Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Rule of Mirrors ~ Caragh M O'Brien (earc) review [@MacKidsBooks @CaraghMOBrien]

The Rule of Mirrors (The Vault of Dreamers #2)
Roaring Brook Press
February 16, 2016
432 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

The fast-paced, psychologically thrilling sequel to The Vault of Dreamers follows Rosie after her consciousness has been split in two.

The entire country was watching when Rosie Sinclair was expelled from Forge, the prestigious arts school that doubles as a reality TV show. But few know how Dean Berg was mining students' dreams in laboratories deep below the school. And no one, least of all the Dean himself, knows that when Rosie's dreams were seeded into the mind of another patient, Rosie's consciousness woke up in that body--a girl far from Forge, a girl with a completely different life from Rosie, a girl who is pregnant.

Told from alternating points of view between Rosie as she makes sense of her new identity and the shattered subconscious that still exists in her old body, this sequel to The Vault of Dreamers will keep readers on the edge of their seats and leave them hungry for more.

The Rule of Mirrors is the sequel to 2014's The Vault of Dreamers and, I think, you really do need to read that book first. There is not much recap, at all, with The Rule of Mirrors so if you don't know about the Forge school, the reality TV show, and, especially, the secret mining and seeding of students' dreams, you may not get some of this second book. I had definitely forgotten some of the first book, but bits of it came back as I was reading.

I loved the concept of Rosie, the girl we met in the first book, who went snooping and ran into trouble with Dean Berg, has now split into two consciousnesses. She is still Rosie, in Rosie's body, but she's also Rosie - the one who left at the end of The Vault of Dreamers - in another girls' body, too. There are now two, quite different Rosie's: Rosie and, Althea, the her in a new body.

Having two different characters who have the same past, who were the same person presents some intriguing possibilities. Whomever was narrating the current chapter always felt the most like 'Rosie' to me. The author does a really nice job making them each feel like the character we know, but different from both that girl and each other.

It also means we get a sort of love pentagon . . . or bisected triangle . . . or triangle meets Venn diagram. Whatever it is when one character is linked to another except now that character is two separate individuals and each has a new character they're possibly linked to. It's confusing to describe but works in the book. Romance is hardly the focus of The Rule of Mirrors but shows some important distinctions in Rosie and Althea and some of each's confusion over who they now are.

The more each girl figures out who they are and the closer we get to what they plan to do as that girl, the faster the story reads and the more exciting it becomes. I loved how the different characters worked (or tried) to work together, despite their uncertainties, the lack of trust in each other, the worry over who was watching and when. I loved how this split in Rosie's consciousness was handled, the developments and discoveries of the characters.

I am really looking forward to the next book(s) and how the characters who were Rosie continue to grow and evolve.

review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

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