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. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.
This was as good as I was hoping it’d be! Of course I was definitely not thinking it’d be as creepy and thrilling as it ended up being, this is sort of a mash of sci-fi and horror together. It’s definitely a very, very unique premise and I thought the execution was great!
First of all the pacing is pretty even throughout the story since it never really felt like it lagged but also wasn’t super fast to the point where I had my eyeballs glued to the pages. I really liked how there wasn’t a bunch of time wasted on pointless filler too and we are thrown into the action right from the start and it stays that way up until the end. There are also quite a few DAMN GOOD twists along the way as well and I did not see them coming either!
The story is narrated by three different POV characters: Cata, Jaime, and Fergus. The great part was that I always knew when we changed POVs right away even without the help of the chapter headers because each character had a more distinct personality and “voice”. My only complaint was that I didn’t feel that Fergus’s POV was really necessary since he and Cata were both “dreamers” and had similar experiences. I did really like how much depth Jaime, the pre-med student watching the experiment, added to the story overall though.
Also apparently we never learn if Jaime’s character is male or female and I honestly didn’t even notice until the end but I guess I had just assumed Jaime was a he, however, Amy Plum has stated she left it out on purpose. Maybe it’s a twist for the next book? Who knows! Also just a fun side-note here I saw some other reviewers debating this saying they thought Jaime was a girl because of the spelling and ALL I could think of was Jaime Lannister guys! Come on!
I absolutely LOVED the overall atmosphere of this story too! It’s so freaking creepy! Although I will say even if you’re not a lover of horror or horror-esque stories this isn’t TOO scary to handle but it will definitely have you flailing about in suspense and maybe even looking over your shoulder every now and then! I also really liked how unique and interesting each “nightmare” was too, they were all very different and terrifying in their own ways. We saw very realistic horrors as well as your traditional monster type horrors and I thought it was very neat to show what types of things haunt these kids.
I’m just gonna throw this out there too: there are some very Weeping Angel-esque statues that literally terrified me in one of the nightmares. So many creepy monsters! I was pretty stressed out while reading because of this but also I still had fun? I know, it’s odd.
Plus that cliffhanger ending has me practically screaming for more! That was such an insane twists and I’m definitely excited to see where the next book in this duology takes us!
Also another little fun tidbit is that this book has no romance! Yay!
The characters in “Dreamfall” were good but they still felt a little under-developed and one dimensional by the end of the book. None of them really stuck out to me either while reading but I still liked them enough to care about their fates in that messed up dreamworld!
I did like how none of these kids were perfect either, they all had their flaws and knew how to deal with them and come face to face with them as well. It was really intriguing to learn more and more about what past events traumatized the characters enough to suffer from such severe insomnia too (their backstories essentially). This is the only kind of development we see for them though.
One other big plus I have for the characters is that they actually always made smart decisions! This feels a lot like your typical horror slasher movie at times and you always wait for the characters to trip up and get caught or split up or something equally as unwise but these guys didn’t ever do that. I was pleasantly surprised with the lack of dumb decisions throughout the story, it was great!
What I Loved:
- The intense and pretty scary nightmare scenes
- Even pacing
- Great, great plot twists!
- Zero romance
What I Didn’t Love:
- Personally felt Fergus’s POV wasn’t really needed
- Characters weren’t very developed or complex
I highly recommend checking this book out if you’re looking for a unique YA book with no romance or if you’re a YA horror or thriller fan! This book is definitely full of enough thrills to keep you interested!