Monday, September 15, 2014

Vault of Dreamers Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Vault of Dreamers #1
Caragh M. O'Brien
Young Adult/Sci-Fi-ish
432 pages
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.

Rating: 4/5

Find Caragh:

Meet her in person on the Fierce Reads tour!

• • • • • • • • • • •


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. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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


  1. I'm glad we chatted about this one in advance, Jenny. We both know I really struggled with some aspects of it - namely the reality show part of it. It felt a bit too…forced…for me, if that makes sense? I love the idea behind the story though, so it's tempting to want to pick up the next novel…especially after that ending! What the heck?! Great review, lady! (sorry I've been so absent!)

  2. And now I want to know what's going on there

  3. I would definitely never want to be on a reality show. I'm a private person! The premise of the novel sounds really interesting though, and I can't wait to read it!

  4. I tend to avoid books dealing with reality shows because I don't watch them in real life but this sounds interesting. I'll probably hold off on reading this one though until the sequel because I like my endings to be pretty clear.

  5. I have been quite intrigued about this one, but with the mention of an unresolved ending, I think I will be holding off reading it till the sequel comes out. I don't think my poor heart can take many more cliffhangers!!

  6. "unfortunately-named Linus"

    I shouldn't laugh, but... I did. Because yeah. I think you nailed that.

  7. I have actually never read a book with reality show in it! This sounds really crazy and everything but with reality TV being so popular nowadays it seems so real. I love the sound of but that cliffhanger would probably kill me, so I'll b better wait till the next one is out. Great review, Jenny :)

  8. The ending of this was a killer! I really want to know where it goes from there as well Jenny!
    Great review!!

  9. I'll admit it, I'm a reality show junkie, so that aspect of Vault of Dreamers definitely appeals to me. Plus, I like that it's such a head scratcher, and that the ending left you wanting more. YA is usually super predictable, so I am pleased to learn that this one really stands out from the crowd.

  10. I'm so confused as to whether I should pick this up or not. Some people liked it then there are others who ended up DNFing it. I'm a bit worried that the slow pace would lead me to feeling a bit bored. I actually like the sound of Rosie. Sometimes nice, quiet characters who slowly grow can be the best characters. I'm also curious about the ending! You make it sound exciting.
    Lovely review, Jenny! :)

  11. Linus. *snort* Did he have his blankie? Definitely an interesting premise...not sure if I'll wind up checking it out since I didn't snag one at BEA, unless I grab it from the library (ooh, need to renew my card!!).

  12. Thanks for the post and giveaway!!

  13. The ending definitely frustrated me, I need some clarity. But that was my biggest issue with the book so I'll definitely read the future books.

  14. Hmm,,,really not sure of picking this one up, Jenny. While I don't necessarily need things spelled out for me, I do need clarity. I think I'll try a sample of this one before committing to it. Great review!

  15. While this isn't an entirely new concept, at least at first glance, it seems to be done very well, and with a different spin, which I appreciate. I am indeed one of those readers who like to draw their own conclusions, so I think I'll very much appreciate the ending of this book. We'll have to wait and see, but I'm very optimistic.

  16. I like that you said the romance in this novel doesn't follow the usual cookie-cutter YA romances that I've been encountering lately. I will have to check this one out. Thanks for the giveaway and for putting this one on my radar, Jenny!

  17. Art... check. Thriller... check. Mystery... check. The fact that you enjoyed it... check. I'll have to see if the ending bugs me or not. Depending on the book I can like it or not either way. Oh and for the question.... uh, no way would I want to be a part of a reality show.

  18. I am one of those readers who will be frustrated by the ending, still I am most curious about this one and I like that it's a solid mystery.

  19. Maybe if it was a baking contest but nothing else.
    Thanks for the giveaway :)

  20. As much as I would want to, no, I couldn't.

  21. I love hearing your thoughts on this one! I've talked this book out with tons of bloggers who felt very similar too me and couldn't get into the story so your POV is such a refresing change. This one just wasn't a 'Lily' book but i'm so glad it was a 'you' book! Great review :)

  22. Hells to the no! Fame seems very overrated. But this book sounds great! I'm intrigued.

  23. I'm glad this one worked out well for you Jenny and love how you always show both sides of the coin in your reviews. Not being much of a fan of reality shows or vague endings, this may not be the book for me. I'm glad that it breaks out of the traditional ya. Thanks for the wonderful review, Jenny!

  24. I might consider going on a reality show if I thought I could do well and win a prize. I don't like to dismiss ideas without giving them a chance. Thanks for the chance to win this cool book.

  25. A plot that moves slowly? Hmm. I've seen this around GR but, frankly, I don't think it's for me. The plot doesn't seem like something that would captivate my interest and, to be honest, I don't like the cover. I know I know, but still, doesn't give me such a good feeling about the book. Glad you enjoyed though, Jenny. ;D

  26. Well, sure, I'd want to be on a reality TV show! That is, if it only recorded my life maybe once or twice a week. I don't do a lot of fun things, I read and I try writing. Nothing too exciting, no extreme sports (or actually any, now that I think about it....) but I think a TV show would be fun!

  27. So glad to hear you enjoyed this too! That ending killed me though - I'm dying to know what happens next. (And OMG I agree about Linus's name - so unfortunate! :D It's like Tobias/Four all over again). Lovely review Jenny!

  28. I wouldn't want to be on TV, but it'll be really fun to read about it! Thanks for the giveaway :)

  29. Mary DeBorde
    As exciting as it would be in fiction (and I LOVE the premise of this book!!) - in real life No Thanks lol Unless all I had to do was to sit around and read awesome books of course ;D

  30. While the book sounds interesting, I would never want to be on reality tv.

  31. I wouldn't appear on reality TV. Once on TV, it is forever.

  32. It would def depend on the show! If it is a reality TV then no way!
    Mary G Loki

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