Vault of Dreamers #1
Caragh M. O'Brien
Roaring Book Press/Macmillan
Available September 16th
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (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.
The Vault of Dreamers is an exceedingly unique story, one that moves forward slowly but purposefully in order to give our minds time to ask questions, theorize, and generally wonder about the darkness hiding behind the watchful eye of The Forge Show. It’s not until nearly a third of the way through this story that the history of The Forge Show is revealed to us, a quick and believable explanation for how a school for the arts transitioned into the highest rated show in the country allowing us to link this piece of fiction to our reality in such a way that we can easily put ourselves in Rosie’s shoes. Once our questions regarding the show are answered, our focus then shifts to the strange nightly activities of those responsible for the students’ welfare, and from there we’re taken on an intriguing journey that tests our ability to detect what is real and what is illusion.
Rosie is a young woman who doesn’t necessarily leap off the first page in a blaze of fiery personality, instead she’s fairly quiet and unassuming, somewhat resigned to the fact that her time on The Forge Show is quickly coming to an end. Once she figures she has nothing to lose, we start to see her character emerge, her passion for filmmaking and her desire to show the public how she sees the world through the lens of her camera something we can relate to on a fundamental level even if filmmaking is not one of our strengths. Her inquisitive nature is a trait that should be considered a flaw–her tendency to disobey the school’s rules something that normally would have us rolling our eyes–but it just so happens that her curiosity is only surpassed by our own, and we can’t help but want her to learn as much as she possibly can.
Rosie’s ranking on The Forge Show is improved over time with the help of the unfortunately-named Linus, a romance between the two of them starting up quickly but staying well clear of the insta-love label. They are friends first before becoming allies as Rosie slowly becomes comfortable enough with him to share her fears over what’s happening during the students’ mandatory 12 hour sleep schedule, and while their relationship isn’t one to be categorized as epic, it’s gorgeously free of all the common YA romance pitfalls.
As we near the end of The Vault of Dreamers, the more unusual aspects of the story are brought to the forefront, our understanding of what those in charge are trying to accomplish with the assistance of the unwitting student body a bit hazy and only getting hazier as we reach the last chapter. Those readers who love to be left unsure and off balance, minds racing with implications, will thoroughly appreciate the final pages of The Vault of Dreamers, but those who like their endings to come with a bit of clarity will likely struggle with the tail end of this first leg to Rosie’s journey. Overall, Ms. O’Brien succeeds with the unusualness of the premise and the fascinating nature of the science relating to the students' dreams, and I for one find myself insanely curious to see where this series is headed.
Meet her in person on the Fierce Reads tour!
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Thanks to the hugely generous team at Macmillan, I have a copy of Vault of Dreamers to give away on the blog today. Giveaway is open to US addresses only.
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Don't forget to check out the remaining stops on the tour for more reviews and chances to win!
· September 9 | Ex Libris Kate & The Book Monsters
· September 10 | Book Hounds & Candace's Book Blog
· September 11 | Mundie Moms & Word Spelunking
· September 12 | My Bookish Ways & Working for the Mandroid
· September 13 | Fiction Fare
· September 14 | Icey Books & My 5 Monkeys
· September 15 | SciFi Chick & Supernatural Snark
· September 16 | YA Interrobang & I’d So Rather be Reading
· September 17 | Fiktshun & Book Briefs
· September 18 | Michelle & Leslie’s Book Picks & The Irish Banana Review
· September 19 | Alice Marvels & Forever Young Adult
· September 20 | Good Choice Reading & Step into Fiction