Monday, May 25, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien

Title: The Vault of Dreamers
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Pages: 432
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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. 

It took me awhile to get around to reading The Vault of Dreamers for a couple reasons. First, I'd heard some pretty mixed reviews and I wasn't sure if it would be worth it. Second, I just wasn't sold on the description. I'd also never read anything by the author. But when I got the chance to listen to the audiobook I jumped at it! It seems that audiobooks are the only way I'll spend time "reading" certain books...

The main character in this story is Rosie and right away we know that she's a rule breaker. From the first moment we meet her, Rosie is running off doing what she's not supposed to be doing when she shouldn't be doing it. But that's part of her charm, right? I honestly did like Rosie for the most part! I didn't really have any serious issues with her other than her complete inability to trust anyone, but I guess she's come by that honestly.

Shortly after the story begins, Rosie meets Linus, a dishwasher in the school cafeteria. Their romance was satisfying enough for most of the book, but it just wasn't... great. In fact, all of the relationships in The Vault of Dreamers seemed a little inauthentic.

What I did love about this book was the story - it was totally unique! The Forge School seemed super fishy from the get go and it made me wonder why the students and their parents weren't a little more inquisitive about the whole sleeping regimen... but whatever. I can suspend my belief that much. A reality show as the cover for the whole operation was a really unique way to approach it, and never getting a moment of privacy definitely added to Rosie's problems. The creep factor as Rosie slowly uncovered the mystery of the Forge School was pretty awesome and I'll admit I was a little weirded out by it, which is good.

I also felt like the world building was pretty great! The stark contrasts presented throughout the book were tangible. Caragh M. Obrien certainly does a fantastic job of putting together a setting that feels real.

Unfortunately, despite the positives, The Vault of Dreamers just wasn't what I hoped it would be. Maybe my expectations were too high despite the mixed reviews, but I just wanted MORE from this book. The way Rosie interacted with, well, everyone was just weird to me - and not in a good way. I also wish a little more had been explained about the dreams and their purpose... The way the book ended left me totally unsatisfied, especially the way things went with Linus.

Overall, this was a decent book. I might read the second one just to find out what happens next, but I definitely don't feel any hurry to get to it.