Sep 10, 2014

ARC Review--The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien

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.

I received this ARC from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.

Caragh M. O'Brien's The Vault of Dreamers was a...strange read, yet I'm not saying that it was terrible, it was quite interesting. I will say Caragh has some pretty good world-bilding skills.

Set some many years into the future, there have been many advances in the world in many varieties. Rosie is our typical hard luck heroine. She comes from a poor, yet loving family (with the exception of a crappy stepfather) and when she's accepted to the Forge School, she believes this will be her chance to exceed her talent and passion for film. For the Forge School is a school for the artistically talented. Except there's a catch, the entire student body is being filmed for a reality TV show and the new students are ranked by their viewing popularity, those not in the top 50 after the first period are sent home. Rosie finds herself with a day--12 hours really, for the students are to dream for the other 12 hours of the day--to raise her low rank or be sent home to a poor life.

Naturally our heroine manages to overcome this challenge or else we'd have no story. But then Rosie starts noticing strange things happening at night. She has been skipping the sleeping pill students are to take in order to sleep and ream for 12 hours. Students are being taken--beds and all--out of their dorm room but then by morning, they're back. Cue strange, sci-fi music because this is where things get weird and complicated!

Rosie believes the school is doing strange experiments to its students while they sleep. She begins sneaking around, trying to gather proof but things tend to fall apart on her at every corner. Needless to say we have a lot of mystery going on here. And all the while, the students are still being filmed for the reality show. Talk about awkward! 

Rosie's sanity begins to come in question. And even as a reader, I found myself wondering if Rosie could be losing it. She even begins to hear a voice inside her head and there's just quite a bit more evidence to prove that this is all a likely possibility. Caragh does an exceedingly good job at keeping the reader questioning things.

Let's not forget the romance either! We almost have a possible love triangle--something I feared--but then it seems a choice is made before a decision ever needs to be made. Make sense? Linus is an employee at the school. He helps Rosie out early on and a relationship is formed. But it almost doesn't seem real to me. I wouldn't call it insta love but it's definitely close. I feel like Linus might be more deceptive than meets the eye or maybe I'm looking too much into things--it does happen! You'll be shocked to know that Linus is from St. Louis! And it gets mentioned a lot! Yay for my dull city!

The ending is where things get really weird! I kinda don't know how to feel about it. Or explain it in any way that is spoiler free, it just left me quite...befuddled.

Stepping back, I look at this whole novel as one big puzzle. There are a lot of unknowns. I still couldn't say for certain what the end goal was. I guess I will just have to wait for the next book. I won't lie, it ends with some mini cliffhangers. Not mid-action ones, but ones where you aren't quite sure what just happened or will happen to our characters.

Overall it was quite an intriguing, if yet puzzling read.

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars

The Vault of Dreamers releases September 16, 2014


  1. Isn't it funny how "strange" can have so many different meanings?

    Also, are the students aware that they are being filmed? (I just took a class on research design and so ethics bother me a lot lately! Haha).

    Thanks for the review, happy you enjoyed it (even if it were "strange") :p

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  2. LoL Glad to see I'm not the only one who gets really excited when a character is from their hometown. I will admit that I've read books simply because my hometown is mentioned in the synopsis.
    I'm going to be reading this book next and I'm really excited to start it. Thanks for the review.
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

  3. I've downloaded this a while ago from NetGalley and haven't gotten around to it. The synopsis sounds so interesting, and your review still intrigues me! I've just got a bit burnt out on dystopias at the moment, so I'm afraid to start it for fear I will not like it immediately.

    Cassie @ Happy Book Lovers

  4. I've been wanting to read this since I first heard about it, but I haven't had a chance. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews, but I definitely think I'll read it as soon as I can! The relationship does seem a little strange - kind of like the PLL relationship between Ezra and Aria... but not. Anyway, great review! I've been waiting on this one :)

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  5. Hmmm ... I've got this one, but haven't read it yet. I'm intrigued, but a bit worried too. We shall see!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction


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