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Archive: Other Books > The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker -- 2 stars

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Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7644 comments The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
2 stars

This book was a disappointment. It had such a strong premise and had all of the makings of a book that I would really enjoy, but it did not execute the story well.

Quick synopsis: a small town in southern California is hit with an unknown disease that causes people to enter into a constant sleep (so, like a coma?). Unlike regular sleep, these people are dreaming constantly. Vivid, active dreams way more intense that normal dreams. The book follows a handful of characters as they deal with living in communities with this rampant virus, adjust to quarantine, and succumb to the sickness. And, for some, eventually wake up.

The main problem was that the characters were not that compelling. They were superficial thumbnail sketches of characters that I could have actually been fully invested in. The author described their actions, but never their reasonings. We also never really found out too much about the illness. It hit. It ravaged the community. It burned out. The whole book had this dream-like feeling too it. But not the vivid, lifelike dreams that the characters in the book supposedly had, but a dull monotone dream.

Very little about this book worked for me.

And look, I get what the author was trying to do. It seemed like she was trying to make some kind of statement about consciousness and the metaphysical concepts of multiple versions of the same universe and whether we are all awake or sleeping. What is real and what is not. But, she did not do it well. It was just ho hum.

After being less than thrilled with Karen Thompson Walker's debut book several years ago, The Age of Miracles, I think I am crossing her off my list of authors to watch.


Susie | 4488 comments She’s off my list too. It didn’t work for me either which is a shame, because as you said the premise had such potential. I can’t remember much about it now which is telling.


message 3: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3778 comments The 3rd "ehh" review I've seen. Off the TBR it goes.


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7644 comments The two books are not overly similar but you know what I kept comparing it to in my mind? Station Eleven. It has been years since I read it but I just kept thinking about how it was far superior to The Dreamers.


Susie | 4488 comments Yes! Station Eleven was a much more sophisticated novel in terms of character and plot development, wasn’t it?


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7644 comments Absolutely!


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