ARC Review: The Dream Engine – Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant

The Dream Engine – Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant

25894470When Eila Doyle first hears the strange boy calling from somewhere deep in her sleep, she begins to question her sanity. In the gleaming steampunk world of Waldron’s Gate, citizens aren’t meant to dream — and those who eschew their daily Crumble and dare to do so anyway face madness … and imprisonment in Joffrey Columns, the asylum of towers.

And yet, “Dreaming” of a very specific sort is what Eila does every day at the Ministry of Manifestation with her mind hooked to the great engine, called the Blunderbuss. She’s accustomed to using her thoughts to Build all that the city needs … but never before have her thoughts been so dark, so laced with demons and shadows. Now those nighttime visions hint at dark conspiracy, a millennium of lies, and a fathomless secret hiding beneath the quiet streets.

As Eila follows the boy down the rabbit hole, she discovers secrets that were meant to remain hidden. She discovers an unknown caste of underlings, an unknown place underneath the city. And she learns of her terrible destiny as her own dreams and reality blur, as “what is real?” becomes something uncertain.

This thrilling young adult dystopian adventure is the first in the Dream Engine series by masters of story Platt & Truant, authors of The Beam, Unicorn Western, and many more. The Dream Engine will have you asking yourself “What is real?” along with Eila’s strong female lead — but watch what you ask for, because the answer may unsettle and disturb you for weeks to come.

Release Date: July 22nd, 2014

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

That last paragraph in the synopsis makes me laugh because it’s SUPER DRAMATIC.

What I liked:

-I suppose Eila was a fairly strong female character, although her thoughts/actions seemed repetitive and boring up until the very end.

-beautiful cover.

-interesting concept.

-the fact that the authors wrote the whole thing (including planning, plotting, outlining, editing, etc) in 30 days.

What I didn’t like:

-this book dragged forever. I felt like I was reading it for months. It got to the point that I actually felt frustrated by my inability to finish reading something that had started off on a good note.

-as I mentioned above, the book was written in 30 days. Yeah, that’s impressive (though, really, if I was being paid to do NOTHING BUT WRITE for a month, I could probably churn out a manuscript too. I – and many other people – have successfully completed NaNoWriMo, and that was WITH a day job!), but I felt like there was little to no editing involved. There was a lot of repetition, a lot of introspection, a lot of explaining, a lot of build up, and not so much action.

I mean, as fascinating as it is to wonder how you’d explain “dreams” to someone who didn’t understand the word, it’s tiresome to read about it for twenty pages.

And it just made me confused, but maybe I shouldn’t have been reading about something as abstract and intangible as dreams first thing in the morning.

Also, if I had a nickle for every time the words “Joffrey Columns”, “Blunderbuss”, and “Crumble” were mentioned, I could have kickstarted their entire project myself.

-this book felt like a combination of Alice in WonderlandThe MatrixThe Giver (and every other dystopian YA novel ever), with a dash of “hey, I had a weird dream last night, I KNOW, I’LL PUT IT IN A BOOK SO THAT EVERYONE ELSE IS JUST AS CONFUSED AS ME”.

All those things individually are great. Put them together though, and you get a weird sense of deja vu (“follow the white rabbit”, was an actual line and I’m not sure if it was an Alice reference or a Matrix reference) (also Crumble seems like those pills that Jonah had to stop taking in The Giver so that he could be open to the real world. Just like Eila!).

-I respect that not all YA books feel the need to push the romance aspect and that’s cool, but if Levi is literally wandering through her dreams, you’d think there would be something going on there. But no. So that was disappointing.

It’s the first book in a series and has an open ending, and honestly, I’m not eager to find out what happens next. The whole thing fell flat for me, and while I’m impressed they could write this many words in a month, I would have probably liked it more if they had taken another week or two to really fine tune it.

That being said, I’m sure there are people who are falling all over themselves about this book. I’m just not one of them.


2 interrobangs

2.5 interrobangs

Top Ten Tuesday: Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession (bought, library, review copies, etc). My list is split in half: the first five are physical books I bought while on vacation in Scotland, the last five are ARCs from NetGalley/authors/etc.

1) The Nowhere Emporium – Ross MacKenzie
2) Man at the Helm – Nina Stibbe
3) The Monster’s Wife – Kate Horsley
4) The Mermaid Bride and Other Orkney Folk Tales – Tom Muir
5) The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow – Katherine Woodfine (which I technically bought for my 9 year old niece, but I want to read it first!)
6) A Curse of Ash and Iron – Christine Norris (look for my review on Friday)
7) Alice Takes Back Wonderland – David D. Hammons
8) The Dream Engine – Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
9) Hawthorn – Jamie Cassidy
10) Vengeance Road – Erin Bowman

What have you bought/borrowed/been given recently? Anything in particular I should look out for?