Book Review: The Place Beyond Her Dreams by Oby Aligwekwe

*I was given an arc of The Place Beyond Her Dreams in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Eclat Books and Oby Aligweke.*

TW: Domestic abuse 

Synopsis:  

Set between Ntebe and Ide, two warring towns, The Place Beyond Her Dreams follows Ona who can travel to a dream world by the name of Luenah. Here she is able to see and talk to her grandfather who has passed away and has learnt that she is special, an Eri (one bestowed with unique intuitive and spiritual gifts passed down from generation to generation). 

On her eighteenth birthday, she visits Luenah and is given a box upon which she needs to make an exchange for love and happiness. From this, she crosses paths with two men, Okem who has lived with her family since he was young and Albert the crown prince of the town warring with her own. Needing to decide who she loves Ona finds out that no one is who they seem and this can lead to great danger. 

Review: 

I am very much not sure what I think of this book. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. It is definitely a slow builder and once it got going it was super tense and interesting, but I do think it took too long. 

The first point I need to talk about is a trigger warning. This book contains domestic abuse. I am unsure whether the actual book comes with a trigger warning at the start, however, do be aware that this is an element that plays quite a large part in the story. 

I really was not sure what to think of this book at first. It seemed like you should already have an idea who the characters are and what they look like. I did finish it a couple of days ago however I cannot remember if you get a character description for Ona. Maybe I just missed it. 

Anyway back to the characters. I found the opening chapters to be quite disjointed as honestly, I knew nothing about the characters or what was going on. This is definitely something that is worked on throughout the book and the story slowly starts to make sense, however, this did make me really struggle with the first part of the book. 

Now let’s get onto the world of Luenah. It sounded really interesting, but I would have liked to spend a little more time there. Even though the book is named after this mystical place it didn’t feel like you spend a lot of time there. 

I really liked Ona’s character and even though she went through some hard times she stayed true to herself and the ones she loves. The characters building, past the first few chapters, was excellent and a lot of thought was put into how each character would play their part. 

The plot was completely addictive once it got started and I ended up flying through the second half of the book. I tend to stay away from books with religious undertones, however, as this was not a faith I am clued up on I found those elements interesting. I especially enjoyed the insights on Western African culture and I think they added really depth to the story.

Although this is not my favourite book of the year so far I really do believe that every reader will perceive it differently. It is the type of book that you really need to form your own opinion on. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Check out The Place Beyond Her Dreams when it is published on March 16th.
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