I’m back to do another review!
This time, I am going to be talking about The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien. This is the first book in what, I believe, will be a trilogy. The second installment, The Rule of Mirrors, just came out a few days ago, and I can’t wait to get to it!
The Vault of Dreamers follows protagonist Rosie Sinclair, and her matriculation through the Forge School for the Arts. Everything that the students do during waking hours is televised to the world as a reality TV show. The students are allowed 12 hours of awake-time a day, and are given a pill to ensure that they get 12 hours of sleep, which has been proven to enhance creativity. One night Rosie skips her pill and begins to realize that nefarious things are happening while the students sleep.
I was really interested in the premise of this book (hence, me picking it up), and it did not disappoint me! The world-building is SUPER interesting. It is set in the not-so-distant future, and that, along with the idea of a reality-TV show school, is very intriguing. The concept was built out in a way that was unexpected, but enthralling. Even the negatives weren’t dealbreakers for me. There were definitely a few things in the plot that were just completely unbelievable, and a few of the characters fell a little flat, but even those things didn’t distract me from flying through this book. The plot was entertaining enough to make the small annoying things disappear; in fact, I didn’t realize I felt that way about the characters until I was done with the book. The unbelievable things are just blatantly unrealistic, lol, but I really didn’t mind. I thought the book was extremely well-paced, and the tone and language were appropriate for a YA psychological thriller.
I will note that I have seen a lot of comments that say that the book could have made a grittier impression with a higher level of violence. I will say that there were a few times that I expected more violence, but by that, I mean physical violence. There was a creepier kind of mental violence that makes up for the lack of fight scenes in the book, in my opinion.
As I mentioned, some of the characters seem one-dimensional, but I do think we will see many of them fill out a bit in the books to come, so I’m not too worried about them right now. The romance kind of came out of nowhere, but other than that, I did like the portrayal of the relationships in this book. There was a lot of show, not tell – which makes the journey the characters go on more interesting, yet more confusing sometimes.
And the ENDING! Some didn’t, but I LOVED it. It made me SO anxious for the second book. I can’t say much more than that, but I am VERY curious where Caragh O’Brien is taking the rest of this series.
Overall, I gave this book 4.5 stars. There were definitely some issues, but I really couldn’t put it down. It kept me excited, anxious, and really thoughtful about the ideas of privacy and creativity. I recommend this book if you like YA futuristic/not-quite-dystopian reads, if you like cerebral reads, if you like strong female protagonists, if you like suspenseful reads. Or if it simply sounds interesting.
If you have read this or want to, leave me a comment and let me know! This was one of my most highly-rated books last year, and I’d love to discuss.
Ok. I’m going to leave this here for now Thanks for reading; catch y’all in the next one!