Review & $25 Giveaway: Dreamscape: Saving Alex by Kirstin Pulioff

dreamscape-saving-alex-banner-300x130Dreamscape: Saving Alex by Kirstin Pulioff

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy     Published April 15th, 2015

Goodreads                         Amazon

Dreamscape Saving AlexSixteen-year-old Alexis Stone is used to getting away from life’s frustration with Dreamscape, a video game she’s loved since childhood. As her family prepares to move, a sleepy night of gaming pulls her into the world like never before.

Trapped in Dreamscape’s realm, Alex is about to learn that being a hero has consequences… and this time, the stakes are deadly. Will helping the rebellion cost her everything she knows and loves? Or will she betray them to save her own life?

giveaway

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excerpt

I cracked my knuckles and tightened my ponytail. It was time to play the game.

A parade of puff birds that had inched closer to me with each repetition of the song were now within reach. I barely recognized them. On screen, they were nothing but rolling yellow balls. Here, they reminded me of wobbling puffer fish with needle-tipped feathers and inflated bodies. The rhythmic stabbing of their spiked beaks into the ground interrupted their slow walk. I saw a bird with a bloody beak and pulled my feet in, covering the fresh wound on top of my foot.

“Stupid bird,” I mumbled, standing and brushing the dirt off myself as I watched the strange creatures. They moved in a pattern, shuffling from the edge of the forest towards the field to my left.

I started a countdown—three, two, one, jump.

As I landed, a shrill scream echoed beneath me. The bones of the bird crushed easily, like cracking knuckles, when I flattened its body to the ground. A pool of red surrounded me, turning the golden feathers dark. I shrieked and jumped back, flailing my arms until I hit a tree. The rough bark grabbed at my hair and scratched my back. The other birds squawked a warning before puffing into balls and rolling away down the hill. I covered my hurt hand and looked around nervously.

This wasn’t real, this was a game; it couldn’t be real. But the knot in my stomach and tears falling down my cheeks told me otherwise. This was real, too real. I was losing it.

Only a few minutes in, and I had killed an innocent creature. I felt sick. Did I really expect it to burst into a puff of feathers, disappear, and deposit golden coins in my pockets like in the game?

I looked over at the lifeless bird with the sick feeling of guilt in my chest. How was I going to survive in this world? I thought about the most dangerous levels. Any advantage I’d thought I had just disappeared.

review1
This is a fun-filled, action packed, YA fantasy tale about a girl who enters the world of her favorite childhood video game.  Readers join Alexis on her journey: from the accidental stumble into an alternate world to the quest she must complete to return home.
I liked the characters, setting, and plot; and I thought it was interesting that despite knowing Dreamscape so well, she was very much out of her element while working her way through the game. Once she got over the shock of it all, she got down to work.  It soon became evident, however, the video game was only a pixelated version of this other world, and beating the game would be much more difficult than she hoped.
Alex changes on her journey.  When we first meet her, she is a bit of a bratty teen, disappointed with her family’s impending move away from school, friends, and her high school crush.  It is fun to see this selfish girl evolve into the hero of the game.  She must think of others and sacrifice what she holds dear to reach her goal.  Along the way, she meets Arrow.  He is another example of unexpected curve balls in the game, and the action really picks up once he joins the adventure.
This is a great story for pre-teen and teenage readers.  The ending was a bit abrupt for my taste, but overall it is an entertaining, original plot and a very well-written story. – kris
author
Kirstin PulioffKirstin Pulioff is a storyteller at heart. Born and raised in Southern California, she moved to the Pacific Northwest to follow her dreams and graduated from Oregon State University (Go Beavs!) with a degree in Forest Management. Happily married and a mother of two, she lives in the foothills of Colorado. When she’s not writing an adventure, she’s busy living one.She loves to hear from readers and fans.
Please connect with her on her website: www.kirstinpulioff.com
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2 thoughts on “Review & $25 Giveaway: Dreamscape: Saving Alex by Kirstin Pulioff

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