A Free Dreamer Review: Roam (Roam #1) by Dez Schwartz


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Ethan Roam suffers from night terrors and vivid daydreams, which lead him to the doorstep of the eccentric Dr. Grady Hunter, who thrusts him into a world of supernatural misfits. Ethan quickly learns that there’s more reality to his dreams than he suspected.

As Ethan unravels the truth behind his nightmares and falls into his first experience with love, he also finds himself the target of a sinister plan.

Ethan’s trust in his new companions will be tested and he’ll have to decide who he can rely on and who he must defy in order to survive a fatal Halloween night.

„Roam“ promised some really interesting and unusual fantasy ideas. Sadly the actual book was kind of disappointing.

But let’s start with the good parts. I found Ethan’s night-terrors/super vivid daydreams fascinating. It takes a while till we learn what exactly his abilities are, so that made for an interesting plot arc. And I really liked the reveal of his true powers.

Sadly,  Ethan himself wasn’t all that interesting. He really only has two modes: incessant cheerfulness and doe-eyed hero worship. He’s incredibly naive, far too trusting and has his occasional TSTL moment that made me roll my eyes in disbelief. He was also this weirdly perfect guy who everybody immediately likes and who has some serious self-worth issues at the same time. There’s also a scene where he magically develops an amazing singing voice and piano skills. It wasn’t mentioned ever again, neither before nor after that one weirdly specific scene.

I’m not entirely sure what to think about Grady. I don’t think I particularly liked him, though. He’s creepily obsessed with killing supernatural beings that don’t follow his rules. We get some backstory that sort of explains his obsession but he still didn’t feel like a very healthy person.

Then there’s Dacey, Grady’s vampire lover of sorts. He struck up a very weird and very instantaneous friendship with Ethan that made absolutely no sense to me. Both MCs lacked depth and felt pretty shallow.

I had some serious issues with the romance in this book. It was pretty much insta-love on Ethan’s side and I really didn’t get that. I never felt that spark of attraction that makes a love story interesting to read. Then there was of course this HUGE secret Grady kept essentially the entire time. It really, really bothered me how forgiving and understanding Ethan was about that.

While the idea of the fantasy parts had great potential, the worldbuilding was lacking. Once again, there was no real depth to it. I guess there might be more to come, as this is only the first part in a series, but it still just wasn’t enough for me.

Overall, “Roam” was an okay read. The entire story and all the characters could have used way more depth. Everything was just a little too shallow for me. There’s a chance that there’ll be more depth in the following book(s), but I won’t be reading those. This first part was more than enough for me.

The cover by Natasha Snow is alright, if a bit generic. And it promises a spookier read than the book delivers.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

Published October 1st 2018 by NineStar Press (first published January 2016)
Edition Language English
SeriesRoam #1

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