This is book 3 in the series, and I've got to say, I'm looking for the ones before and after this book.
It was a little confusing at first -- the different terms and places -- but it was easy to see past the confusion and eventually catch on.
This book is between Harlen and Sera, two people who have known each other for years. They'd been each other's 'someone special' in college, but life took them in opposite directions -- hers, culinary, his, the army and into being a Dream Master.
Half of the book takes place in the here and now, the other takes place in the dream world. Both connect, as dreams do. When, in present day and life, Sera contacts Harlen because a stalker in her dream life has come into her real life, Harlen doesn't step back. He will always be there for Sera. When they need answers and he needs to use his Dream Master skills to get into her dreams, he warns Sera that in-the-light-of-day feelings are magnified in the dream state. She understands this, and is probably a little shocked to learn that her feelings, as well as Harlen's feelings, from years past are still there.
The reason why the broke up the first time is on both of them. She felt she couldn't continue the relationship because she wanted the stability of a culinary life. He felt they couldn't continue because his job wouldn't really allow it. Through this book, Sera learns (really, she's told) that if she wants to be with Harlen, she may just need to drop her life and run with him. With age comes the realization they are meant to be together, and nothing is going to stop Sera from that.
"'You haven't seen me for years, then in one day, you're willing to drop the life you've built?'
Yes. 'I choose you.'"
I've learned with this book that this entire series is reads like one continuous book. The players and actions move from one scene to another, one book the other, but the thoughts they're following change with the book. This book was Harlen's turn. I believe that if I were to find and read book 1, then book 2, it would all flow extremely well. Even the epilogue of Darksider shows you the path into book 4.
This was a shorter book, novella length (I believe every book in this series is?) and was a quicker read. Not necessarily an easier read. With the terms and the bouncing between daylight and dreamtime, one really had to pay attention (much as one must do while watching Inception). If ever I found my mind wandering, or if I put the book down in the middle of a chapter but not a scene, I typically had to go back a few paragraphs to re-get a feel for what was going on.
Not that I'm complaining.
Most books that I read that I find myself doing just that (going back), I tend to get bored, annoyed, and step away. Maybe it's because I'm fascinated by dreams in real-life, but this was a book I wanted to get further into.
I need to re-read it, though, to further understand Harlen's shakes and Coll's scary eyes, but re-reading this one won't be a hardship.