Vault of Dreamers

Vault of Dreamers

The Vault of Dreamers

by Caragh M. O'Brien

Genre: YA Dystopian
Published: September 16, 2014
by Macmillan




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 ridges 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 Vault of Dreamers was an entertaining novel, but unfortunately, it wasn’t much more than that. I felt a bit indifferent towards the characters and the ending despite my love of the premise itself.

Welcome to Forge – a prestigious arts school where every moment of the student’s lives are televised on a famous reality show. Half of the day is spent with the children broadcasted in their classes; the other half the children spend sleeping to help “enhance their creativity.”

Our story follows 15-year old Rosie Sinclair, who skips her sleeping pill one night and discovers that Forge is not what it seems…

Roise herself is a protagonist that is a bit difficult to connect with – mostly because of the fact that all we know about her is what her life at Forge is like. We never learn about what her life was like before entering this school; and that left me to feel a bit distant from her. From what we did know about her, however, I did like her and admired her determination and persistence and her desire for the truth and was on my toes trying to figure out the school’s secret alongside her.

The supporting characters are a bit underdeveloped here as well. The friends Rosie makes at Forge School and the antagonists are both a bit one-dimensional and never truly felt real to me. They all had the potential to have incredibly interesting and complex storylines, but Caragh M. O’Brien never really took that route, and thus the story felt a bit…bland.

The secret of the school itself is also a bit underwhelming. If you’re expecting the reveal to be mind-blowing or surprising, I can unfortunately say that is not the case here. The school’s secret and the methodology behind it is not something that should come as a surprise (it’s basically spelled out for you in the synopsis!), and that was the most disappointing aspect. View Spoiler »

The world-building, too, bothered me. Besides the View Spoiler », was there any sign of future technology?


The technology in this book was so incredibly similar to what we have today – computers, video cameras, etc – and I found it a bit unbelievable that there wasn’t more advancement in technology from modern-day technology until the 2050s, when this story was set.

I am, however, interested in seeing where the story goes from here – especially after that cliffhanger ending. The story has a certain originality to it, but the characters and overall reveal kept it from being something I’d easily recommend.


56 thoughts on “Vault of Dreamers

  1. Damn it! I was eager to get my hands on a copy of this one, I really enjoyed her Birthmarked series. There was no backstory on the characters? They all sound really wooden sadly, and I can’t imagine many readers will be able to invest in them or relate. You would have thought the world building would have been incredible then, seeing the sacrifice with the lack of character depth, but that sounds just as crappy. I’m so sorry you had to endure this one Zoe, it really could have had so much potential but it sounds underdone. Thanks for the brilliantly honest review, will push this one to the backburner shelf.

    1. I haven’t read her Birthmarked series – is it good? 😀

      And it’s definitely quite a shame; they do seem to have that wooden feel to them. And gah…the world building isn’t much better than the characters unfortunately. 🙁 Definitely has a TON of potential, but, like you said, it seems to be sadly underdone.

      Thank you for the lovely comment!

    1. I’M SORRY TO BE THE BEARER OF BAD NEWS ABBY! Like you said, efinitely underwhelming despite the fascinating premise. Thank you! 😀

  2. I can’t really take any more books about “dreamers”. THEY ALL SOUND THE SAME. Hehe. Maybe I’m just too cynical? But yes, I totally skipped this one, and probably a good thing. I don’t feel like I’d have been terribly impressed either, going off this. But awww…you’ve had a run of 3-stars haven’t you? 🙁 I hope you get a really awesome one SOON.

    1. There are other books about dreamers? Hmm… *puts on skeptical face* I think you’d feel the same as me here Cait; definitely skip this and read something else. And aww…thanks! :kissing_heart:

  3. Darn, meh characters are definitely not appealing. I hate it when we don’t get a back story to the main character because then it’s basically impossible with click with the character. And the world building seems to suck especially if the dystopian aspect wasn’t entwined into it. It’s a shame 🙁

    Lovely review, Zoe! <33

    1. I completely agree Mel! I want to know what makes them the character they are now. For example, if they’re shy, what events in their lives made them shy, or is that just their natural personality? *sighs* Definitely a shame. 🙁 Thank you!

  4. Bummer! I was hoping that this would turn out better for you!I was tossing up whether or not I should go for this but I think I’m definitely going to skip. I’m treading on thin ice with dystopias nowadays anyway and judging from your review, I don’t think this does too well. It irks me so much when technology in the distant future turns out to be pretty much identical to the technology we have now. I mean, honestly, could humans have not gone further than where we are now?! Fabulous and honest review, Zoe! <33 Thanks for saving me the trouble of reading yet another dud dystopian book!

    1. If you’re sick of dystopians in the first place, it’s probably best to give this a miss. And I completely agree – I can’t believe there wouldn’t at least be an iPad 100, right? Thank you! And no problem! 😉

  5. The ending killed me with this. How could it end that way sequel or no sequel? I am interested in reading book two though because I really do want to know where it will go from there.
    Sorry you didn’t like this just a bit more.

    1. I KNOW! I was really confused by it and felt like it was a bit too rushed; but definitely agree that it was a brutal spot to end. I’m thinking the same thing, but I have a feeling I won’t even remember this a year from now when the sequel releases anyway – ha! Thank you. 🙂

  6. Hmmm…. I was really hoping this book would be great. It stinks that the characters aren’t better developed. I feel that the premise is quite interesting, but it seems that the execution was a bit off. The world-building sounds dreadful. No new tech advances from now to the 2050s?! *gasp* I have an ARC of this so I feel obligated to read it anyway. Thanks for the heads up <3 Lovely review, Z!!

    1. I feel that the premise is quite interesting, but it seems that the execution was a bit off.

      BINGO! The premise is quite original, but the execution just doesn’t do it, you know? And I know! So unbelievable! By 2050 we’ll have like the iPad 100, right? 😉 No problem – I’m curious to know what you think. 😀

  7. Oh man, the synopsis had me really interested, and the cover is just so surreal that it works quite well for my tastes. Hard to believe that this is set in the 2050s…and it’s sad that there’s STILL reality tv in the future. How bored must you be to watch people…sleep. Seriously.

    I have a checklist of good books: Plot, characters and world-building. If a book contains two of the three, I will definitely like it. Unfortunately, this book seems to lack all three, which is disappointing. I really hoped it would be good! I hope your next read is better Zoe! <3 Lovely review as always xx

  8. Great review Zoe, it sounds like this one was a bit lacklustre and less technological and sci/fi than I expected sadly. A shame it felt bland, but I totally know what you mean when we expect so much more out of it you know? Lovely review as always hun xoxo

  9. Ah it’s too bad it wasn’t awesome. It sounds interesting and ok, but it also looks like it could have been more. But I confess I’l always intrigued by a dystopia book. Great review lady!

  10. Love your review!
    Hmm, this one sounds like it’s missing a few chapters, or certainly needed it to be able to bring the book up, and give depth to the characters. At least it was still interesting and held your attention. Thinking I might read this one when the whole series comes out. Maybe the characters and everything will develop in future books? (not quite sure why the characters would, but who knows) Thank you for the brilliant & insightful review <3

    1. You’re spot on about that Gina! Despite its flaws, it’s still decently entertaining so if you’re looking for something quick and easy to read on a rainy day or whatnot, this will probably have you cover. And I do hope they develop in the future books! D: Thank you for the lovely comment! <3

  11. I actually ended up DNFing this one about 30% in. It just was not for me. While I think the idea behind the forge school and the reality show was interesting the execution just wasn’t working for me. Plus the scenes where the MC was staying awake each night got boring and repetitive. I also just couldn’t connect to any of the characters and felt htey were extremely lackluster 🙁 Great review!

    1. *Sighs* I completely see where you’re coming from Lily – especially regarding the characters. Sorry it didn’t work for you either. 🙁

  12. LOL I mean technology is advancing daily almost and suddenly 30 years from now nothing has changed. Yeah, like I’m going to believe that. Anyhow I do like the idea here, but there seem to be some holes that would bother me too. Amazing review, Zoe 🙂

    1. I KNOW! HA! I mean by 2050 we’d have like the iPad 100 or something, right? 😉 The concept is definitely there, but the execution not so much. Thanks!

  13. I hope you enjoy your next book better! The story itself doesn’t really sound interesting (to me, at least) so I’m not surprised you didn’t enjoy it as much.

    1. I COMPLETELY agree Christy! Even in plot-driven books, I still need character development regardless; or else the book is pretty much pointless, you know?

    1. If you’re getting burned out of YA dystopians, this probably isn’t the book for you. Not like you’re missing out on much anyways… 😉

  14. ”Welcome to Forge – a prestigious arts school where every moment of the student’s lives are televised on a famous reality show.”

    That looks so intriguing!! Too bad it isn’t really and, oh, sucks for the characters. Also, what? 2050 and similar technologies? That’s not realistic. Great review, Zoe! 🙂

    1. IT IS! It’s a shame, because the concept was definitely fantastic, but the execution…wasn’t. Definitely not realistic. By 2050, we’d probably have like the iPad 100 or something, right? 😉

  15. Oh, your blog is a little different. It’s aligned left and you have a widget and . . . ME LIKEY.

    Is it bad I want this just for the cover? Because I do. I REALLY DO.

    Underdeveloped side characters though 🙁 Also the reveal . . how can a reveal not be surprising? That’s like, the essential thing in the Reveal Rulebook.

    1. No – it’s definitely not! The cover is beautiful! And yes! This book defies the Reveal Rulebook. That is NOT acceptable!

  16. The tech thing would have bugged me too; how can a book take place in the future, but showcase little advancement in that area? That kinda kills the credibility IMO, an underwhelming secret is beyond boring. Yet another YA title that failed to live-up to its full potential. *sigh*

    1. Definitely kills the credibility! I mean, by 2050 we’d probably have the iPad 100 or something, right?! 😉 *sighs with you*

  17. Aww, Cliffy? Anyway, it sucks when you can’t connect with the character because it’s a reason to not fully enjoy the book! I don’t like dystopia books with poor world building though 🙁 I’m not sure if I’m going to read this. Thanks for the helpful review, Zoe!! <3

    1. If you’re someone who likes through world-building and well-developed characters, this probably isn’t for you. And no problem – thank you for the lovely comment! <3

  18. Is it weird that the story makes me think of the show Big Brother? haha, it must be the whole reality tv show thing. I don’t think I could get into this book if the characters are difficult to connect with. I haven’t read much dystopia but good world-building is a must for me with that genre! Wonderful review, Zoe 🙂

    1. Haha – I have never heard of that show – LOL! 😉 If you’re into good world-building and characters, this is probably not for you either. Thank you!

  19. Never heard of this one before your review, and honestly I don’t feel like I’ll be missing much by not giving this one a chance. It doesn’t sound very memorable at all.

    Not connecting to the main character is quite an issue for me. I would agree, that in a reality TV show type environment that it would be critical to know about the MC’s past and it’s odd that her past was glossed over.

    The story really does sound “meh” overall. Which is why I’d likely not be in a rush to pick up this one, especially when I could be reading other books such as Heir of Fire. It also is so disappointing when the most interesting aspect of the story (dream mining) isn’t really touched on as much.

    Ugh yeah that world building doesn’t sound too strong either. I mean the fact it’s 2050 and there’s not flying cars??? [; Lol. But seriously, compare 2014 to 1990 and there’s so many new products and technological innovations. The fact that it’s 2050 and not much is new does seem fishy :p

    Lovely review girl! <33 Sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as you could have.

    1. You’re definitely not missing out on much honestly Larissa. 😐 The characterization and world-building are definitely not as strong as they could have been. 🙁 And absolutely! By 2050 we’d probably have like the iPad 100 or something, right? 😉 Definitely suspicious if the only technological advancement between now and then is dream mining.

      Thank you!

  20. Wait… wait… there’s a sequel? WHY WAS I NOT TOLD.

    But I did feel like that ending was either a) really open ended and b) I didn’t feel so connected to it either (more like, OKAYYYY. Great! *moves on with life*)

    Here I actually thought I would be the only MEH reviewer out there (I could have sworn I really gave the book a 3.3 and decided to round it).

    P.S. Oh hey, we agree on a book! Surprise!!!

    1. NOW YOU KNOW! And it’s not just you. I definitely felt is was open-ended and a bit rushed. And I’m so glad to find someone who feels the same way! 😀

  21. The concept of this book sounds amazing, so I’m sorry to hear that the characters were mediocre and that the secret underwhelming. However, it still sounds as though it’s worth a try. Thanks so much for another fantastic review, Zoe. 🙂

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