Leven Thumps, orphaned as a baby, is taken in by his poor, and uncaring aunt (really the half-sister of his mother) and uncle. They care nothing for him, using him only for chores around the house, he is otherwise unwanted and even forced to sleep outside on the porch. But what he does not know is that Clover, a sycophant, and Geth (at the moment a tree) have been watching over him his entire life. There is also Winter, a girl being raised by a mean mother who cares even less for her than Leven’s family cares for him. She has a peculiar ability- turning things to ice. She feels drawn to Leven and somehow finds her way to him. What they both learn is that their meant to find the gateway to Foo, the world of dreams where Sabine, an evil tyrant, wants to blend the world of dreams and reality thereby destroying man’s ability to dream. They need to stop the man before it is too late.
Skye does an excellent job of creating intrigue from the very first pages. Foo is magical and exciting though also confusing and strange. The way to get to it–aside from the secret gateway–involve standing between uneven street corners under a shooting star at a certain temperature. It’s nearly always an accident and there is no way to escape because if there was, then Foo would be no more and without it, man would lose all hope.
The connection between Foo and our world are palpable. As the dreams of mankind become darker, so does the world of Foo. People desire to return to the world from which they were snatched and the gateway, discovered (and created) by the one man who has ever managed to return from Foo, provides a way.
Clover reveals himself to Leven, Winter helps him away from a few bullies, and they search for Geth who is the only one to know the way back to Foo. The problem of course is that they don’t know Geth is a tree and therefore don’t know how to find him. Sabine meanwhile, searches for Geth, the gateway and Leven–the one person who could destroy his plans. He sends monsters to attack Leven and throw him off the journey.
It is impossible not to feel for Leven and Winter. They’ve both been dealt awful lots in life (though Winter’s was more by choice than she realizes) and when they finally decide it’s time to leave their awful lives behind, things aren’t easy for them.
I’m excited to see where this series goes because though things seem accomplished by the end of book one, we are informed that their duty to restore order has only just begun.