Title: The Eye-Dancers
Author: Michael S. Fedison
First published: November 16th 2012, self-published
Edition: ebook, 217 pages
Genre: Sci-Fi, adventure
Age group: Children, Young Adult
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Seventh-grader Mitchell Brant and three of his classmates inexplicably wake up at the back edge of a softball field to the sounds of a game, the cheering of the crowd. None of them remembers coming here. And as they soon learn, “here” is like no place they’ve ever seen. Cars resemble antiques from the 1950s. There are no cell phones, no PCs. Even the spelling of words is slightly off.
A compulsive liar, constantly telling fantastic stories to garner attention and approval, Mitchell can only wish this were just one more of his tall tales. But it isn’t. It’s all too real. Together, as they confront unexpected and life-threatening dangers, Mitchell and his friends must overcome their bickering and insecurities to learn what happened, where they are, and how to get back home.
The answers can be found only in the mysterious little girl with the blue, hypnotic eyes. The one they had each dreamed of three nights in a row before arriving here. She is their only hope. And, as they eventually discover, they are her only hope.
The Eye-Dancers is a self-published novel by American author Michael S. Fedison. It’s a young adult sci-fi story, which the author claims to be inspired by his childhood years spent in Western New York State. Aside from being a story about teenagers (the main characters are about 12 years-old), it also gives a new (both for kids and adults) look on the concept of “reality” and its immensity, but put in a very simple and easy may making it approachable and entertaining both for kids and adults.
The novel centers on 4 boys, who are classmates but not actually a friendly group. Having finished the sixth grade they are eager of having fun during their summer vacation, But the citation they find themselves in exactly resembles the one from the movie The Nightmare on Elm Street, though without streams of blood and murders, of course. Mind you, this is no horror story.
The boys are very much shattered and confused when they learn that the 3 of them – Mitchell, Joe and Ryan – have been seeing the same dream for three nights in a row. They didn’t see Freddy Krueger, but a little, apparently 7 years-old, girl with a very strange pair of spinning blue eyes. The girl makes it a habit to appear in their dreams standing in the street outside their houses and asking them to come help her.
Having no idea why they were having this dream or how to get rid of it, the boys decide to follow the girl in their dreams and see what would happen. They ask their classmate Marc Kuslanski, who is the school’s geek and know-it-all, to watch them while they sleep, just to be sure.
And so the boys dream of getting closer to the girl and taking her hand, looking deeply into her eyes. As a result all for of them, including Kuslanski, wake up on an unknown ball field without any notion where they are and why everything around them seems outdated, like they traveled back in the past.
The things they eventually learn about this new world they found themselves in are that it’s not simply resembles the past, but it seems like from another universe. Their library history books give account to very different historical events, there is no technical progress we are used to in out world. And the town itself turns out to be the copy of their hometown but founded by another person and thus named differently.
So the boys have to face not only the challenge of finding the girl but also understanding where they are and who they are as persons.
There are a lot of aspects of the book to be interested in. Personally, I was very intrigued by the concept of the universe and reality. It’s really intimidating to imagine that the universe contains layers upon layers of different worlds each overlapping each other, thus creating different realities. In some of this reality you may be a single child having your parents on a brink of divorce, and in another one you have a sister and a very happy family. You can’t help thinking about your other self in another world. What is he or she up to? What does his or her life look like?
The author created a very eventful and unpredictable plot, there wasn’t a moment while reading the book that I could predict what would happen next. But I also liked that being a sci-fi story it wasn’t overly informative. It’s definitely a book first of all meant for teenagers and that’s why the content is very light and understandable. Author explains everything perfectly, though he keeps reminding that not in the real world not everything can be explained, sometimes you just have to take the world as it is.
The ending was very peaceful comparing to the whole story, but it summed the story up and I liked the fact that the boys not only learned the necessary life lessons about friendship, courage, hope and mostly about themselves. It’s great that in the end having lived through such an experience they became true friends, especially with them being such different personalities.
The book is a nice read, especially worth reading for teenagers, I’m sure they would really get into it, what with all its twisted plot and mysteries. As for me I was pleased with the story. I haven’t read much sci-fi books in my life, but I wanted to try this genre for a long time. This book is a great start for me.