September 28, 2014

Review: The Vault of Dreamers

The cover and the summary pulled me into wanting to read this. I mean, who doesn’t want to read a book with a close-up of an eyeball for a cover?!

Title: ‘The Vault of Dreamers’
Author: Caragh M. O’Brien
Pages: 432
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Available: NOW at your local library or bookstore
Source: Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.

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 Thoughts:

The title of this novel ties back to the plot nicely. This is not always the case in many books I read, but I thought the author did a nice job with it. Especially with that cover.

The summary from Goodreads says this is a fast-paced novel, and I would disagree. For me, the pacing did not start to pick up until my Kindle said 56%. Up until I hit this part of the story, I would read a little here, a little there (over the course of four days). But when I hit that 56% mark, I took my Kindle to my hammock and stayed until the story’s end.

Now that I have that out of the way, let me say this about the plot: it was interesting. I found the concept of a reality TV show for high school students to be interesting, but what I did not by was the “secrets” the school was keeping. I mean, it is reality TV. Wasn’t any viewer suspicious that they only filmed students twelve hours a day? Didn’t any of the viewers secretly want to know what happened when the cameras were turned off? This is the part of the story I struggled through because it just felt wrong.

I get that there was a secret to protect, but there are cameras everywhere. Am I to believe as a reader that it took Rosie putting cameras up all over the school to film for herself for her to learn something was off? Not buying it. And I still don’t.

With that said, it was not the story but Rosie that kept me in this story. On Goodreads I rated this a 3.5 because I liked it, but I didn’t love it. If I had not enjoyed Rosie as a character so much, I would have rated this book a 2. That’s how much I really liked her.

I felt for her—she was in a bad situation. A girl coming from nothing all of a sudden having an opportunity of a life time, but with strings attached. Welcome to life darling, where all elements have “strings” attached to them. But Rosie was willing to jump through all the hoops if it meant a better future of opportunity for her. This is why I enjoyed her character—her commitment to her own future.

And that’s all I can really share without spoiling key elements—and there are quite a few. But you read it and tell me if you buy the “cameras are off twelve hours a day” element of the story.

Do I recommend this book?

For a specific reader. The book has an interesting concept of a story, but the length is too long for what is revealed. An avid reader will tear right through the page; a slow reader may walk away. But I think the story itself will appeal to a wide-range of readers, regardless of genre preference.

Happy Reading!

-      The Hodgenator


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