May 5, 2017

ARC Review--Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse...but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

I received this ARC from an independent bookstore on Independent Bookstore Day for free in hopes of reading and reviewing it. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Third time is apparently the charm! After only so-so reads with Amy Plum’s books so far, I almost gave up hope. But then I heard about her newest book, Dreamfall, and was intrigued! I love a good thriller edged with mystery and that’s pretty much what we get with this one!

The first thing that surprised me was that despite its description, this is not just Cata’s story. There are many more people involved and even more points of view that we will read from. I kind of hate how descriptions tend to focus on only one character when the book itself has many more whose story is equally important to the book at large. It’s a little misleading and I wasn’t quite prepared for the lash of multiple narrators coming in. Thankfully, they are all separated by chapters and it seems only Cata, Fergus, and Jamie are the narrators, but not having prior knowledge of this did kind of throw me through a loop!

After working through that initial confusion, things start to make sense, and then they don’t but that’s totally fine because this book is meant to be weird and twisted and have you scrambling to figure out what’s going on! Cata, Fergus, Sinclair, Remi, BethAnn, Georgina, and Ant all have some sort of sleep issue that led them and their guardians to enroll them in a trial study that will help to remove that inability to sleep long and well. But naturally, things go disastrously wrong and the teens end up stuck in their own nightmares.

At first I wasn’t sure what Jamie’s role was meant to be. I mean, she’s a pre-med student who is simply observing the study and when things go wrong, she sticks around to help. And it’s through her really that we get to learn about all the characters as she reads their files. Without her really, we wouldn’t get to know these teens as well as we did since the perspectives are limited to Cata and Fergus.

I think this story is meant to be more of a creep fest! It’s definitely chilling as the teens are forced to live out their nightmares all over again. And it seems they do experience pain in these dreams, but it’s quick to leave when they get their “break”. There’s some talk that helps to explain REM and NREM sleep cycles that I won’t even try to rehash, but just know that they aren’t constantly in the nightmare zone. And some of these nightmares are really creepy! In all sense of scary really, running for your life from men with guns to insane clowns…yeah, creepy stuff!

I once again feel reminded of my beloved favorite The Forbidden Game by L.J. Smith for in that “game” as well, the teens were forced to live out their worst nightmares. I feel like Dreamfall has a lot, in the little things, in common with The Forbidden Game, the first book at least. Just x-out the romance as a hidden theme. There really wasn’t any romance in this one aside from flirty moments and a few looks. It was a nice change of pace too. There really isn’t much room for romance in a scary kind of read.

The pacing to this one was kind of at the just right stage. We get moments that are intense and creepy within the dreamworld, moments that let you gain more information on the characters, then a few calmer moments where everyone tries to puzzle things together. It makes for an interesting read and since it’s under 300 pages it’s a quick one too!

Being the first installment of a duology you can expect there to be a jawdropper of an ending! Not only did we get one bombshell thrown at us coupled with a mini one, but there was yet another big bombshell at the end as well that led to the somewhat cliffhanger of an ending! It’s one that will have you eager to read the next one which obviously won’t be out until 2018. But I think it’s safe to say that I finally found my favorite Amy Plum book!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars 


  1. Sounds amazing! Thanks for bringing it to my attention :)

  2. Thank you for a great review, Jessica - I really love the sound of this one:)

  3. This sounds like an interesting book. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with a lot of information being given at first, but it looks like this one works itself out. Great review!!


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