In Dreams He Came

InDreamsHeCameTitle: In Dreams He Came
Author: Trina Lane
Cover Artist: Dan Skinner/Cerberus Inc.
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M romance
Length: Novel (210 pages)
Rating: 2 stars out of 5

A guest review by Leslie

In a nutshell: Pointless plot, inane dialog, and way too much sugar made this almost a DNF for me.

Blurb:

With a very active imagination and passion for all things history, University of California senior and veteran on the swim team Gabriel Mason often finds himself traveling to distant lands and times. There’s always one constant in Gabe’s dreams: a nameless man whose love completes Gabe’s soul. Gabe is waiting for someone special in his “real” life as well, and his best friend Phil is determined to find Gabe his elusive knight in shining armor.

Nick Jackson, a university alum and Olympic swimming champion, immediately recognizes the quiet young man from the swim team and convinces Gabe to give them a chance at building something special. Considering the palpable attraction between them, Nick surprises himself by quickly agreeing to take their budding relationship slow. Unfortunately, real life is not a fantasy, and Nick’s demanding schedule as a professional athlete and Gabe’s obligations to the swim team and his degree make finding time to spend together difficult.

Have the two men found everlasting love, or will it all prove to be just another dream?

Review:

I had high hopes for this book, based on the blurb but my expectations were quickly dashed within the first few pages. The blurb is quite accurate so no need to re-hash the story in this review. Instead, I’ll focus on what didn’t work for me.  My issues might not be so problematic for other readers—hopefully this review will help you decide if you want to give this one a go.

First, dialog. Maybe I’m being picky, but I like books where the characters sound like real people.  In this book, the characters are either lecturing each other, ie, “We have to deal with factors that average couples our age don’t,” or calling each other “My beloved knight,” and “My sweet prince.” There wasn’t a whole lot of in-between and it got tiresome to read.

Second, lush descriptions. Lapis lazuli eyes, pleasure akin “to a tsunami in the Pacific” (which made me cringe a little given recent worldwide events), and worst of all, lots of colorful descriptions of body parts, particularly genitalia. Overdone descriptions that stand in for storytelling get old very fast.

Third, there was an annoying tendency for things to happen off page. For example, Gabe and Nick meet one evening at a gay bar. Despite Gabe’s desire to save himself for his “sweet knight,” he starts making out with Nick immediately. Turn the page and it’s three weeks later. We learn that Nick and Gabe have been seeing each other with even more kissing involved. Again, maybe it’s a quirk of mine, but I like reading about the early days in a relationship and how it develops, not being told after-the-fact that the characters are getting along famously and look to be headed towards a long-term relationship. This happened repeatedly: swim meets, dinner dates, study sessions–you name it, we readers heard about it, but didn’t experience it. This is not a writing style I enjoy.

Fourth, there were tremendous inconsistencies. Another example: in the early part of the book, Gabe and Nick are open and affectionate with each other, both noting that they’d never hidden their sexuality and were out to their friends and teammates. Nick runs around and tells everyone he loves Gabe, even before he tells Gabe himself. So why, then, at about the two-thirds point of the book, does Nick start worrying about being outed? It made no sense to me. This was the most glaring example but inconsistent characters and actions were present throughout.

Fifth, the story just meandered and was superficial. Anytime there was a potential conflict or issue, it was glossed over or handled off page. Exciting events were also skipped over, ie, swim meets. We find out after the fact that Gabe came in first or Nick won a gang of gold medals at the Olympics. Huh?

At the 35% point of the book there was a bizarre scene with virginal Gabe having phone sex with Nick while Gabe is writhing on the floor of the college library, buried deep in the special collections stacks. That was the point where I really thought of giving up and throwing the book across the room, but I persisted, hoping against hope that the story would get better. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t but as reviewers often say here at the site, I’m just one reader and your opinion might vary. Even so, in good conscience, I can’t recommend this book.

 

16 comments

  • I just read a review on another site that gave this book 5 kisses (I’m guessing that is equal to 5 stars?) but I think I’ll skip it. Your review seems to hit on most of my peeves.

    Thanks for taking one for the team!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Laura. The notification of your comment came in my email and I said to myself, “In Dreams He Came? What was that about?” I just re-read this review and realized how totally forgettable this book is…LOL.

      L

      Reply
  • Thank-you Leslie! I probably would of bought this book. Everything you said in your review would of annoyed me to no end…especially the knight and prince stuff!

    Great review. :bravo:

    Reply
    • I just did a search. The word “prince” shows up 65 times and “knight” appears 41, so I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say the endearments were a bit over-used…

      L

      Reply
        • Hahahah, yes, especially when you consider that this story was not a re-telling of Hamlet (as suggested above) but supposedly the story of a pair of elite athletes falling in love. Hey, I like it when my husband calls me “Queen” but I don’t get it 10x/day! LOL.

          L

          Reply
  • Well-written review, Leslie, thank you. I was tempted by the blurb, but hoped someone would review it first. I’m glad I waited, but I’m sorry you had to take one for the team.

    Almost every issue you pointed out with this book reflects my experience with the one book I have read by this author. In Love’s Return, the major conflict (ya know, sort of the tipping point of the book) is mentioned, then the story fast-forwards X-number of months and the overly cute ending is at hand.

    It’s absolutely ridiculous and I have to wonder why this publisher, which is usually so good, would produce such an inferior piece. Disappointing on so many levels.

    Reply
    • It was disappointing. I didn’t get into specifics but this one had a completely over-the-top ending, too. By the time I got to that, I was mostly skimming the book so it didn’t bother me as much as it might have under other circumstances.

      Thanks for your comment!

      L

      Reply
  • Sweet prince? Are they roleplaying Hamlet and Horatio, by any chance? 😉

    It sounds like a disjointed book. The blurb seems interesting enough but as you said in the review, the rest of it sounds pointless. Think I’ll skip this one. Thanks Leslie for such a balanced review.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Leslie. Yes, disjointed is a very good way to describe it. Some things are portrayed in excruciating detail (eating spinach dip on taco chips comes to mind) and other things are glossed over: “He went to Dubai and won a bunch of races.” Sigh…

      L

      Reply
  • I was curious about this book when I read the blurb but looks like it´s not for me. Thank you for your review 😎

    Reply
  • We have to deal with the factors average couples of our age don’t?! Is this a direct quote or paraphrase? 🙂 Unless one of them is a professor and another is sitting in his classroom, which would be wierd anyway, I do not ever want to hear characters talk like this. Thanks for saving my money Lesley, I had been looking at this one and glad I did not give in to the temptation. And beloved knight? Throwing the book against the wall material as well for me 🙁

    Reply
    • It’s a direct quote and comes at 19%. In fact, it’s Nick speaking to Gabe’s swim coach. I didn’t think athletes usually talked like that to coaches but whatever…

      Thanks for your comment!

      L

      Reply
  • Thanks for your comment, Nikyta! Yes, sex off page can be okay because too much of that can *also* be overdone. Clearly there’s a fine line. But with this story, there were several instances of “build-up” (ie, anticipating an event, like a dinner out) and the next thing I knew, it was days for weeks later. This just didn’t work for me.

    L

    Reply
  • Great review, Leslie! I just bought this and now I’m kind of regretting it. Everything you mentioned always annoys me in books especially the things that happen off page. While I don’t mind when that applies to sex I hate it when it happens to things that would make the story seem more real. Maybe I’ll read it one day but I think I’ll pass on it for now. Thanks for reviewing it! :DX:

    Reply

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