Review: Deeper Than Dreams by Jessica Topper

Posted: August 22, 2015 in Reviews
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When Jessica Topper asked if I wanted a review copy of the next installment in Adrian and Kat’s story, begun in the most-excellent Louder Than Love, I am quite sure she could hear me scream in frustration that she hadn’t just gone ahead and sent it. Like she even needed to ask?

(Jessica has class. What can I say?)

This little novella is more like a dreamlike fairy tale than anything else. It takes place over 24 hours, maybe not even that long, and it brings the cast from Louder than Love back while introducing new characters, as well.

There’s not a huge amount of conflict here, and it’s almost entirely Kat’s internal struggle that fuels the story, even as it’s Adrian who fuels the action. He creates an amazing, dream-like fairy tale for Kat, and there’s no doubt that this man can make things happen.

The conflict lies in Kat, who worries about the future. What’s the status of Adrian and his band, whose first concert ended at the end of Louder Than Love, the echoes of which haven’t quite died as Deeper than Dreams opens? Can Adrian handle the rock and roll lifestyle again—and does he even want to? What about Kat? Is this a world she can fit into? Is she tough enough to fit in, or will the hard edges of rock and roll send her running back to her quiet life in her quiet little town? Does she even want to fit in?

What does the future hold for Kat and Adrian?

These are big questions, and they are dealt with in a very short space. Maybe too short; this novella feels more like a stolen moment in Adrian and Kat’s life than a complete work. The problem with this short length is that there’s a lot that Kat needs to uncover and come to terms with before we are convinced that the fairy tale ending’s promises will come true.

I’m not convinced, myself. Not yet. I need to see more growth in these two, more of them together handling the adversity that’s going to be thrown in their paths. There’s not a lot of character growth in a work this short; as I say to my editing clients, in a novella, something’s always gotta give. And yet, it is quite easy to write this off as a typical second installment in a trilogy—a bridge between the action-laden first and third volumes.

For the best reading experience, you’ll need to have read Louder first. Again, pretty typical for a second volume. The question is if there’s a third or not…

While we wait, you want to go back and read Louder Than Love. Otherwise, you’ll be lost as to who these people are, what their backstory is, and what’s going on.

Besides, Louder is one of my favorite books of the past few years. And now Deeper is one of my favorite novellas.

Because despite it all, we all want fairy tale days and experiences like Adrian gives Kat. We really do.

I can’t wait to read the third entry into this world. It’s not Adrian and Kat’s story, though! Stronger than Steel, it’s called, and it’s the story of one of Adrian’s bandmates. I can hardly wait; this guy’s intrigued me from the moment he stepped onto the page. And that impatience describes my need to read it. Riff, where are you, man?

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