Review: The Vault of Dreamers (Untitled #1) by Caragh M. O’Brien
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien
Published by: Macmillan, Roaring Brook Press on 9/16/2014
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, YA, Young Adult
Source: ARC From Publisher
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
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 ridges 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.
From Caragh M. O'Brien, author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes the first book in a new series, The Vault of Dreamers, a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.
Even though I devoured it (literally I could not put it down!), The Vault of Dreamers sucker punched me with beautiful promise, a somewhat likable narrator, and more questions than answers. As one of my most anticipated reads of 2014, Caragh M. O’Brien delivered a far-fetched tale of Big Brother with high school students, while only (almost) managing to persuade me that I liked the novel. Yes, The Vault of Dreamers had a fantastic cover, an eye-catching blurb, and really kept you guessing until the end. However, that did not stop it from falling a bit short in the sci-fi department for me. Or keep me from questioning if I will continue the series.
Rosie Sinclair, a poor student with big dreams, is miraculously accepted into the prestigious Forge School where she will compete against other students on the Forge Show for Top 50 ratings that will lead to (what are essentially) endorsements, all the while earning a top-notch education. Seems legit right? Maybe. Immediately I became mesmerized by the endless possibilities of this futuristic world. Most of the time though I felt like I was waiting for something big and epic to happen and frankly, it never did. With little backstory and no real motivation (that I could see other than getting rich) for students to compete on this show, I found myself longing for more.
To me the Forge Show seemed like the perfect environment for chaos. You have numerous students all trying to earn a spot in the school, hundreds of cameras following them around every day, and some kind of brainwashing thing that happened at night when you take your “pills”. REALLY??? No one other than Rosie thought this was odd?!?!? I find that difficult to believe. No parent ever questioned sending their kid to the school or what kind of treatment they would receive? No student questioned taking the pill? No teacher thought that putting this much pressure on children would lead to suicides or mental instability? Yeah right.
So why did I keep reading?
By the time I realized The Vault of Dreamers was leading to a massive disappointment, I was already hooked. I HAD TO KNOW what was going on! And the novel was long, almost 450 pages. Gurrr…with no answers until the last two or three chapters, and most of them I guessed a hundred pages earlier! *Sighs* And the characters, boy I had a hard time connecting with any of them. I wasn’t swooning over the romance. I thought Rosie was just okay when she wasn’t annoying me. The evil guy wasn’t all THAT evil. It was all very meh. However, I STILL wanted to know what was going on! I just wanted more: MORE background on the school, MORE evil Big Brother, MORE character development, MORE chaos. Ugh…
Overall, The Vault of Dreamers is a novel with slow buildup, not enough mind-bending reveals, and even less world building, paced with just enough questions to keep you attentively reading. Oh, and if you loath cliffhangers, then fasten your seat belts because The Vault of Dreamers has probably one of the most WTF cliffhangers you will ever read.