Reviews for Dormia

Booklist Reviews 2009 July #1
Alphonso Perplexon, 12-year-old resident of World's End, Minnesota, is at his most productive when he sleeps, able to scale tall trees and navigate a ship through glacier-filled waters. He also has the ability to grow a plant--the mystical Dormian bloom--that is sustenance for the country of Dormia, hidden deep in the Ural Mountains, as well as the source of a highly prized drug for the less-respectable country of Dragoonya. If Alphonso and his ragtag band can't protect the bloom from Dragoonya agents, transport it to Dormia, and get it planted, Dormia will die. Appropriate to a story about "wakeful sleepers" and populated with names related to slumber (Somnos, Dormia), this is an adventure yarn that takes its time, building mild suspense that does not overwhelm the progress of the tale. It is old-fashioned storytelling, ably done, where action supports story development rather than substituting for it. This fantasy is a wonderful intergenerational read-along and is a strong choice for readers still mourning the end of the Harry Potter books. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
Alfonso, who can perform amazing feats during his frequent sleepwalking episodes, discovers that he is the fated savior of a kingdom of people hidden in the Ural Mountains who function while asleep. A challenging journey, an accumulation of variously odd characters and settings, and a lot of improbable problem-solving make for an entertaining but overlong middle-grade fantasy. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 May #4

Twelve-year-old Alfonso Perplexon has a gift, or is it a curse? He possesses "the powers of active sleeping," which allow him to accomplish tasks and fight with superior skill while asleep (he awakens atop a giant pine tree as the book opens). When his self-proclaimed uncle, Hill, appears and tries to persuade Alfonso to travel through the mountains to save the people of Dormia, the boy leaves his family to embark on the journey. Their goal: to deliver the "Dormian bloom" unharmed; if they fail to plant it, the citizens will starve and the Dragoonya, led by evil Nartam (a fallen Dormian), will take over. Their trip is filled with doubt, stemming from Alfonso's encounters with white-eyed Kiril, who causes him to question his companions' motivations. Ultimately, Alfonso's faith and attitude that "sometimes you just have hunches about people" serve him even more than the innate powers of a Great Sleeper. The plot is standard fantasy adventure fare, though nonfiction writer Halpern and debut author Kujawinski offer some compelling battle scenes. Alfonso's quest believably demonstrates that the path home can be the most trying. Ages 10-up. (May)

[Page 58]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 September

Gr 5-8--Twelve-year-old Alfonso Perplexon is a sleepwalker. He climbs extremely high trees, skis, and performs other physical feats--all in his sleep. The appearance of his long-lost Uncle Hill leads to an explanation for Alfonso's unusual habit. They are from the hidden land of Dormia, whose inhabitants have perfected wakeful sleeping, performing complex tasks while deep in slumber. Hill reveals that the unusual plant Alfonso has nurtured in his sleep is a Dormian bloom, needed to save the last city of Dormia, and Alfonso and Hill travel to the Ural Mountains to take it home. Of course, they don't know exactly where Dormia is, and they find themselves traveling with unlikely--and perhaps untrustworthy--companions. While the complex setup starts out slowly, the action picks up rapidly once Hill and Alfonso reach Europe and find dangers aplenty, leading up to a battle for Dormia's future. Alfonso finds out about his own background and abilities as he travels, and readers learn about Dormia along with the likable young hero. The authors provide a wealth of detail, bringing locales as exotic as a cave city and a decaying icebreaker ship to life, though action often waits for the settings to be explored. Double-crosses and disguises add to the suspense as Alfonso nears Dormia, and readers will be left hoping for their own sleeping adventures.--Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI

[Page 160]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2009 August
Like his now-dead father, twelve-year-old Alfonso Perplexon is aware that he can do remarkable and unusual things in his sleep. When an old man comes to his home in World's End, Minnesota, however, announcing himself to be Alfonso's long-lost uncle, Alfonso's world turns upside down. The unusual color-changing plant that Alfonso has grown is, according to Uncle Hill, a rare and wondrous Dormian bloom that can save the lives of a hidden kingdom of "wakeful sleeping" people like Alfonso living deep in the Ural Mountains. But others who want to destroy the plant are stalking Alfonso, and so the dangerous quest to deliver the magical plant begins. From a wild airplane ride to a perilous journey across the Bering Sea and North Pole and then into the Urals, Alfonso's travels see him gather amazing companions of all sorts, including many he is not sure he can trust. A fierce and terrible battle between villainous Droonya soldiers and the valiant Dormian knights finally ends in victory for Alfonso and the Dormian people of Somnos Middle school students who enjoy a good fantasy romp full of adventure and suspense will enjoy Dormia. The amusing, colorful cast of characters, the suspense throughout the terrifying journey, the exotic lands, and the ever-evolving powers of Alfonso combine to create a page-turner of a tale. Put this one on the shelf next to D. J. MacHale's Pendragon series or Angie Sage's Septimus Heap books.--Mary Ann Darby 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.