Book Review: Dream of the Serpent by Alan Ryker

18708587Title: Dream of the Serpent

Author: Alan Ryker

Genre: Horror, Dark Fiction, Dark Fantasy

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Cody Miller is on the brink of having it all: an MBA, a high-powered job in corporate finance, and the girl of his dreams. And then one mistake, one unfortunate accident, takes it all away in the blink of an eye. His future, his health and his hope—gone—up in flames, leaving him the victim of an unimaginably horrific injury.

Upon emerging from a coma, Cody discovers his life and plans have been shattered. As he struggles to find the strength to go on and a reason to live, he slowly begins to realize things may not be as they seem. His life has changed more than he could’ve ever imagined, but someone…or something…may be working beneath the surface…changing the world around him, altering lives and procuring victims…an ancient evil that hides in plain sight and destroys as it consumes.

To uncover the truth, Cody will have to forget everything he thought he knew about reality in order to salvage his sanity and save the life of the woman he loves.

How much would you give, how far would you go, what would you sacrifice, to save the person you love more than life itself? From deep within the flames, Cody Miller is about to find out.

Dream of the Serpent is more dark fantasy than horror, descending into the darkest breaches of the human mind, and giving us a choice. What if you could make things right? What if all the guilt you ever felt could be set straight? No matter what you did. Clean slate. Would you do it? All it costs is your soul.

Cody Miller is seconds away from having it all: the job of his dreams, the girl he’s always wanted, the life he imagined. But then said girlfriend calls him while he’s working in the kitchen of the restaurant he works at, and everything goes wrong. The fryer lights up, and seconds later, Cody is engulfed in flames. He survives, but what is left of him is a burned shell, continuously in pain, his body destroying him. His girlfriend won’t look at him anymore, overwhelmed by guilt for bothering him at the wrong moment.

She descends into madness and drugs, hanging out with the wrong crowd. She texts him, and send him emails that give him hope, but still he can’t really forgive her for what happened, or tell her it wasn’t her fault. But then, she vanishes, after mentioning something about a serpent.

Next thing Cody knows, he wakes up next to another woman with a whole new set of memories overlapping the ones he had about being burnt. These memories involve his girlfriend disappearing at the night of the party – the night he got burnt, in the other set of memories – and apart from missing her, he’s fine. His life is somewhat on track.

But as the memories struggle in his mind, he knows this isn’t his real life. And if ever wants to see the love of his life again, he’ll have to find out who or what the serpent is, and how she got involved with them. But what awaits him as he starts his search, is darker than anything he could’ve ever imagined.

Cody is a great character. He’s very human. When he has the accident, he’s angry with the world, and shoots his anger at everyone coming near, which seems like a very human reaction to me. I felt a lot of sympathy for him as he tumbles into a depression. But then, once he has the two sets of memories and notices something is wrong, he finds an immense amount of courage within himself, which I admired. His personality developed a lot throughout the book, and in a good way.

The plot was a mix of horror (although not a lot) and dark fantasy. The author has great imaginative skills, and manages to give vivid descriptions. When he described Cody’s burn wounds, I felt like throwing up. The words really make the picture come to life.

What I lacked a little though, was the sense of urgency. It seems like Cody dragged himself from spot to spot, and even when he wakes up with a new set of memories, and later on discovers his girlfriend is in terrible danger, there’s no real urgency. As if he has all the time in the world.

Apart from that, I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading more books by this author.


  1. Sounds like an interesting read!

  2. This sounds really cool. I could picture it as I read your description and thoughts. I could definitely see this as a movie. I think that your observation of there being no sense of urgency though is a good one, you really need that in a drama.

  3. I haven’t seen this one before. I like the “my life is great but something doesn’t feel right” trope. I may have to give this one a try. Great review!

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