cover image The Dream Runners

The Dream Runners

Shveta Thakrar. HarperTeen, $17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-289466-3

Thakrar (Star Daughter) draws upon Hindu mythology in this richly detailed standalone fantasy. Abducted from the mortal world at age 10, Tanvi is spirited away to the kingdom of Nagalok to serve its dream-eating, serpentine inhabitants, called naga. Along with other captive mortals, Tanvi, now 17, emerges from Nagalok’s subterranean realm under cover of night to harvest dreams from sleeping humans. She delivers them to naga dream broker Lord Nayan and his mortal apprentice, 18-year-old Venkat, whose wares fetch a high price since dreamless naga consume nocturnal visions and the heightened emotions within them. As a dream runner, Tanvi’s memories of her previous life are erased, until a harvest gone awry recalls disturbing images of her past. Struggling with her memories and reeling from the realization that fellow dream runners have vanished, Tanvi seeks out Venkat, her only mortal confidante. As secrets of the realm unfurl, the duo, both of whom have brown skin and implied Indian heritage, must wake up to the developing nightmare as war brews beyond Nagalok’s borders. Though the pacing’s lack of urgency lowers the stakes, multifaceted characters, a splash of romance, and complex, intriguing worldbuilding deliver an engaging fantasy read. Ages 13–up. Agent: Beth Phelan, Gallt and Zacker Literary. (June)

Correction: The text of this review has been updated for clarity.