Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O'Brien

Monday, September 15, 2014

Just Finished Reading ... Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O'Brien

Vault of Dreamers
by Caragh O'Brien
To be published by Roaring Brook Press
on September 16, 2014

Source: ARC sent by publisher for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success:  every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.
My take: If Inception and Big Brother got together and had a bookish baby, it would be Vault of Dreamers. Though I didn't love everything about this book, it definitely made me think, and that's always a good thing.

At first I really wasn't sure about the whole Forge Show/reality TV aspect of this book. At first, it just seemed to exist to reveal a lot of things that are obvious to anyone who has ever watched reality TV. As one of the characters refers to an event"back in 2045," I'd guess this book takes place at least 40-50 years in the future and I'd kind of hoped that by then, there wouldn't be reality TV, and, that if reality TV still existed,  it would be beyond obvious that if you want to stay on a reality show that involves elimination, you need a) a tragic backstory or b) a showmance or c) some kind of trumped-up, pumped up drama or preferably d) all of the above.

When the whole "induced sleep" element came into play, having all the cameras around made more sense. Many of the dream books I've read have had the problem of flatness. Watching someone sleep in a book isn't all that interesting, and someone narrating a dream is a whole lot of telling, not showing. But combining the dreams and the cameras gave the book a cool, other-worldly-yet-paranoid kind of vibe that I really liked.

The things I liked less about the book are a bit spoilery, so I'll tread very carefully and then put some of my thoughts under spoiler protection. First, the "ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding" turned out to be more confusing and less exciting (at least if I understood it correctly) than I'd hoped. While the sci-fi stuff made sense to me, it didn't seem as sinister as I'd been expecting. And there was one aspect of the ending that seemed forced and not very believable. The romance was a bit "eh" for me too. I'm really okay with no romance -- I like that better than an "eh" romance. But overall, I liked the writing and the overall feel, so I definitely think I'll check out the next installment.


23 comments:

  1. I really don't know if I would like this one. I'm always turned off by dream sequences. I just have in my head that it's not real but I guess at least there's an interesting twist here.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. It's kind of hard to explain, but there aren't extended dream sequences. That's part of why it worked for me.

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  2. I'm reading this one in a day or two and I will admit that I am a huge reality tv show junkie so the idea of big brother and inception having a baby makes me swoon on the inside a little.

    Great Review Jen!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

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  3. Yes this book was crazy and the regarding the spoiler ..totally agree. I didn't quite trust the romance in this book.

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    1. Lauren from Love is Not a Triangle said that another blogger said there could be a triangle coming. I never thought of that, and while it makes me groan a little, I also like the possible other guy much better!

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  4. I love sci-fi books, but I'm not sure about this one, specialy since it wasn't that great for you.
    I hope I'll give it a try someday!

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  5. Great review. I'm not sure how I will feel about that romance but I will give it a try.

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    1. It could have just been me. Let me know what you think!

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  6. I still really want to read this, despite the mixed reviews - I mean, THAT COVER. Sci fi. Romance. Ahhhh idk I'll totally let my curiosity get the best of me, lol

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    1. The cover is super-cool. Look forward to seeing what you think!

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  7. I have been seeing a lot of 'Meh' reviews for this one. I've decided to read at least 30% and if I'm not into it, I'm going to put it down. Still I am interested in the reality tv angle and you mention the overall writing is good so I remain hopeful! :)

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    1. I haven't read many others. Will have to go do that!

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  8. Ha, I hate reality TV. That was my first thought when you said it takes place in the future: what a bummer that reality tv still exist.
    The summary and big eyeball on this one never really caught my attention.

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    1. Same! I was like, seriously? In the year 2050 or whatever we haven't moved past this?

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  9. The romance was definitely underwhelming - it seemed like it was developing more off-page than in the actual story, so I never really cared for it. Still, a fascinating book!

    Nice review :D

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  10. I'm reading up on as much of this book as I can so that I can ask some intelligent questions tomorrow!! I'm not a huge reality tv fan, so I'm not sure this will work for me. Plus dream centered stories don't interest me either. And an "eh" romance?! I don't like the sound of that. BOO! I do need to give this a shot eventually, but I ran out of time.

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  11. I don't know if I will like it or not, but I will still buy it since I liked her first trilogy. Great honest review!

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  12. I thought some of the ideas behind this were very cool but overall it felt a tad long to me. And I'm with you about the big reveal!

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  13. My curiosity is definitely peaked and I have added to my wishlist. Thank you for sharing your thoughts :)

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