefully) that they practically glow. The cavern sequences abound in deep purples and fiery reds. There’s a lot of commando action with plenty of bloodshed among cute funny animals, some of whom are so fluffy with such long, flowing tails that it’s impossible that they could keep from tripping over them or keep them from getting slammed in doors.