** spoiler alert **
This story had a lot of potential but turned out to be another goopy mess of angst-ridden romance disguised as YA fantasy. When I first heard of this book it sounded a lot like Supernatural, except the protagonist is a girl. Since I’m a fan of the show, I thought, cool! This sounds really good! I really want to read this! The cover is pretty awesome, too!
Most promising was the summary which never even hinted at a love interest, giving me hope that it was going to be all about Sarah Midnight kicking ass, flaunting girl powah and being awesome in general. This was me, all happy and excited to discover this “gem”:
The first scene was pretty cool! I liked it! Sarah Midnight used some awesum speshul powers and seemed badass. Kind of. I was somewhat discouraged by the crappy writing style but, you know, crappy writing doesn’t always merit a bad story. Most of the time. Right?
In retrospect, this is all I have to say to myself:
Then the love interest, Harry, made an appearance and I forgot the crappy writing because I was all
He has a sad and tragic past, of course. Hot guys in YA lit always come with that because apparently it merits an insightful and considerate character. It just wouldn’t do to have a scorching hot guy be as shallow as a pond, would it?
Imagine my surprise! and disappointment! when Harry takes a page out of the Sucky Paranormal YA Handbook and begins to stalk Sarah from point A to B to C to D to E to… well, you know how the alphabet works (to quote Katherine from TVD, who is actually a badass). Dear Harry, if you were 10 on the scale of hotness, you just plummeted to -10.
His reason for doing this is to protect Sarah from the scary little demons that want to kill her; apparently she doesn’t actually know how to protect herself because her parents never taught her how. You guys, that’s totes
badass! It means even without any training she was still able to kill that demon in the first scene! That is so cool!
So in short, the story uses Sarah’s supposed inexperience as a lame plot device in order to have Harry hang around her in Edward-esque creepy stalker fashion. It’s a poor excuse because as we saw in the first scene, Sarah is more than capable of taking care of herself. Harry, this is all I have to say to you:
Of course, she does let him follow her around. Everywhere. Literally. To shopping, to school, to her house, bathroom, basement, kitchen, living room, bedroom… (though they never actually do the deed. Perhaps the only saving grace this book has.) Oh well, I guess that’s normal enough behavior in YA these days.
I think the fact that she doesn’t tell Harry to get the heck out of her life says something about Sarah’s character as well, don’t you think?
Then comes the part where the plot vanishes and the romance invades with REINFORCEMENTS! What kind of reinforcements, you ask? Well, for one Sarah and Harry are supposed to be first cousins, so if they get together it would actually be some form of incest, but only Harry knows he’s not really Sarah’s cousin because the real Harry got killed by the eeeeeviiillll people who are in league with the little demons. But before he died, he gave Sean (Fake Harry’s real name) the speshul task of protecting Sarah so she doesn’t die the same way.
Naturally, Fake Harry develops feelings for Sarah and so does she, but both are unable to act on them because you know, there’s the whole (fake) incest thing.
Of course, Fake Harry could just tell
her Real Harry is dead, but that would remove all the angst and the forbidden love angle and that would make things. Really. Boring. So for roughly 65% of the book we get to watch Sarah and Fake Harry tiptoe around each other in a melodramatic dance of soap-opera-like proportions. All wrapped up in a neat little package of really. Bad. Writing.
Oh, wey, here’s another boy. Another love interest. It's a love triangle.
Somewhere along the way Sarah completely shucks off her badassness as if it’s some kind of disease to her femininity (I’ve come to realize she was never truly a badass in the first place) and becomes a dopey little thing that faints far too many times for my liking, for no other reason I can see other than to have Fake Harry stare at her and worry over her in his Edwardian creeper style.
You see, I’ve finally figured out the point of Sarah. She’s supposed to be one of those heroines with supah awesum speshul powerz who is a bastion for everything good and pure and who can vanquish anyone and anything if they get in the way of the greater good. Only, those powers mysteriously disappear as soon as Prince Charming enters the picture and the heroine transforms into a star-struck airhead whose sole purpose of existence is to have that hunk of man meat assert his possessiveness over her.
In short, she’s weak and useless and stupid and an insult to girls everywhere. Are the girls who are like Sarah supposed to be role models? As a teenager, am I supposed to like
reading about this kind of heroine? Is this archetype supposed to be something I aspire
In other news...
What’s that? Is it a bird? Is it an airplane?
No, it’s the PLOT! Long time no see, buddy.
Because it had the definitive air of being stuffed in there at the last minute, the plot is rushed, weird and filled with WTF and LOL moments. Prime example: Fake Harry’s identity gets outed by Sarah’s arch-nemesis and Sarah, living up to the TSTL label, chooses to cut all ties with him. Good riddance, I say, because he’s a positive creep. Even so, the reasoning for her decision makes me want to bang my head against the wall because she chooses to take her arch-nemesis’ word at face value that he murdered Real Harry. TSTL indeed.
Moving on. Since I was so close to the end, I decided I might as well finish this entertaining trainwreck even though at this point I was beyond caring and was pretty much
In short, Dreams comprises of the formulaic storyline behind the majority of sucky paranormal YA: love triangle + ridiculous characters + lots of angst + suckily explained magic + barely there plot.
I have no idea why I didn’t DNF this. To be honest, though, this story wouldn’t be so ridiculous if it had been written in such a way that I didn’t feel like LOLing every other page. That, at least, might have raised it from a one-star to a two-star rating.
And... yeah. That concludes most of my feelings on the subject of this abomination. After all that negativity you might think me strange for wanting to pick up the sequel, but I still think this series has the potential to redeem itself—somewhat. If Fake Harry/Sean can get over his stalkerish tendencies and the plot can make an effort to assert itself more strongly and the writing can improve just a tiny teensy bit and Sarah realizes she can be both feminine and badass… well, this might just have a chance.
Holy moly, I just realized how insanely impossible that list of demands is. Hmm, yeah, no, I’ve changed my mind. Definitely not reading the sequel.