Monday, 6 January 2014

The Dreaming (Volumes 2 and 3) by Queenie Chan

The Dreaming (Volume 2) by Queenie Chan is the second part of the three-volume story begun in (gasp!) Volume 1. My review of Volume 1 is here. Because they really are part of the same story, this review will also include Volume 3 below. Also note that the blurb and the review contain spoilers for Volume 1.
Greenwich Private College grinds to a complete halt after the discovery of Millie's body. As gloom and despair sets in, most of the students leave the school. But Jeanie's curiosity keeps her on campus, and when she's led down the path of the Greenwich's dark history, has she awakened a ghostly curse?
In Volume 2 the story picks up right where Volume 1 left off. Somewhat unsurprisingly, it mostly serves as a chance for Jeanie to learn more about the history of the school — y'know, the history no one wanted to talk about in the first Volume before everything went wrong. And on top of that, there aren't many students left at the school, to make the building extra creepy.

We are also treated to a build up of creepiness which is obviously setting up the story for the concluding volume. What will happen next? Who will survive? Will anyone get out of the school alive, or will it just merge into the surrounding bushlands, never to be seen again? And what's with the Victorian dresses?

To answer these questions, (and more!) I read on to the last volume...

4 / 5 stars


Finally, The Dreaming Volume 3 concludes the story.
Where did the ghostly girls come from? And what do they want? Before the students know it, the missing girls enter the school, where Amber spots Millie, who speaks to her almost as if to warn her of something. Is there more to this supernatural mystery than just the school itself? The answers to why these girls have come back and what caused their death are revealed in this haunting series finale.
This final instalment mostly focusses on Jeanie and Ms Anu gradually unravelling the mysteries of the school. And a side note I didn't really think about until this Volume, it's nice to see a story where the main characters are Asian and Indigenous rather than defaulting to Anglo.

Of course it turns out there's more to the weird goings on at the school than there initially seemed and — no spoilers — there was a twist I didn't see coming. Oh and there was more creepiness, building on what was already established in the earlier two volumes.

Overall I quite enjoyed reading this manga. It's quite different, especially in form, to anything else I've read and I'll definitely be seeking out other work by Chan in the future. (Perhaps starting with Small Shen in collaboration with Kylie Chan, or maybe her Legend of Zelda fancomic.) I highly recommend The Dreaming to fans of horror/dark fantasy, including those who might not usually read manga.

I'm also interested in checking out a few other manga authors if anyone has any suggestions as to where to go from here. (Though I won't be switching over from predominantly text-based reading any time soon.)

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2006 and 2007, respectively; Tokyopop
Series: The Dreaming Volumes 2 and 3 of 3
Format read: ebook (e-manga?)
Source: Purchased from ComiXology amid much angst and shouting at the iPad
Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge, Aussie Horror Reading Challenge

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reviewing my series, Tsana. :)
    I'm really glad you enjoyed it.