Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Release date: September 16, 2014
Published by: Roaring Book Press/Macmillan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received from NetGalley as an ARC for review.
First off, I’m going to call it like it is and tell you that this is a dark tale full of intriguing and scary ideas.
O’Brien brings us to another future world that feels very similar to our current world with just a few twists. For example, this story takes place in The Forge School. An academic setting, but unlike regular high schools, this is a high school-reality T.V. hybrid. Don’t get me wrong, I could totally see our current world deciding to broadcast the lives of teenagers in a special creative arts high school, but in addition to broadcasting the lives of the teens, The Forge School uses the science of dreams to increase the creativity of its students. Or...at least that’s how they sell the idea of the school to the public. At this school, the value of a person’s dreams is literally what is most important.
The creepy overtones in this story are set up early on with Rosie’s comparison of the sleeping pods to coffins: “...two rows as straight and motionless as so many coffins.” And the scary intrigue quickly follows as Rosie uncovers more and more pieces of the puzzle that seem to explain what is really going on at The Forge School. She says at one point, “I didn’t have to understand every nuance to grasp that I was in a game, a weird, one-on-one game with Dean Berg.”
This brings me to the cast of supporting characters: a love interest, a controlling leader, and a few casual friends, but Rosie really does take the main stage as she works to uncover the truth behind the use of dreams at the school. In fact, maybe that’s why I don’t have any strong feelings for the supporting characters. Rosie really does keep her own counsel most of the time...because she figures most others will think she’s crazy since she struggles to gather real proof of what she sees and hears.
In fact, part of the adventure of this dark tale is you, the reader, deciding just how reliable you think Rosie is as a narrator. I’ll leave that up to you as you head out and pick up this book.
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