Publication Date: September 16th 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
A Young Adult novel
Genre: Science Fiction
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.
*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*
What happens after we fall asleep, and is the secret really worth finding out?
Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien started out like a fairly normal teen novel: there was a love triangle, a talented female lead with a perfect younger sibling and a conspiracy. Seems normal, right? Well, I was wrong because Vault of Dreams takes a hard left at the exit label What Just Happened and never looked back. The book holds a lot of promise, but much like the plot, the answers at the end are confusing and not particularly worth looking at.
Let me say, first that O'Brien isn't a bad writer. Her actual style is good, but the plot of Vault of Dreamers is where all the problems lie so let's get into those problems.
To begin with Vault of Dreamers has a lot of fat that needs trimming: first there’s a completely unnecessary love triangle, as one of the love interests could be a platonic friend and it wouldn’t change the plot. But you could easily get over that cause Caragh does create some wonderful chemistry and relationships between all her characters. However, that wasn't my only issue.
Second major issue, there is no real point to the school doubling as a reality show, because it makes no sense for it. If the dean of the school is doing a bunch of secret studies on his students at night, why in God’s name would he allow a bunch of cameras to film their every activity and show it to the world? Is he so cocky at his ability to hide everything that he would even risk it? That seem so stupid and unlike his character, who carefully plans out his every mood and always stays five steps ahead of everyone. Vault of Dreamers could be a complete book if it was just about the idea of a school acting as a reality show for artists, and that could be it and readers would probably get more character development out of the side characters.
My final major problem with this book however, is the most major and the main reason why I wouldn’t really recommend it, as the book is does not have a satisfying ending. For the love of God, for the all the brilliant build up O’Brien makes, you would think the ending would be this great conclusion, but instead it’s incredibly dark and ambiguous.
Long review short, if you love a good mystery-romance book lower your expectations for Vault of Dreamers. It might be a fun book for the beach, but not much else.