The Vault of Dreamers is the story of a near future world where an art school transformed its program into a reality show to overcome financial struggles, but as Rosie competes to make it at school, she finds there is much more going on during the twelve hours of drug-induced sleep all students experience. The Vault of Dreamers is definitely the most unique premise I’ve read in a long time and I can see fans of more contemporary YA enjoying The Vault of Dreamers along with sci-fi YA fans.
Note: I received an advanced copy of The Vault of Dreamers from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien
Published by Roaring Brook Press on Sept. 16th, 2014
Genres: Sci-fi, Thriller, YA
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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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.
- The premise of a reality show boarding school with something sinister going on is held to well throughout Vault of Dreamers. I found myself frequently wondering why Rosie didn’t just talk to someone about a problem, and then remembering that she has no way of having a private conversation because Forge School is covered in cameras and microphones. A whole new level of subterfuge is required when you have no idea where half the cameras in a room even are!
- The Vault of Dreamers combines sci-fi thriller with boarding school dynamics quite well and I think readers who like boarding school settings will be pleased. I don’t read a lot of books set in boarding school, so it was fun to explore that dynamic more.
- In The Vault of Dreamers, the students are required to take a sleeping pill and sleep for twelve hours a night. This is supposed to jump start their creativity, but also keep them from dreaming. Since we know very little about why we need as much sleep as we do (and why individuals vary so much in how much they need) and why we dream, I was very intrigued at the interesting questions The Vault of Dreamers raised about sleep and its connection to creativity.
- Rosie isn’t the greatest at making friends in The Vault of Dreamers, but those friendships that she does make just highlight the reasons that she finds friendship difficult. At the same time, she is fiercely devoted to her younger sister, Dubbs, but since she’s at boarding school, we only get glimpses of their relationship. These two things combined meant that the relationships in The Vault of Dreamers had a very bittersweet taste to them that made me really connect with Rosie.
- Warning: there is a huge cliffhanger! Gah, I really need to know what actually happened but now have to wait an unknown amount of time to find out. D:
- The near future setting of The Vault of Dreamers was a bit strange because we know exactly what year it is (2060 or so I think), but there is basically no advanced technology and they still have board games like Settlers of Catan and Dominion. Don’t get me wrong, those games are awesome, but do you really think they’re classic enough to last fifty years with the way things are changing even now? I had a very hard time believing that the future would look anything like how it was depicted in Vault of Dreamers.
- I kept going back and forth on worrying about a love triangle developing, but it seems pretty likely at this point. It is possible that it won’t and I would give major props to O’Brien if she stays away from that trope, but the ground work is already there :-/.
- I was so excited to find out what was really going on but by the time we finally started figuring things out, The Vault of Dreamers was nearly over. We get hints and suspect explanations about what sinister plots have been brewing, but no real answers that I believe and just a whole lot of questions to make you feel obligated to read the sequel.
The Vault of Dreamers has an interesting premise and was highly readable, but it slips up in the second half by not really concluding any of the main plot points and instead pushing all the questions over to the sequel. If you’re a fan of the idea of a reality TV show boarding school with a spooky thriller plot, then you’ll probably enjoy The Vault of Dreamers, just be aware that you’ll be left hanging as we wait for book two ;-).
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien
© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.