Book Review: THE DREAMSNATCHER by Abi Elphinstone (Middle Grade Monday)

Title in yellow against drawn trees
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Yes - first book in trilogy


Book cover for THE DREAM SNATCHER: two children peer around trees at a figure by a bonfire

Twelve-year-old Moll Pecksniff wakes one night by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows…

The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


THE DREAMSNATCHER is Abi Elphinstone’s debut, a creepy fantasy adventure (I am a little unsure if it’s one word or two, as the cover looks like two, but the spine has it as one word!).

It’s set in a forest, where a camp of ruffians and thugs headed by a Witch Doctor in a mask and no shadow is hunting Moll. The atmosphere is eerie, with the dense trees and drums in Moll’s head as her enemies try to draw her to them. Maybe not a book to read just before bed with only a torch, unless you want to share in Moll’s nightmares!

At less than 300 pages, it’s a very short book, easily devoured in a few hours if you want a lazy afternoon with a book. In the slim volume (with the large-ish font size common to MG), Abi Elphinstone crams frantic flights on horseback at the dead of night, two attacks on the home camp, and a quest for an amulet, alongside enough time to make new friends and fall off a waterfall. In short, plenty of stuff to keep the pages turning but without it feeling too quickly dealt with.

There are lots of really funny insults, like my favourite you mangy polecat, that bring the characters’ camp to life and their close-to-nature lifestyle. It’s a big, vibrant cast of found family who look out for each other no matter what. Going to recklessly cross to the enemy camp? They’ll tell you off but then check you’re alright. Kidnapped? Set a watch for the rescue party.

This is certainly a series I want to continue reading, to see how Moll fares on the rest of her quest to find the amulets and defeat the Shadowmasks. It might take me a while to get around to it, though.

Read my reviews of other books by Abi Elphinstone:

The Dreamsnatcher (this series):

The Unmapped Chronicles:



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