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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Steggie Belle & the Dream Warriors by Elias Pell had me spellbound, a fantasy tale with characters that will stay in the minds of readers long after the last page is turned. No exaggeration here! It explores the realm where reality and fantasy merge. It is told by Zoofall, a quirky character with a strong and captivating voice. During a raging storm, he knows that something sinister is happening, so shutting himself up in the attic and with just seven candles, he sets to work on writing his secrets—unsure if both adults and young readers can even understand. He has been experiencing lucid dreams as a child, but they were more than dreams. They were a world he could step into and explore and, curiously, he has the innate ability to control his own dreams. In this story, he shares what happened when he discovered other dreamers and they set out to explore this “real-fantasy” world. But what happened to Steggie Belle is the mystery he must unravel, and as the darkness thickens and time runs out with enemies becoming stronger, can he and his friends rely on his skills to save Steggie or will she be their ultimate hope?
This is one of those books that you read and want to read again and again; then you find it hard to talk about it because it offers such a transporting experience that should only be lived. Words fall short when I try to describe my experience with Elias Pell’s characters. The world-building is fantastic and it offers a perfect escape for fans of epic fantasy. The conflict is intelligently written and I adored the way the author uses “time” to create a strong sense of urgency in the action that punctuates the narrative. The seven candles, for instance, constitute a symbol of fleeting time. The protagonist and his companions have a lot to accomplish, but time is always against them. Steggie Belle & the Dream Warriors will delight fantasy fans of different ages and the strong narrative voice casts a spell that is irresistible.