The Dreamweavers by G.Z. Schmidt (No Ordinary Thing) is set during China's Ming Dynasty and seamlessly incorporates folklore and magic into a vivid middle-grade adventure about sibling bonds and destiny.
Twelve-year-old twins Mei and Yun don't have many friends in their small village in the mountains of southern China. They were raised by their Grandpa Wu after their parents disappeared six years ago in the dreadful, haunted City of Ashes. Grandpa Wu taught them that "not even the most powerful person in the world can diminish your true value." This lesson is important, as the twins often see things others don't: "soft mists hovering over the river of fish" or sunny wisps of smoke hanging over their cat's ears. When Grandpa Wu is arrested by the emperor's son for allegedly serving him tainted mooncakes at the Mid-Autumn Festival, the twins embark on a rescue mission that reveals an ancient curse and unlocks long-lost family secrets.
Chinese mythology and philosophy play a prominent role in The Dreamweavers, with Schmidt sewing the Jade Rabbit (a popular character in Chinese culture), the dream world, and yin and yang into her spellbinding story. One successful way Schmidt does this is with the twins' personalities. While Mae is "as restless as an ant on a frying pan," her brother, Yun, is "careful, cautious" and moves at an "ant's pace." The twins' opposite traits complement each other and strengthen their connection, helping them on their quest. An entrancing story about the power of dreams, helping others and controlling our own destinies. --Lana Barnes, freelance reviewer and proofreader