Release Date: July 22, 2014
Source: via NetGalley
Genre: Steampunk | Young Adult
When 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.
If I were to be objective, I'd give THE DREAM ENGINE, a YA Steampunk adventure by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant, a solid 3-cauldron rating. I liked the individual elements of the story, it has it's own uniqueness with just a hint of "formula" for the novel to fit the mainstream criteria.
- The myth is unique in that their God is referred to as "The Crown", and Jonah and his whale is preserved and are revered entities as well.
- That said, the world building is a curious element as well. It's like the world is flat and there be monsters lurking in the seas. Everyone took this factoid for granted, nobody really tried to explore if there is any truth to that or if there's anything beyond the "map". Until now.
- There are somewhat of a "caste" system and unbenownst to the population as a whole, this is a mirror-like world. Like there's a society that lives aboveground and there's a whole sect of people that lives under.
- THE DREAM ENGINE as a whole is very imaginative, it's not Victorian England or Western America, it's neither here nor there. The world building combined with the myth is very impressive and totally beguiling.
- I love Eila (eye-la) Doyle as a heroine, she's very rational, not whiny, brave, curious, very likable young lady. She's not susceptible to flights of whimsy nor allowed herself to be lured by her emotions. She didn't annoy me at all! She almost always lean on what's logical and takes it from there. Eila's character is also interesting in that it's ambiguous. She's either the Messiah or Shiva, depends on which team you're batting for.
However, the novel as a whole just didn't work for me. Why? Because there's a LOT of info-dumping and over half ot THE DREAM ENGINE was more or less dedicated to world building. Have you seen The Matrix? Imagine understanding the entire concept of The Matrix in 200 pages (give or take).
Yeah, my eyes glazed over. I can't stop yawning. And suddenly, the novel felt laborious (for me) to read. And I'll be honest, this is why I can't really give you details beyond the basics. There's just a LOT to process in such a short amount of pages. And again, I'm being very subjective here, a lot of people in Goodreads LOVED THE DREAM ENGINE. Unfortunately, this is just one of those books that's not the right fit for me. Yet another case of it's not you, it's totally ME.