Doors of Sleep – Tim Pratt

“I yawned – one of those bone-cracking yawns so immense it hurts your jaw and seems to realign the plates of your skull – and staggered against the bar.”

When Zaxony Delatree – Zax – falls asleep, he wakes up in another universe. For three years he’s traversed the multiverse, occasionally taking on a companion, but most of them eventually find a world to stay in while Zax has no choice but to keep travelling. Sometimes he feels good helping them find better lives, and sometimes it breaks his heart. And once it was a narrow escape, as said companion was keen on vivisection…

There’s a lot to like in this book. It takes its time flitting between different realities, giving little slivers of world building – appropriately, though, as even with stimulants Zax can only stay awake so long and doesn’t get to experience much of any world. We do, however, get more information about his new companion, giving a sense of continuity that might otherwise be lacking in the tale and lessening the sense of crushing loneliness Zax faces others. Timely?

After some pleasant meandering, the threat that drives the rest of the plot is introduced and speeds the rest of the story along. If I had any complaints it’s that there isn’t as much meat to the story as there could be, and the world building is by its nature fleeting and brief, but then, the very nature of the set up gives little choice. I was a little more ‘hmm’ about the slight inconsistencies in the decisions about when to sleep/escape from any given reality – a little more grounding would have helped my suspension of disbelief.

I found Doors of Sleep a relatively light and pleasantly diverting read. That GoodRead gives it a series name makes me think there might be more adventures for Zax – and I’ll gladly check those out when they arrive!

NetGalley eARC: 238 pages
First published: 12th January 2021
Series: Journals of Zaxony Delatree book 1 (of 1, so far)
Read from 8th-28th December 2020

My rating: 7/10

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