My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this book via Net Galley in return for an honest review
This book was a solid read. The writing, overall, was pretty good (with a couple exceptions I’ll mention later). The storyline was interesting. The concept was pretty cool. However, this book failed to take in a few very important elements, which causes the entire story to self implode on itself logic-wise.
One of the biggest issues? It’s worldbuilding.
1. Buggers, I should be 200 years in age!
I’m going to say right now, the biggest problem with this book isn’t even the rather quick and badly done insta-love, but the fact that these Catchers are 200 years old and have experienced multiple lifetimes through other people, yet still act like they’re goddamn immature teenagers. If there’s one thing that’s most wrong about this book, that would be it.
I would have understood slightly more it if their brains stayed in a biologically underdeveloped stage, but 1. the author never states that and from the idea of being not physically alive, I don’t think brain development really is all that important anymore and 2. that still gives no excuse to acting and talking like a teenager and unnecessary insta-love that could only happen to an inexperienced teenager. Fuck, they all act like teenagers. I would never want the fate of my dreams to be rested in the hands of a bunch of immortal not-quite-dead teenagers.
That being said, the insta-love was awful and probably just one of the many “typical YA” features that appear in this book. Others include Mary Sue characters (though, thankfully, they aren’t as blatantly bad in this book as compared to most others. They do still exist in this book, unfortunately.)
3. Flawed worldbuilding
The worldbuilding in this book is flawed. There’s nothing to be said about that. When every person in the world has a dreamcatcher and a weaver plus the catchers have understudies, that’s a shitload of people who need to sacrifice themselves. In fact, that’s saying that at least 2/3 of the human population would have to have sacrificed themselves to others, which obviously isn’t the case.
Not only so, we have Catchers killed off left and right and other than the typical, “Oh, so-and-so died, I’m so sad.” there’s nothing else. No “fuck, we’re going to have a shortage of catchers.” or “who’s going to catch [person’s] dreams now?”
Apparently Daniel’s the best fighter they’ve got, so I’m assuming that most of the people before him are dead. So, where are the abundance of Catchers coming from?
The Catcher idea was cool, but once the Magus got introduced, I was a little eh about the worldbuilding. The Magus aren’t portrayed enough and they make Catchers look like weak little shits. Kayla is super OP even though “I can’t control my magic! I’m going to kill someone!”. We’re not quite informed of the mechanics behind Magus and their magic other than that one very short and skimpy lesson which we learn about nothing.
4. Fight Scenes
The writing was good. Until the fight scenes.
I’ll admit, as someone who does creative writing in my free time, writing a good fight scene is hard and some authors just aren’t good at it. The fight scenes in this book weren’t necessarily complete pieces of shit – they were decent reads – but after the first few, the rest all sound almost the same. Daniel hits this Nightmare, dodges the other, throws a knife and then gets hit. Curses in pain but continues to fight. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Not good enough.
This book is not awful. But I can’t forgive it’s gaping flaws in worldbuilding. I actually would recommend this book. It’s a decent read. Just, not the type of book I would ever read and then obsess over for the next 6 months and be warned of it’s plot holes.