November 20, 2019

Ryan La Sala: "Reverie" (ARC Review)

Title: Reverie  [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Ryan La Sala [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Supernatural, Paranormal, Fantasy
Year: 2019
Age: 14+
Stars: 4.5/5
Pros: Unique premise. Mind-blowing scenarios. Powerful cast. Puts queer characters front and center as heroes and villains.
Cons: Over-the-top story that builds and builds up and hardly gives the reader any breathing space.
WARNING! Some instances of brutal/unsettling imagery (including zoomorphic monsters). One brief sexual innuendo (no actual sex on page though).
Will appeal to: Those who like adventures in alternate realities, normal kids with preternatural powers, and a logic behind it all - plus a strong queer rep.

Blurb: All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can't remember anything since an accident robbed him of his memories a few weeks ago. And the world feels different - reality itself seems different. So when three of his classmates claim to be his friends and the only people who can tell him what's truly going on, he doesn't know what to believe or who he can trust. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere, Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident, and only he can stop their world from unraveling. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on NetGalley. Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


I went into Reverie expecting a wild ride through alternate realities (which I have to admit was my first hook - OK, I'm trash 😂), a bunch of teen heroes saving the day (maybe even at a high cost, because we all know there's nothing like sacrifice to make a book more grand) and, well, a drag queen sorceress of course (because early reviewers couldn't stop screaming about her). And I did get all of that. But somehow, the book surpassed my expectations. The dreams made real were even more detailed and outrageous than I anticipated, the stakes higher, and the drag queen sorceress more flamboyant (AND terrifying)...while she was also able to surprise me with her metamorphosis - or more precisely, with the way she revealed her true nature. Plus, for a story so steeped into opulent, crazy dream-logic, the world-building was surprisingly well-thought. Under the reveries' flashy/deadly facade, under the protagonists' powers, under the villain's motives, there was a lot of rhyme and reason, and even some psychological ground - not to mention a spot-on take on the power of dreams. [...]


I never mention other reviews in mine, especially when I don't agree with them, and I don't like sub-texting, but I need to make a point here. One of the early reviews of Reverie I read on Goodreads stated that - while the reviewer in question "loved equality and diversity" - the #OwnVoices rep in this book was "too aggressive", because Kane is "so much more than just gay" and basically, La Sala wasn't doing him a favour by pushing the label (the reviewer even advocated for more "modesty" from the author!!!). I know better than to keep fights with random people on the internet, but this time I was SO CLOSE to. Apart from the damage this fakely progressive way of thinking causes to our society, this story is boldly gay (and other things in the spectrum), and it has all the rights to be. Of course Kane is "so much more than gay", but "gay" is his core identity, not to mention, the reason for a lot of things that happen in the book, and the root of Kane's relationship with the antagonist herself. I also plaud La Sala for creating a fantabulous villain who's the queerest thing I've ever seen in a YA novel, because this isn't meant to pass a judgement on drag queens, other than they're "power personified", as he himself states in the Acknowledgement section. This book is shamelessly queer, people. Deal with it.


The supporting characters in Reverie are quite solid, even if they didn't steal my heart (which is mainly the reason for my 4.5 star rating) - though I have to admit that loyal, non-confrontational, yet surprisingly powerful Ursula got pretty close. There's a realistic sibling angle and a complex friendship one (you could pitch this book as "unlikely band of friends enters worlds and saves the world", except it's much more than that), both tainted with trust issues. There's even a sweet M/M romance, which isn't the focus of the story but is integral to it. And you might feel like I've already told you too much about this book, except there's so much more to uncover yet. Reverie is one of the richest, most fascinating book world I've ever entered, and while I got the chance to read this one for free, I most definitely plan on grabbing a physical copy for my personal library, because I can see myself returning to it again and again and never getting tired of it.

(Note: I know I'm not supposed to talk about this, but I can't help myself - I was able to spot a dozen of typos/errors in my ARC, and though I'm pretty sure the book will undergo another round or more of copy editing before getting published, some of them were pretty jarring - "your" instead of "you're", "who's" instead of "whose", "site" instead of "sight". Which is a pity, because the prose in itself was quite lovely. This didn't influence my rating though).

For quotes from this book click here.
For more Supernatural books click here.


  1. This sounds like a cool book! Yeah, I get really annoyed when people want to "tone down" representation. If this character is gay, and wants to shout it out from the rooftops, let them! I don't think censorship is ever the option here. Also, the fact that this reviewer used the word "modest," implies that being gay is somehow impure. Not cool!

    1. I think it was the same attitude that too many non-LGBT+ people have when there's a Pride rally..."I'm not anti-gay, but why can't you keep your gayness to yourself?". While I'm happy that this book exists (not only because the world here is crazy good).

  2. I am so thrown by that one review you referenced. Why do people attack OwnVoices rep? *shake my head* Anyhow, I am so glad to hear this was a hit for you. I have been seeing this book everywhere. A solid cast of characters is something that always makes my reading experience better, so yeah for that, and well, you know I would love a sweet romance, probably more than anything else you mentioned.

    1. Some people would probably like for diversity not to step out of line too much and hit you in the eye...It's funny, because that reviewer seemed genuinely concerned that, by pushing the gay label, the author was doing Kane a disservice 🙄.

      Yep, this is one of the rare popular books I've read LOL. And yep, I know you love a sweet romance 😉. As for me, I'm glad it didn't take over, but I liked that it was there (*shock*).

  3. Love your review format! This sounds like such a cool book.
    And wow, that other review had a weird take. Why can't people (and characters) express any part of their identity they want to, the way they want to?

    1. Thank you!

      And heck if I know. Policing characters (and authors!) that way is not cool at all.

  4. Wow, this sounds pretty awesome! I love alternate reality stories, and what a beautiful cover as well! Glad to hear this was done so well. :)

    1. More accurately, it's a dream reality story, but it's the same difference - still enthralling (and awesome) 😀.

  5. Awesome that this surpassed your expectations- I love the sound of it!!

    1. It feels both familiar and fresh. The dream angle is different, and the queer angle is awesome!


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