The Dreaming, The Collection: Vol. 1-3 by Queenie Chan (Canada) - (USA)
Pages: 608 pages
Finished: Sept. 27, 2010
First Published: (2005-2007) Aug. 31, 2010 Omnibus Collection
Genre: YA, manga, Gothic, horror
Cheer up, Amber.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.
Reason for Reading: Boarding school horror? Hello? I am so there!
Anyone who missed out on this manga trilogy the first time around is in for a treat with this omnibus edition that includes all three volumes plus an extra short story. The book also starts with gorgeous full colour illustrations and ends with an in-depth interview with the author.
Written by an Australian, set in the Australian Bush in an eerie Victorian Boarding School in the middle of nowhere, this is a classic Gothic horror tale. Twin sisters arrive at the school after there parents divorce via the ministrations of their aunt, but they must pretend they are one year apart as the owner of the school does not permit twins entrance. The creepy looking, old and violent tempered Mrs. Skeener isn't fooled for one minute though. The girls find the school strange right from the start when they see the room at the end of one of the halls that has been sealed off and wall-papered right over with a small but creepy painting on it. In fact the entire school is hung with an art collection done by an anonymous former student; the paintings are Victorian in nature but very macabre. The dreams begin right away. Both girls start having the same dreams and then they start to vary slightly. Then it happens, a girl disappears but she's not the first. Over the years a girl has disappeared every year or so, way back to the school's Victorian origins when a party of ten girls and a schoolmistress vanished in the bush. At this point the twins realize that their dreams may have some connection to solving the sinister secret of Greenwich Private College.
Holy wow! This was fantastic! I love boarding school stories and this is as creepy, eerie and Gothic as it gets. A story that sucks you in and keeps you turning the pages but not too fast as I just loved Queenie Chan's art, especially her architectural details of the building both inside and out. I was hooked with this manga and read the entire book in one sitting, getting up only for a couple of stretches. There is a lot to the story including background on the characters, foreshadowing and creepy reveals. The main characters are wonderfully portrayed; both through text and illustration we get a clear sense of their personalities, even the twins are distinctly unique persons. The plot unravels slowly through the first volume and then picks up speed very fast in volumes 2 and 3 ending in an eerie fashion typical of the genre. The added short story is wickedly fun and I'm sure fans will enjoy owning a copy of this new collected edition. This is a treasure I'll go back and read again sometime.