The Sandman and the War of Dreams (The Guardians #4) by William Joyce

I have enjoyed the Rise of the Guardians series and so grabbed the latest release,  The Sandman and the War of Dreams, from the library just before vacation.

When the Man in the Moon brought together the Guardians, he warned them that they would face some terrible evils as they strove to protect the children of earth. But nothing could have prepared them for this: Pitch has disappeared and taken Katherine with him. And now the Guardians are not only down one member, but a young girl is missing.

Fortunately, MiM knows just the man to join the team. Sanderson ManSnoozy—known in most circles as the Sandman—may be sleepy, but he’s also stalwart and clever and has a precocious ability to utilize sand in myriad ways. If the other Guardians can just convince Sandy that good can triumph evil, that good dreams can banish nightmares, they’ll have themselves quite a squad. But if they can’t…they might never see Katherine again.

It turned out to be a great addition and perhaps my favorite of the series so far.  I was furiously reading it in the van as we started our vacation.  Interesting characters and some tension filled plot twists make filling in the back story on the guardians, and this particular guardian, a fun ride. [some spoilers ahead]

As I have noted each time I review a book in this series, they are more chapter books in style than YA Fantasy.  There is less world building and detail and more reader imagination and action.  That said, I really like the flow of this volume. It starts with the story of Sanderson Mansnoozie aka The Sandman, brings in the other guardians, and reminds us of the tension with Katherine being captured by Pinch.

Then Sanderson tells his story (via dream of course) and his interaction with Pinch’s daughter, and thereby Pinch, who becomes Mother Nature. This whole section, highlighted by its white type on black paper design, is very well done. It really highlights Joyce’s ability to spin imaginative yet simple tales with fascinating characters.  There is a great sense of mystery and magic lurking behind these stories; they seem like mythology weaved from shared memories and folklore. Just different enough to hold your interest but with enough shared ingredients to already be a part of your imagination.

These threads then connect as Sandman and Nightlight seek to save Katherine and they do; in ways that change them forever.  Even as all of this is going on, Katherine helps Nicholas embark on his dream which in turn will play a role in her rescue and its seems a happy ending for once … But even with all the power of the guardians, Pinch manages to turn things to his favor – as he always seems to do.

And we are left once again waiting for the next book.

But so it is with great series.  And this is one I am very fond of.  I have a feeling this will become something of a classic in our family. Moving from bedtime read aloud stories to exciting reading for young readers to a favorite shared by everyone.

And it is a bonus that they are beautifully designed and illustrated and so that much more fun to have in your library.

If for some reason you haven’t checked out this great series, I recommend it.  For even younger readers, the picture books are great too (The Man in the Moon and Sandman)


Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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