Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: 16 September 2014
Format: Hardcover, 432 pgs
Source: Personal Library
The Forge School is an elite arts academy. What makes this school so special is they have The Forge Show; a reality show that tracked and broadcast the activity of each individual student at the school. For twelve hours each day, students are being monitored. The only places they have their privacy is the bathroom. Even their sleep is being monitored. For this show, each student is rated accordingly through the blip rank and viewers are able to select their favourite students' feeds. As if this is not enough, students who couldn't make it to the top fifty would be expelled.
The Forge Show is inspired by a film teacher who teaches there twenty three years ago. They found out that the students who were being filmed began to work much harder. In other words, the camera eye itself has somewhat influenced their performance.
Our heroine, Rosie Sinclair, her dream is to become a filmmaker. Coming from a poor family with a lazy and good-for-nothing stepdad, she managed to get into Forge with her little footage of her younger sister, Dubbs. Although they didn't share the same dad, Rosie loves her all the same.
From the earlier chapters, we get this feeling that the Forge School is no ordinary elite school that nurture their students to excellence. Although they have twelve hours of sleep to ensure they perform to their best; that result comes from a pill and it is mandatory for all students to take every evening before bed. There's definitely something fishy going on here, and Rosie feels the same too. So one night, she pretended to have swallowed the pill under the attendant's watchful eyes before she climbs into her sleeping cell. And that night, she discovered something which she isn't meant to see (know).
From there, we follow Rosie's adventures of exploring the secrets of the school. She has befriended a few friends along the way; and seems to have found her first love in Linus, a boy who works in the school's kitchen. But, there are doubts hovering in both Rosie's and the readers' minds about who not to trust, and it is no surprise that some staff do harbour some dark secrets that involve the students.
The Vault of Dreamers is a dystopian and sci-fi thriller and honestly speaking, I'm not a huge sci-fi fan but the story captivated me from the beginning. I think it has a great premise and I thought the overall setting is pretty refreshing unlike the others. Characterisations wise, Rosie is an interesting character and she seems to be a girl with fierce determination and the fearless type, but there are times I just couldn't get past her reasons over some events and they either puzzled or frustrated me (not a criticism but simply my personal view.)
As mentioned earlier, though I felt the premise was great, I thought it'd be better if the idea of some scientific events are further explored and elaborated. Also, I felt the last part towards the end was a bit rushed. The last scene might infuriate some, but knowing this is a series I suppose we'd get some answers in the next book. However, strange as it may sound, I felt that that scene could work as a standalone too.