Doctor Strange: The Fate of Dreams by Devin Grayson
Young adult | Supernatural | Superhero
Published by Marvel
Released October 18, 2016
Goodreads | Amazon
While I knew that DC Comics had published various novels based on their iconic comic book characters (such as Catwoman, Batman, and Wonder Woman), I wasn’t aware that Marvel had done this as well until I happened upon this novel at my favorite comic book shop, Trilogy Comics.
Doctor Strange is my favorite Marvel character, as well as my favorite superhero. While I’m not a fan of the MCU movie (there were no incantations and it wasn’t campy enough!), I’m always excited when I see a new Doctor Strange story, and I added this novel to my much-too-large pile of comics.
The Fate of Dreams follows Doctor Strange as he tries to discover what’s causing people to fight one another on the streets and carry out wild ideas, which seems to be creating unease in the magical community.
Working alongside Sharanya Misra, a dream researcher, and an Inhuman named Jane Bailey, Doctor Strange creates a shocking alliance with his classic nemesis, Nightmare, the ruler of one of the dream dimensions. Together they travel into the dream dimension to try to find and fix the problem.
While I had some issues with the novel, I generally enjoyed it. It was interesting to get more backstory about Doctor Strange’s life than what you would normally find in a comic book, especially when it delved into his early life and the death of his sister. I’m not sure how canon this history was, because I haven’t seen the same specific details anywhere else, but they certainly added an extra dimension to his history, and even explained his reasons for becoming a doctor.
I found the character of Sharanya irrelevant to the story. Despite being a dream researcher traveling through the dream dimension, she didn’t do much to advance the story and seemed to be written into the narrative simply to add another character. Her presence didn’t annoy or bother me, but I truly feel that nothing would have changed had she not been in the story. Perhaps this can be attributed to the lack of character development. If there’s one huge fault in this novel, it’s that the readers are expected to have some pre-existing knowledge of the Marvel characters and that the new characters (Jane and Sharanya) aren’t given enough backstory and personality for us to grow attached to them.
One of the most interesting aspects of the novel for me was watching Nightmare work alongside Doctor Strange, and witness Nightmare’s fondness for Jane, the Inhuman character. Nightmare is one of my favorite Doctor Strange villains, and reading about him holding hands with a character (Jane) and being practically friendly with Doctor Strange was bizarre, although slightly enjoyable at the same time.
Another thing I’d like to point out is this interesting description of spells that Doctor Strange gives to Sharanya:
“The magical arts have a long literary tradition. Words are powerful. So powerful, in fact, that when we first started writing them down, we ‘spelled’ them. … Spells have to be crafted, and using rhyming or alliteration is one way of channeling power and intent through them.”
One of my favorite aspects of Doctor Strange comics has always been the use of slightly campy incantations, and I was thrilled that those were included in the novelization.
If you are looking for a quick, enjoyable novel about Doctor Strange, I’d recommend checking this out from your local library. It’s not the kind of thing a person might read multiple times, but it is fun.
For a Doctor Strange comic that I loved and recommend, I have a review of a five-issue series called The Oath that is worth reading.
Have you read The Fate of Dreams? What were your thoughts? Also, if you have any Doctor Strange comics you love, leave your recommendations down in the comments.