Author: Caragh O'Brien
Genre: Contemporary/Science Fiction
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Length: 432 pages
Original Publishing Date: September 16th, 2014
Series: Untitled #1
Where I got it: ARC from ARC Tours
Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Main characters: 2/5
Rosie was a lackluster main character. The best I can say for her is that her backstory was interesting and I loved how she got to the Forge School. I also like how serious she was about the show and the debate between what line is okay to cross in order to be successful. Other than this, I simply didn't feel emotionally connected with Rosie. I'm not sure how I felt about Rosie being 15. In some ways, it seemed like she was a lot younger, and in some ways, like she was a lot older. Maybe it's just because I'm getting to be so much older than the characters, but it always seems so crazy to me how young they are.
Secondary characters: 3/5
I liked Linus and thought that he added something interesting to the story. He had a rough sort of bad-boy feel, but he ended up being really sweet. Bradham was a good foil to Linus and he added some extra intrigue and drama. I didn't really see much of the other classmates, and it didn't seem like Rosie had any close female friends. Besides the initial chemistry however, I was disappointed by the way that Rosie & Linus' relationship developed. It seemed flat and a little unrealistic.
Writing style: 2.5/5
I am torn between O'Brien's writing style. On one hand, I really liked the way that she could captivate my attention. I finished reading it in about 4 hours (maybe I should have taken a little longer- I really sped through this one). On the other hand, there were a lot of scenes that could have been cut. The writing was a little long-winded in some parts and the plot was unnecessarily dragged out.
I really liked the concept of Vault of Dreamers, however I felt that it turned out a little half-baked. The juncture of reality TV with science fiction was interesting, but it left me with some fundamental questions. Why are arts school students lives so interesting that people want to watch them 24/7? It didn't seem like there was anything that entertaining happening. And the plot sort of devolved from there. It was confusing, full of holes and lacking the right motivation to make me believe it. So disappointing, because I thought I was gonna LOVE the plot.
I'm confused. Actually, I was really disappointed. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if I missed the point. I really wanted there to be some mind-screw that blew me out of the water. Then I went on Goodreads and BAM, it's part of a series? What? The ending seemed so stand-alone. Beyond all of this, I just felt like it wasn't executed to its fullest extent and there weren't enough answers given.
Best scene: When Rosie makes the top 50 cut
Reminded Me Of: The Truman Show
Positives: Such an intriguing concept, characters with some potential, fast-moving writing
Negatives: Execution, long-winded, the ending?
Cover: YES. 10.0. I love it so so so much. I would marry the person who designed this cover.
Verdict: I wanted SO much more from this novel. The concept had the potential to be amazing.
Rating: 5.0 / 10 (3 stars)
Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!