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The Dream Stealer

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  374 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Once every generation or so, a great wolf called the Blood Prince, who not only devours bodies but also steals souls, stalks the northern forests of Russia. Rumor has it that he has set his sights on the forgettable little village of Miersk. The wolf’s evil runs so deep that past survivors refuse to believe in him, and so it is up to the newest generation, two children nam ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published October 21st 2002 by Clarion Books (first published 1983)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
This short novel reads like a fable, ripe with Russian culture and built on the foundation of well-known and more obscure Russian folklore. Two children in a small village in Russia called Miersk face the knowledge that the Blood Prince, a huge, demonic wolf, is coming their way and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

Underneath all the fable elements, there is a strong theme of the alienation of childhood from adulthood. Children are rarely heeded, listened to, or taken seriously. Thro
Mar 29, 2015 TL rated it it was ok
Nice idea but couldn't get into fully. The setting is wonderful and loved the idea of the Blood Prince but all in all I was mostly bored.

The writing went back and forth for me being wonderful and dry.

*shrugs * Oh well, on to the next
Sep 26, 2016 Camille rated it liked it
This review and others posted over at my blog.

The Blood Prince, a deadly, mythical wolf with the power to steal souls, is on the move once more and is rumored to be headed for the small village of Miersk. When friends Pasha and Lisette see a rare firebird, it sets them off on a quest to find the witch Baba Yaga and hopefully save their village from the Blood Prince.

This little novella combines elements from the Russian folktales of Baba Yaga, the Firebird and Vasilissa the Beautiful – none of
Jul 07, 2008 Sabrina rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 8 to Adult, people who like "retellings" or folklore based literature
Based on Eastern European folklore, this children's book is fantastic for all ages. I enjoyed this story much more than his "adult" fiction, of which he is most popularly know for his novel "Wicked". Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy "Wicked" and "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister" but the "Dream Stealer" is such a nicely crafted tale. Like many "Adult" writers who dip their hands in Children's or YA fiction (Terry Pratchett most notably) paring the writing down to a simple elegance accessible to ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This must be a retelling of a Russian folktale, because I could swear I've read about a village being rebuilt on the flatcars of a train before. I love Baba Yaga stories, and Maguire does a great job of giving her an interesting personality, part good, part evil, part crochety old lady. And I absolutely love the silhouette-type illustrations. A very atmospheric book. Recommended.
Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
Legend has it that a great wolf named The Blood Prince stalks the northern forests of Russia, biding his time before he wreaks havoc devouring bodies and stealing souls of the townspeople. The village of Miersk lies in wait, doing their best to forget the legend and hoping that by blocking the Blood Prince out of their memories, they will manage to escape his wrath. Two children from Miersk, Pasha and Lisette do not force The Blood Prince from their minds, instead they stand strong in their beli ...more
Mary Beth Phelps
Aug 22, 2012 Mary Beth Phelps rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
This book was a pleasant surprise. Narrated in the style of a fairy tale with charming characters, bewitched creatures, and magic galore, it makes one feel like a six year old again, expecting Baba Yaga to pop out of the bushes or a house to sprout legs at any moment. While there are many humorous and fun passages, the story is also sobering as the reader is reminded that it is based on Russian fairy tales, and there is never enough to eat, not enough work, and no opportunities for betterment. T ...more
Feb 13, 2016 Micaela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, children
This is one of the darling little books that I reread sometimes just to feel the warm fuzzies. It is inspired by Russian folklore, particularly Vassalisa the Beautiful (sorta Cinderella), Baba Yaga (the witch with iron teeth who flies with a mortar and pestle and owns a hut on chicken legs guarded by the skulls of her enemies), and the Firebird, which is somewhat like a pheonix. The story is about to Russian peasant children in the village of Miersk, before the revolution but after trains. It is ...more
Apr 21, 2010 Ashley rated it liked it
Shelves: 9-and-up, fairytales
Ages: 9-12

Plot: The village of Miersk is being threatened by a figure many thought was just a story -the Blood Prince. That is until two children, who still believe in the stories, decide to take the fate of their village into their own hands.

Assessment: This is an interesting modernization and joining of popular folktales of the Grimm genre, and it certainly sets the imagination running. I love the idea of moving a town onto a train!

This is a story that focuses on how children can make a differ
Mary Jo
Jan 28, 2012 Mary Jo rated it liked it
The book is a retelling of a Russian fairy tale about a witch named Baba Yaga and a terrifying wolf called the Blood Prince who wants to steal the children’s dreams. The characters are cute in a one-note way that works in fairy tales; they’re villagers who can barely agree on anything, and that’s amusing. The folk characters and the type of magic come across as unique and different because most of us in the US don’t know old Russian tales the way we do Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. I mean, ...more
I've enjoyed Russian folklore and fairy tales since I took a few language classes in college, and this does not disappoint. There's nothing like a dream-eating wolf, a witch in a hut on chicken legs, and a village of both skeptics and the superstitious. Of course, it's the children who ultimately discover how to save their village. It's exciting to me to see Russian legends take form in America.
Kids who like fairy tales and fantasy will enjoy this, especially if they get into the gorier elements
Sep 25, 2011 Jolee rated it it was ok
This was disappointing to me. This is more because I usually LOVE Gregory Maguire's fiction geared towards adult (which tend toward more of the fractured fairy tales rather than true folklore) rather than because anything was particularly wrong with the book. In reading reviews on Amazon, I have to agree with comments that it was both "beautifully written" AND it "could not hold my interest." How does THAT work? But in seriousness, I could see this being truly scary to YOUNG readers (age 4-8??.. ...more
Jul 25, 2015 Julia rated it it was amazing
A wonderful Russian-inspired story by Gregory Maguire that will actually appeal to children this time! I absolutely loved Egg and Spoon, which was influenced by this earlier piece, but I felt that that novel, although written for children, was much too literary for most and appealed more to adults. This one however? This one was a remarkably woven tale that had some of my favorite Russian characters in it: Baba Yaga, the Firebird, and even Vasilissa the Beautiful, but written for most children t ...more
Jan 14, 2011 Kara rated it liked it
Shelves: folklore

A Baba Yaga tale set in a vaguely 19th century Russia.

Since I've already used the word "Russia" I don't think I need to tell you that a lot of it is depressing.

However, the two young protaganists are brave despite of fear, willing to take action, and really sucked me in, hoping for a happy ending for those kids. Baba Yaga, of course, is a show stealer, and teh wolf is a delicioulsy evil villian - think Smaug in Jackson's The Hobbit.

Would love to see this story done as a Miyazaki style animated
Jul 31, 2008 Anastasia rated it liked it
Dream Stealer is a less warped retelling than Gregory Maguire in known for; it sticks close to the Baba Yaga legends but throws in enough twists on Russian village life to stay fairly interesting. The child characters focus the narration on a familial quest rather than on a more epic tale--that, at least, is fairly common for Gregory Maguire. I've been thinking about this one since I read it and I think my disappointment with it is rooted in the lack of deviation from norm: it reads more like a ...more
Apr 22, 2010 aaron rated it liked it
this is a solid effort from gregory maguire that is basically a fairy tale from the former soviet union. in it a young pair of children face off against the witch baba yaga of russian fame. they have to visit her in order to get her help to fend off a huge wolf/stealer-of-dreams who goes by the blood prince. they go against the wishes of their families and village and are able to meet up with baba yaga. from there it gets more interesting. good quick read...but maguire has better.
Dec 16, 2008 Vegantrav rated it really liked it
I decided to take a break from my normal fare of adult fiction and nonfiction and just enjoy a good old-fashioned fairy tale. This is a delightful tale about two Russian children, a witch who is at times good and at times bad, and the frightful Blood Prince. It's a quick and easy read, and Maguire spins his story with as much mystery and magic as any of Hans Christian Anderson's or the Brothers Grimms' fairy tales.
Casi Hamilton
Dec 29, 2010 Casi Hamilton rated it it was ok
Shelves: children, fantasy, 2015
This book was a trial go get through. The target audience is obviously children, but I can't think of a single child that would sit down and muscle through it. It was an interesting enough story, but the execution was very poor. I will say that the final paragraph was masterfully done and gave me a happy chill, but it was literally the only moment that did.
Oct 28, 2011 Erin rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It is the first time I have read a Russian fairytale. I enjoyed the characters and the magic that this book had to offer. The language of the story lent itself well to some great visuals of the imagination, I loved picturing this story in my head. How can you avoid having fun picturing a hut running on chicken legs and talking skull stakes?!?!
Feb 06, 2010 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: juvenile, 571
In Russia, the Blood Prince stalks a small town, hoping to steal its inhabitants dreams and eat their flesh.

I wanted to like this because it's Maguire, but I was just not into it. Most of the time I was bored out of my mind reading. I wanted it to be over. I can't really say much more; I really didn't enjoy it.
Chelle Sparks-Jordan
Jan 05, 2012 Chelle Sparks-Jordan rated it it was amazing
Incredible book. A more mature version of a long Fairy Tale, brilliantly written! One of my 6th graders encouraged me to read this book... I will recommend this to my boys as soon as they are old enough!

"Believe in your imaginings, frightening as they are. They may give you the courage to fight a dozen bears."
Mar 31, 2015 James rated it really liked it
totally cute book!! i love all the mixing of the children's tales, told from another ulture's point of telling, that make this story so recognizable but altogether different and fun... everyone should read this to their children...
Oct 18, 2014 Jen rated it liked it
I usually love the author. I just expected something different I guess. I wasn't ready for the old children's fairytale feeling, I was expecting something more. It wasn't horrible but it was definitely lacking something.
Aug 03, 2007 Marico rated it liked it
I love reading stories of traditional characters, in this case Baba Yaga, reimagined by contemporary authors. Though this is a children's story, I recommend it for adults as well. It is a simple read and lovely.
Kate Harding
Jun 04, 2012 Kate Harding rated it really liked it
I thought this was a really lovely little dark children's story. I loved that it is based on real Russian fairy tales and myths. It's a fast, interesting, and magical read and I can't wait until my kids are old enough for this little gem.
Aug 01, 2011 Brittany rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Interpretation of a Russian folktale leads to haunting story of a small town and their efforts to save themselves from certain death. A good reminder for children that all fairy tales aren't sugar and spice.
Jan 23, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
Fairy tales are a patricular soft spot for me, especially revisited ones. Not to mention Gregory Maguire is one of my favorite authors. I especially enjoyed this book because its a Russian fairy tale and I have Russian heritage. Beautiful prose as always.
Jun 07, 2008 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Wow! Worth every second spent on it. This is a short book for children but Maguire has done a terrific job weaving old tales into a new idea. This is written for children (at least that's where it's shelved in the library) but I recommend it for adults as well.
Dec 12, 2012 Jill rated it really liked it
A fabulous and fun reworking of the Baba Yaga/Vasilissa the Beautiful tale. I am not, in general, a Maguire fan... but this book absolutely sparkled. A perfect fairy tale.
The Fairy Godmother
Based on russian folklore.
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Gregory Maguire is an American author, whose novels are revisionist retellings of children's stories (such as L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into Wicked). He received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University, and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany. He was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children' ...more
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