Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O'Brien

Title: The Vault of Dreamers
Author: Caragh O'Brien
Published by: Roaring Brook Press (2014) 

My Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭


Okay. The Vault of Dreamers was…just awesome.

** SMALL SPOILERS **

Plot: The plot? It was amazing. The storyline was adventure, mystery, and dystopia combined, and the little romance that creeped in was a subplot, appropriate if a little boring for me. The mysteries were suspense-filled, creating a pageturner that kept me up late at night, legitmately unable to put it down. The twists and turns I never saw coming, and while they did feel a little last-minute to me, ultimately they all played into the plot. The book was a good length, and though I’d say it could have been shortened in several places, I say that pretty much about all 300+ page books, so don’t take my word for it.

Characters: The characters? They were phenomenal! Painted beautifully and realistically, Rosie was an easy character to love. As a character she is a great example: wanting to do what is right, more than even keeping herself safe. She is one who is willing to sacrifice her freedom, to get in trouble, and the sort, just so the truth can get out and others in danger can be helped. She is the one who will creep out of bed, against the rules, to try to find out what is happening to her friends at night, and if she can do anything. She is the one who sets up cameras and pretends to look for “ghosts” as a cover to spy on the school she’s at, to see what’s really going on. She is the one who lays in bed at night, refusing to go with the flow when danger is creeping under the surface. She is the one who never gives up, no matter what the circumstance. Up until the last word, the last sentence, the last page, she has not given up.

Setting: The set? Wonderfully illustrated with a realistic feel. The school aspect was a great idea and I was particularly interested in Rosie’s background, where she apparently lived in a boxcar, and it was described very well. 

Writing: The writing? Fairly decent. Not the best I’ve seen and definitely not award-winning writing, but it was much, much better than the junk you see in YA novels today. I encountered quite a few unknown words and the sentences were a good length. I especially liked the way the author did Rosie’s family: though we never meet them, we know enough from Rosie’s memories, thoughts, and phone calls that we can connect with them, and, more importantly, connect with Rosie. Her love and care for her little sister was written so gorgeously that you yourself can’t start loving Dubbs, too, a little, even if you haven’t met her yourself.

Ending: So I loved the plot, the characters, the set and the writing. Was there anything I disliked?
Yes. The ending.
The last page of the book left me saying, “No! No!!!!!!!!”
Not that anything bad happens—Nobody dies…or at least, I think. That’s why I didn’t like it. You. Don’t. Know! Now I assume Rosie does not die, considering there is a sequel (best. news. ever!) but who really knows? And what about Janice? Her family back home? The little girl she helped a few pages earlier?
It wasn’t like the ending was a cliffhanger—it was actually quite well done. But no!!!! I need to see Rosie safe and sound!!!

On the upside: unlike other YA novels, this was not a spur-of-the-moment, “Hey, let’s add in a cliffhanger so people will read the second book.”
This was a legite, real, try-at-satisfying ending, which is why I was so upset; I firmly believed it had ended—period—while with other YA, you finish and say to yourself dully, “Yep, there’s a sequel.” This was a disappointment, because it was written that it could have been a stand-alone. Of course, then it would have been awful. I AM SO HAPPY THERE IS A SEQUEL!!! Which is releasing in 2015. I will be eagerly waiting till then!

While there is some level of romance and some creepy elements, everything stays appropriate and is mostly just action-packed so that I could even see this in the juvenile section. I would recommend this for all ages and just would warn you that you will leave this book desperate for the sequel. :)

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