Dreaming about time travel, romance, and adventure in “The Dreamer”

dreamerThe Dreamer: The Consequence of Nathan Hale by Lora Innes
IDW Publishing 2009-2014 (Graphic Novels / SciFi-Fantasy / YA)

My rating: Outstanding Adventure! I’m going to go back again and again and again.

Like Alice down the rabbit hole, I fell right into this webcomic, and right into the Revolutionary War in 1776. And I can’t wait to get my hands on copies of the graphic novels.

Beatrice Whaley (Bea) is a young high schooler in Boston who suddenly starts reliving the Revolutionary War in her dreams. She “wakes up” in the past, just as she’s being rescued from a British ship by a handsome and daring revolutionary officer named Alan Warren. She can’t remember her past, or her recent captivity – just her own life as a modern-day high schooler. She and Alan have a romantic history in the past (untangle that one, if you can!), which she also does not remember. While she’s asleep in the modern world, she rescues Alan from lobsterbacks, gets caught in an ambush, retreats with Alan’s regiment, and generally gets in the army’s way… finally learning her history – firsthand! While she’s awake in the modern world, she’s a talented thespian with a crush on a football player/thespian, and not a very dedicated student.

From the very beginning, the time travel story entranced me, as did the adventures and romance in 1776. I’m not that into young adult literature, so the high school sections weren’t as interesting for me, but they provide a necessary element by answering time-travelly questions – how will she keep dreaming the Revolutionary War without losing her sanity? Is she sane – does she dream truly? How does she keep up with both lives? Can she change the past, or is it already written? More importantly, how will Bea choose, if she has a choice to make, between time periods? Who will she choose – revolutionary war hero, or high school football star?

The romance is sweet, the hero dashing, the action exciting, the drama suspenseful, and the art is truly beautiful.

I was a bit disappointed with one aspect of the time travel plot – when Bea lives in the past, she’s clearly dreaming in the present. But what happens to Miss Whaley’s spirit, when Bea wakes up to high school and drama class? Do the two girls exchange times, or does Miss Whaley’s body sleep? That part is never really satisfactorily explained. I am interested to see how the author treats time travel paradoxes.

Aside from that, this series gives readers a great, fun introduction to some of the finer points of our (American) revolutionary history. A time travel story grounded in historical fact, I think it an excellent gateway to history, and to reading. Although Bea is a high schooler, and I think this will appeal to many high schoolers, it will also appeal to older (and younger) fans of historical fiction, adventure, and romance.

Did I mention I love this series? You can find the first Act and part of the second online at the Dreamer. What are you waiting for?

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