Title: Screamcatcher: Web World
Author: Christy J. Breedlove
Genre: Urban fantasy
Rating: Two stars
“When seventeen-year-old Jory Pike cannot shake the hellish nightmares of her parent’s deaths, she turns to an old family heirloom, a dream catcher. Even though she’s half blood Chippewa, Jory thinks old Indian lore is so yesterday, but she’s willing to give it a try. However, the dream catcher has had its fill of nightmares from an ancient and violent past. After a sleepover party, and during one of Jory’s most horrific dream episodes, the dream catcher implodes, sucking Jory and her three friends into its own world of trapped nightmares. They’re in an alternate universe—locked inside of an insane web world. How can they find the center of the web, where all good things are allowed to pass?”
What’s this all about?
Screamcatcher follows Jory Pike, a teenager who has recently lost her parents, into an unusual adventure. After putting up a dreamcatcher from her grandfather’s shop in her bedroom, Jory and her friends Choice, Darcy and Lander are sucked into the dreamcatcher world.
The world has been segregated into different factions and anyone who asks question about this new world order is branded a “Seeker” and hunted down. After discovering that the way out of the dreamcatcher is to hike through canyons and jungles to find a riddle to solve, they set off on their bikes.
They encounter hybrid animals, giant insects and dinosaurs on their journey, all while trying to figure out what happened to the world and how to escape it.
Who’s driving this thing?
Jory Pike is the main protagonist. As half native American, her family still clings to old traditions while she dismisses them. Jory recently lost her parents and is trying to get on with her life with the help of her close friends, Choice and Darcey.
Jory comes across as quite cold to her friends despite their support and I guess it’s understandable given the trauma she’s just experienced. Either way, it was difficult to warm up to her but not just for this reason. (I’ll elaborate later!)
What’s good about it?
The story is definitely fun and unexpected. The crazy monsters and the survival aspects of the book are really enjoyable. It’s a lengthy journey full of twists and turns, and it’s thoroughly unpredictable.
What’s not so great about it?
There were a few times during this book that I actually felt uncomfortable. Firstly was how Jory treated her friends sometimes. She is periodically quite brutal with them in a way that tears them down rather than encouraging them and it seems to come from nowhere. None of these occurrences are ever backed up with explanations as to why she behaves this way.
The second reason I felt uncomfortable reading this book was the reason it got knocked down to 2 stars. There are some racist and fatphobic undertones towards the end of the book. While contemplating her friend Choice, who is black, Jory thinks about how he might go somewhere in life considering his strength on the journey, whereas before she assumed he would just end up selling drugs. This really shocked me because Choice had been nothing but a pro-active, enthusiastic and light-hearted person who wanted to help his friends for the whole book. So, why on earth would he end up selling drugs, when he has the attitude and the motivation to become whatever the hell he wanted? It didn’t feel right reading that, at all.
Similarly, Darcey, who is overweight, struggles throughout the entire journey and when Jory has an inner monologue about her friends, she has this thought: “Were thin, athletic girls destined to die while others who were fat and less fit bound to survive? If it had been that simple, then she wished she had started out fat and stubborn.” To give this quote some context, Jory somehow thinks that Darcey has had an easier journey than the rest of them and that she’s more likely to get out alive because she’s fat. It made for uncomfortable reading.
Aside from these two things, the characters experienced no development, Jory’s emotions aren’t explored at all, which is weird because her parents just died but it’s very difficult to tell, and the writing wasn’t very immersive.
Where can I get it?
If you want to check this one out for yourselves, it’s available in e-book and paperback formats on Amazon.
Thanks for reading!