Gideon Hardy is eleven years old and going blind. The doctors said, “No cure,” and they meant it. No amount of money would buy a solution and no battle of wits could solve the problem. With the diagnosis, Gideon believes his days of being an ordinary kid, of hiking and stargazing, are over.
Then the sneaky shadow plaguing Gideon’s eyesight starts to whisper. Teasing him. Threatening him.
While Gideon tries to ignore the shadow’s taunts, his parents and doctors try to help him adjust to living with a disability. But the constant concerns and corrections are too much, so he seeks respite in the only place he can: his dreams. When asleep, he meets and befriends Baku, a nightmare eater, who invites Gideon to spend more and more time in the dream world. Together they help other children escape from their darkest fears, and Gideon finds a new purpose, until Baku accidentally lets slip that staying asleep for too long might reap dangerous consequences for human boys.
As darkness encases his vision, Gideon has to decide if he will abandon his parents and real life for his dreams, a place where he can still “see”.
Gideon Hardy stood on the stage of a large opera house with rows of empty wooden benches gawking back at him. Thick velvet curtains hung from the fly loft, the hems nailed to the floor by rusted railroad ties, closing off any possible retreat.
Gideon scanned the house, looking for where the evil sorcerer hid. The hint of movement, the brim of a pointed hat. A wisp of black cape. Anything.
Lightning shot across the domed ceiling, nearly hitting the enormous chandelier. Thunder boomed with no delay between sight and sound. Impossible from inside a building, but then this was a dream.
Gideon knew that much.
“You need me, Gideon. Become a friend of the shadows and they will gladly embrace you.” From somewhere in the second balcony, the evil sorcerer laughed. “I will embrace you as a friend.”
“No thank you,” said Gideon, his voice barely leaving the stage. Gold and grand, the opera house made Gideon feel undersized. Beneath him, the orchestra pit glowed with amber light, as if a thousand fireflies hid below the lip.
The sorcerer cackled again, still out of sight.
“Perhaps you need more demonstration of my power?”
Gideon widened his stance, squaring his shoulders. Warrior pose, like his mother taught him. In his right hand, he held an oak wand. He’d never used a magical wand before, but it somehow felt natural in his grasp. Familiar.
Again, he saw a flash of lightning and heard the boom of thunder. This time the chandelier shattered.