Dreamfall

Zoe N. | May 21, 2017 | Review

Dreamfall

Dreamfall

by Amy Plum

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Science-Fiction
Published: May 2nd 2017
by HarperTeen

three-half-stars

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Summary:

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.

Review:

Dreamfall is an original and unique story that is relatively difficult to get into in terms of keeping track of the cast of characters, but once you begin reading it’s captivating and impossible to put down.

Dreamfall follows seven teenagers who have signed up for an experimental procedure to help cure their insomnia. But when a small earthquake destroys the lab equipment, the teenagers are catapulted into a shared dream world where their worst nightmares come to life.

What’s interesting about Dreamfall is that it is partly told through the perspective of Jamie, a Yale premed student documenting the experiment for her thesis. This was an interesting stylistic choice as it gave us the opportunity to notice what was happening outside the dreamworld. The story is also comprised of two other perspectives – two of the teens in the experiment.

The flaw of the story is that, at the beginning, it’s a bit difficult to keep track of each of the seven teens in the experiment. It takes a little while to adjust to and keep track of all the characters.

Additionally, some of the characterization fell a bit flat. Besides having very intriguing backstories, there really wasn’t much personality or depth to the seven teens involved in the experiment. Take away the backstories and it would almost feel like they were all the same person. This probably helps explain why it is so hard to keep track of them in the beginning.

In the end, while not perfect, this is a book that is unlike anything else in young adult literature. It is pack filled of twists and turns and a unique concept. It’s almost reminiscent of a Twilight Zone episode and the movie Inception.

three-half-stars

81 comments

  1. Hi Zoe!
    I haven’t heard of this book before. I’m glad you enjoyed the premise and the stylistic choices the author makes. Hope you keep on reading awesome things. Also: it’s great to see you writing and blogging again. High five!

    1. Thank you so much! Your comment made my day. School’s ended for the year so now I have a lot more time to read and blog. 🙂

  2. Totally agree! Like, there were some things that bugged me about the book, but I enjoyed it so much that those things were basically negated. Like, some of it did feel kind of unrealistic, but I didn’t even care by the end, I was so into the story! Great review, I am so glad you enjoyed it too!

    1. Thanks Keertana! Sorry this doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, but thank you for the lovely comment. <3

  3. Just the blurb made this one sound interesting and I’m not one to shy away from a large cast to follow – if done well. It’s disappointing to hear that the characterisation wasn’t great but with such a unique plot… I might still give this a try. 🙂

    GREAT REVIEW as always.

    1. Thank you so much Di! The story was so unique and entertaining that it almost made you forget about the slight lack of characterization. I’m curious to see what you think of it if you end up giving it a try!

  4. I read a book recently that had a large cast of characters, and I do agree that it can be difficult to keep track of every one! Nevertheless, this boook looks especially interesting and unique, especially given how similar so many YA books are recently!

    Great review 🙂

    Sinead @ Less Reality More Books

    1. I think that with books that have large casts of characters you have to read them more than once to actually get a feel for the characters, you know? Glad you’re intrigued though! <3

  5. Nice review, Zoe! Though they’re nothing alike, this reminds me of Gilded Cage, the only book that I’ve DNFed in 2017 so far. It, too, featured a myriad of POVs by relatively 1 dimensional characters. The premise of this one sounds amazing so I’m sorry to hear it wasn’t better! Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts though. 🙂

    Summer

  6. I appreciate it when an author is able to juggle multiple characters and have them be distinct enough from start to finish. Of course, sometimes this isn’t the case and it can really subtract from the story when you’re trying to get a handle on so many characters. I really like the concept of this one though, so even though it sounds flawed, I might check it out from the library. Thank you for the great review!

    1. Me too! I have mad respect for authors who are able to juggle so many different characters and POVs and still manage to make them well-developed. Thank YOU for the lovely comment!

  7. The concept sounds quite awesome, and I know I am a forgiving reader, so if the story captivates me and/or I fall in love/care for the characters, I can usually let small issues go. Great review!
    Sam @ WLABB

    1. If you’re the kind of reader that can overlook slightly underdeveloped characters if there’s an engaging plot, I think you’ll really like this one. 🙂 Thanks! <3

  8. This sounds so unique! I heard of this book and author before, but didn’t really check it out much. This book seems like it had so much potential, I’m sorry to see it disappoints in some areas. Lovely review as always though, Zoe! <3

    1. Thank you Analee! It’s definitely a really unique story. 🙂 Let me know if you ever consider giving it a try.

    1. OMG I think the pitch when the book was sold was actually comparing it to Inception so you are spot on! Definitely let me know what you think if you end up giving it a try. 🙂

  9. Wow, this book definitely sounds very unique. I hadn’t even heard of it until I read your review but I am definitely intrigued by it. I love the fact that the story is partly told through the perspective of the premed student. It gives me that outside looking in vibe which can be very effective sometimes. I’m sorry to hear that the characters are one dimensional, I’ve they had been more fleshed out I could definitely see the book being a hit. Lovely review. 😀

    1. It is definitely unique – it’s not something I can remember being written about in YA before and I think that’s what makes it so captivating. 🙂 And the premed student’s POV was definitely a nice touch. 🙂 Thank you!

    1. It’s definitely unique, and I think that’s what kept me glued to the pages. 🙂 It’s definitely worth it if you want an entertaining, unique story. Thank you!

  10. You had me at the comparison to Inception – I love a book with a unique, mind-bending premise. Keeping track of a large cast of characters can tend to be difficult if they aren’t all made really different, though it definitely sounds like the concept alone is worth picking this one up for. Thanks for sharing a great review as always Zoe!

    1. If you like a book with a mind-blowing, unique premise this is definitely going to be right up your alley. 🙂 Thank YOU for the lovely comment! <3

  11. Great review, Zoe! 🙂
    Too bad about the one dimensional characters… Did the author maybe think the interesting backstories would be enough? That’s pretty flawed logic.
    I’m glad you were able to enjoy this one despite everything 🙂

    1. Thank you Sophie! It’s a shame because if the author put as much time in developing the character’s personalities as much as she did their backstories this would have been an almost flawless book. Thank you! <3

  12. I thought of Inception as well when I first read the synopsis so I was very intrigued by this book. I haven’t heard many responses to this book so I’m glad you’ve shared your experience! I’m excited to give this one a try. Despite the lack of distinct personalities of the characters, the concept sound appealing. Great review Zoe!!

    1. The concept is definitely the best part of the book. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear what you think when you read it Emily. Thank you! <3

    1. It is definitely unique! It is a shame, because if the characters were as interesting as the premise this would have been an almost flawless book. Thank you! <3

  13. This is the second review I have read for this book, and I have to say I am intrigued! I really love the sound of Dreamfall, especially since it seems like nothing else I’ve ever read. Which I think is becoming a harder and harder thing to achieve with so many YA books out there.

    It’s a bit of the shame that the characterisation wasn’t as strong or as in depth as it could have been. I really do like character development so I will definitely keep that in mind when I read this one.

    I’m glad you were still able to enjoy this one, Zoe! If you end up reading the sequel I hope the aspects you weren’t a big fan of are improved upon 🙂

    1. I think that’s what made me want to read it too Chiara – the fascinating premise. It really is unlike any other book in YA. Thank you! <3

  14. That’s a little disappointing about the lack of depth in the characters. I guess I’m not too surprised with there are seven major characters. The book still sounds pretty good though so I’ll probably wait and check it out at the library. Great review!

    1. Definitely check it out from the library and let me know what you think – I’d be curious to hear your thoughts. Thank you! <3

  15. Sucks that the backstories were the only things that differentiated that characters, but I’m glad you still enjoyed this one. I’ve liked Amy Plum’s work in the past, but I agree that it can be hard to make sense of at times. Going to check this one out at some point!

    1. If you’re into unreliable narrators and super trippy plots, this is DEFINITELY right up your alley Anisha! I hope you end up liking it as much as I did if you decide to give it a try. 🙂

  16. This sounds like an awesome read that I’ll definitely have to check out further! Thanks for introducing it to me, and for such a great review!!

    I’m new to blogging and book reviewing, and I was wondering if you had any tips for newbie bloggers and book reviewers.

    If you have the time, please check out my blog @breenysbooks. I’d love any feedback. Have a wonderful day.

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for your sweet comment, and welcome to the blogging community! I’ll definitely check out your blog. xD

      As for tips for newbie bloggers, I think my number one tip would be to just comment and interact with other bloggers. Commenting on other blogs is how I made most of my blogger friends and it’s a great way to discuss books too. 🙂 I hope this helps a bit, and good luck!

    1. My thoughts exactly Marie. If the characters were as near as amazing as the premise was, this would have been an almost perfect book. It was still really entertaining though! Thank you! <3

  17. Great review Zoe! I have never heard of this one, but I added it to my TBR because I haven’t read anything like this. I have insomnia, which made me add it immediately! 🙂

  18. Whoa, the concept of this sounds SO intriguing. I must admit that I’m a bit of a sucker for dreams and the like; I was obsessed with the concept of lucid dreaming for a few months; it’s all I researched for so long, haha. It’s a shame that the characters weren’t too well-developed, though, especially because I’m a huge character person! Great review. 🙂

    1. If you’re interested in that topic then you’re definitely going to love this. 🙂 I’m curious to see what you think if you end up giving it a try! 🙂

  19. Wow. I haven’t even heard of this book before! (Though EVERYONE knows Amy Plum, right?) This sounds really interesting! Kind of cool that they did include the perspective of someone looking from the inside. Added to the to-read list!

  20. I am very much looking forward to reading this book, since I have insomnia I thought it was a very interesting concept to write about.
    Great review, makes me want to read it now! 🙂

    1. Thanks Joy! 🙂 The concept was definitely intriguing; it’s a shame the characters weren’t quite at the same level.

  21. Ooh, Inception + Twilight Zone qualities sound intriguing! I read this author’s previous book (I believe it was the first of a duology), but I wasn’t very impressed with it and this synopsis didn’t really jump out to me. It sucks to hear that the characters could pretty much be the same person as well. Seven characters is a lot to keep track of – I can’t even get past five characters!

    1. It definitely is an intriguing premise. 🙂 I’m curious to see what you’d think of it if you ever decided to give it a try. 🙂

  22. Well, I must say I like the sound of inception and twilight zone mashed together to be one big weird experience! I think it would be super interesting to read from the premed student’s POV. It’s almost like a clear and sharp contrast between reality and dreamland?? MAYBE?
    This sounds more like a plot-driven novel, and I have to say that while I prefer character-driven stories, this one definitely sounds interesting! Thanks for the review 🙂

    1. Definitely give it a try if you’re ever in the mood for something plot driven. 🙂 Thank YOU for the lovely comment. xx

  23. I’ve really enjoyed Amy Plum’s books in the past and this sounds so entertaining Zoe. I love the premise, it reminds me a little of one of the Beth Revis novels (the name escapes me) but it’s wonderfully unique in a sea of same sames. I typically struggle with so many characters, usually none of them are developed all that well which sounds like the case here too sadly. Eager to grab a copy though. Brilliant review Zoe, really enjoyed it <3

    1. It definitely has an Inception-like vibe to it. 🙂 I’m curious to see what you think of it if you end up giving it a try.

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