I received this book for free from First Reads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien
Published by Macmillan on 2014-09-16
Genres: Love & Romance, Science Fiction, Thrillers, Young Adult
Source: First Reads Giveaway
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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.
I enjoyed this book when I read it. It wasn’t amazing or the most shocking book I’ve ever read but it was enjoyable. I’m a fan of boarding school books and thrillers and reality show books, and all of those elements are present in this book but unfortunately, they just aren’t done as well as I would have liked.
The beginning of The Vault of Dreamers was a little confusing for me because there wasn’t much explanation for what was going on or where Rosie was. We just see her leaving her sleep pod. We don’t know why this isn’t allowed or why the other girls are all sleeping or why it’s so dangerous for her to be doing what she’s doing. And because I hadn’t read the synopsis of the book first, I didn’t even know she had been accepted into an arts program at a school that was part of a reality show. (I admit, that part was my fault.) But the rest of it was confusing for a little while there and because of this I had a hard time really getting into the book. But once the big elimination happened and the plot started moving, I got more involved. I read the second half of the book pretty quickly and enjoyed most of it.
The parts I liked most dealt with Rosie trying to figure out what was going on at the school. The whole psychological thriller part, is she insane or is something totally creepy going on behind closed doors? I really wanted to know what the Dean was up to (if anything) and why Rosie was the only one concerned with it. I also had to know if Linus was in on it or if he really could be trusted. I liked him, I liked how he was with Rosie and I needed to know if my feelings were accurate or not. I also liked Rosie’s backstory and learning about her family.
Unfortunately, like I said earlier, pretty much every aspect of this book fell short of really good for me. The thriller was interesting, but sort of just fizzled at the end of the book. There was no huge ‘holy shit!’ moment or ‘I DID NOT see that coming!’ moment. And when I read a thriller of any kind, I really want those moments. It was just sort of an ‘okay, that’s it’ moment. And that’s not what you want at the end of any book, least of all of thriller. Also, I really hated that I felt that Rosie kept making stupid choices. I really want to be able to support a main character and while I don’t always need to agree with them, I really want to be able to feel like there is at least a good reason why they would make that choice. So many of the things she did just felt really stupid in the moment, and resulted in bad things happening. And I really hate that. And in regards to the reality show aspect, again, it just fell short and was kind of boring. It wasn’t used nearly as well as it could have been. Same with the science-fiction part and the secrets the school was keeping. Everything just kind of fell short. They weren’t used as well or explained as well as they should have been. It was almost like there was too much going on for any one thing to really be explained in enough detail to make it worthwhile. Even at over 400 pages there is still stuff I’m confused about in regards to what really was going on and why. It was just an okay book and that’s unfortunate.
In the end, I did still enjoy this book. But I really don’t think it’ll be one that is a favorite for most people. It was just okay. And I had hoped for much more. I haven’t read O’Brien’s other series so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I love science-fiction and psychological thrillers, so I did have high hopes for this one. If you end up picking this up, I hope you’ll enjoy it and take it for what it is. If you’re picking it up because you love books like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and want more psychological thrillers, this one will not live up to your expectations.