DNF Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on September 8, 2014 | 5 Comments

DNF Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’BrienThe Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien
Series: The Vault of Dreamers #1
Published by Roaring Brook Press (9.16.2014)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 432 pages
Source: NetGalley


From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.
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.

My thoughts

This isn’t the first Caragh O’Brien book I’ve tried. I attempted to read Birthmarked maybe 2 years ago, and DNFed it after 20-30 pages because it just wasn’t catching my interest.

I had the same problem with this one. After only 8% I was already bored to tears, but I told myself I would give it until 20% before making a decision to see if it improved. It didn’t. I read nearly 90 pages of this book before I decided to put it down, which I feel is a fair shot.

The writing was very dry and uninteresting. Nothing was happening. Things didn’t make sense. Terms were thrown at me without any sort of explanation, so I had no clue what the hell was going on. Words like The Forge and blip rank (which I did figure out later); the sentence “If I was cut, I’d be lost to the dead-end boxcars of Doli” and also the line “Check in your E files in the K:Cloud under ‘SynchClog.'” Seriously, speak f*cking English when you’re dealing with fantasy in which you make up your own stuff, a brief one liner description can go a long way in helping your readers understand your world building. Chucking made-up things at their faces aren’t going to make them want to read your book.

It also took me about 30 pages to get that a lower blip rate was actually better. There was talk about “50 cuts,” which I took as anyone under 50 would get canned, but in truth it was anyone over 50. BECAUSE IT WAS NEVER EXPLAINED. A brief “the lower your blip rank, the better” is all it would have taken! Why is that so hard?!

Then there was something akin to instalove (maybe more like insta-attachment) and it kinda seemed like there was a possibility of a love triangle as well. (If you’ve read the whole thing, am I right or wrong??) The MC – I honestly don’t even remember her name – met Linus Pitts (worst name EVER) and after one interaction she was all “grinning and primed with hope.” Then she meets this guy named Burnam, and I felt like they were hinting at a possible “I like you” situation, but I can’t find it to use an example. Maybe I just got that vibe from the interactions. Then, she runs outside in the pouring rain and kisses Linus (a boy she DOESN’T EVEN KNOW). It was kinda for show for the cameras (which just makes me think of The Hunger Games), but then Linus says it should be their secret because “This matters.” YOU DON’T EVEN FREAKING KNOW EACH OTHER!!!! Ugh.

There were interactions and dialogue that were just plain dumb, too:

“That’s the point. That’s art. You can’t hold back.”
“Oh, please. Art is not all guts on the dance floor. Can you imagine the mess?”
I let out a laugh. Paige glared at me. “What?” she demanded.
“It’s just, guts would be sort of slippery,” I said.

Is that supposed to be funny? …….*cricket chirp*

[Trying to make someone feel better] “That’s a nice purse.”
“I hate this purse,” she said.
Okay, I thought. Wrong tack. “Sorry. That was stupid,” I said.
She wiped her eyes with her arm, and turned to me with a bleary gaze. “Who do you even think you are?” she demanded. I went very small inside. Very still.


Overall, I just couldn’t find enough drive or interest to continue. There are too many other books I could be reading to waste time on something that makes me want to spoon my eyes out. Normally when I DNF I skip ahead to see how it ends, but I find with this book that I just. don’t. care.

Jessi (Geo)

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5 responses to “DNF Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien

  1. Bleh, that sucks. I’ve had this book from NetGalley for ages. I put off reading it because it got a couple negative reviews… now I almost certainly won’t be trying it. :P

  2. This is the 3rd review I have seen that was a no to this book. I have it from Netgalley and now I just don’t know if I want to read it anymore. I have had no luck with books lately and I guess I can try it but now I’m worried! :)

  3. Anya

    Honestly, a lot of what you mentioned is common sense. “Blip rank.” It has the word rank in it, it’s not hard to put 2 and 2 together. Same with “50 cuts.” When has being #50/50 a good thing? It’s just obvious to me that whoever is ranked #1, is well, #1.
    Also, on the purse thing dialogue. Ellen was clearly distressed and Rosie was clearly not expecting that to be her reaction. It may seem like overreacting, but it’s all about the context.
    However, the guts on the dance floor really did kill it for me. I also wasn’t really on board with the whole jargon of the story, but really, it’s not that hard to figure it out by yourself. I really didn’t like how Linus was introduced, or any part of that. Their romance only gets more complicated later in the book. She tries to do a love triangle but it’s just horrible.
    I read the whole book, and seriously, it’s not that bad!

    • Okay, but there are also times when having a higher number is better. And obviously it’s a rank, I got that thank you. But rank for what? If it’s a made up world, a little explanation would go a long way. But, I guess I’m just too dumb to “figure it out for myself,” right?

      Just because it’s not that bad for you doesn’t mean it’s the same for me. This book was not for me, end of story. I don’t need to have anyone essentially telling me I’m wrong or stupid for having an opinion. Not everyone is going to like the same thing.

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