Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]'s Reviews > Dealing in Dreams

Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera
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bookshelves: arc, young-adult, futuristic, dystopia

ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

This book has totally messed with my head, and I don't even know what to rate it.

It's a wild, surrealist book - just like the cover, actually. It was gritty and emotionally intense. The ending was kind of bittersweet, but that one adjective sums up the entire book: bittersweet.

I'm going to find it really tough to write a review. But here goes...

Nalah - or, as she's known, Chief Rocka - is leader of Las Mal Criadas, the most vicious and successful girl gang in Mega City. The city is very hierarchical and runs on throwdowns, or fights: the more you win, the higher up in the ranks you go. The ultimate goal is to move to the Towers, a luxurious complex where Déesse, ruler of Mega City, lives.

And one more thing: men, in this new dystopian reality, are worthless. They exist either as toilers, working away in the city, or as papi chulos, dancsaing in clubs for the girls' entertainment. It's the girls in the city who have all the power and the violence. Men cross the street to avoid them. The younger a girl is, the more violent and dangerous she tends to be, too.

Nalah and the LMCs are so, so close to making their way to the Tower. She idolises Déesse; after all, she was the woman who rebuilt Mega City after the men of the past destroyed it. There's only one task left for her to do. The Ashé Ryders are another gang suspected of encroaching on Mega City, and the LMCs must take them down. But in the process of journeying to their territory, Nalah learns some uncomfortable truths about herself, her family, and her gang.

Nalah was a wonderful character. She's violent, because she was trained to be, but not mindlessly so; she's single-minded in her desperation for a better life, but she tries to make the right choices. My heart broke for how she's been betrayed or abandoned by almost everyone she's ever known. Life isn't easy for her, and the ending of the book - while tentatively hopeful - doesn't really offer any answers. It reminded me a lot of Burgess's A Clockwork Orange in many ways.

The writing style was a little strange and stilted, but I assume that's a deliberate choice on the author's part - like Blood Red Road. After all, Nalah and the LMCs don't have much time for reading and writing.

This review doesn't really do justice to the book; nor does this rating, I suppose. I can only urge you to read it and see what you make of it. I don't think I've ever read a dystopian novel as vividly brought to life as this one.

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Reading Progress

May 1, 2018 – Shelved
May 1, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
December 7, 2018 – Shelved as: arc-tbr
January 28, 2019 – Started Reading
January 28, 2019 –
50.0%
January 28, 2019 –
73.0%
January 28, 2019 –
73.0%
January 29, 2019 – Shelved as: arc
January 29, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
January 29, 2019 – Shelved as: futuristic
January 29, 2019 – Shelved as: dystopia
January 29, 2019 – Finished Reading

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