Genre : Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher : Angry Robot
Length : 272 pages
Format : eARC
Rating : 4 stars
Publication Date : January 12th 2021
What would you do if you woke up and found yourself in a parallel universe under an alien sky? This is the question Zax Delatree must answer every time he closes his eyes.
Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. He has no control over his destination and never knows what he will see when he opens his eyes. Sometimes he wakes up in technological utopias, and other times in the bombed-out ruins of collapsed civilizations. All he has to live by are his wits and the small aides he has picked up along the way – technological advantages from techno-utopias, sedatives to escape dangerous worlds, and stimulants to extend his stay in pleasant ones.
Thankfully, Zax isn’t always alone. He can take people with him, if they’re unconscious in his arms when he falls asleep. But someone unwelcome is on his tail, and they are after something that Zax cannot spare – the blood running through his veins, the power to travel through worlds…
Zax Delatree has a special ability, every time he falls asleep, he travels to a new random dimension. Sometimes, he wakes up in dystopian world and sometimes he wakes up in a fantastical world where evil mushrooms try to kill him.
If Zax falls asleep holding someone in his arms, he can transport them with him. A lesson he has learnt the hard way the first time he traveled to a new reality. However, most of Zax’s companions tend to abandon him after a few realities to settle down on worlds they like, a luxury that Zax can’t afford. Some other times, Zax has to run away from his own companions when they try to vivisect him in order to understand how his powers work. That’s the case with the Lector, one of Zax’s former companion turned evil doctor who wants to replicate his powers in order to create an Empire across realities. Zax managed to escape the Lector once but, will he be able to avoid him forever?
Doors of Sleep is such a fun ride! This book really is a wonder of creativity, Tim Pratt imagined hundreds of different worlds that are all completely different from one another and it was fascinating to discover them one by one.
I really enjoyed the world but, most of all, I loved the characters! The main character is a fascinating character to follow. At the start of the novel, Zax has been jumping from one reality to another for 3 years and he has visited hundreds and hundreds of different worlds. In each reality, he tries his best to help the people he meets and, if he encounters someone or something who wants to visit a new world, he takes them with him.
I liked reading the novel from Zax’s perspective but I have to say that my favorite characters were his companions. I don’t want to say too much about the second companion because they arrive pretty late in the story but Minna was awesome! She’s a character from a world where biological engineering is mastered and she can modify her body at will to create biological compounds that are (more than a few times) life savers. Zax is a cool character but Minna was the highlight of the novel for me. She’s a gentle soul but also very badass in her own way and usually a lot more quick-witted than Zax!
Another character that I found fascinating was the Lector. Sure, he was kind of a “moustache twirling villain” and his personality probably could have been developed a bit more but, I had a ton of fun reading about him and his evil plans for the universe. He is also the one who injected Zax with a language virus that allows him to understand intelligent creatures in every world he visits and, without this virus, the story would have been a lot less interesting.
Doors of Sleep was one of the first book I read this year and, while it’s not perfect, it’s so much fun that I could easily forgive the unevenness of the pacing (it takes a bit for the plot to start) and enjoy the novel and its wonders. I don’t know if this book is standalone or a start to a new series but, if Pratt writes more stories in this world, I will read them for sure!
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. My thanks to Angry Robot and Netgalley. All opinions are my own.