The Book of Dreams

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Review #45: Fiction

First to Read #4

The Book of Dreams by Nina George

Book of Dreams

Nina George is one of my absolute favorite authors. I devoured both The Little Paris Bookshop and The Little French Bistro and it was a sincere pleasure to be one of the first to read The Book of Dreams. George has proven to be a master of pulling at readers’ heartstrings.

Henri Skinner is on his way to meet is son, Sam, for the very first time when an accident leaves him hospitalized and in a coma. Sam and Eddie, Henri Skinner’s ex-girlfriend who he has left in charge of his medical decisions but hasn’t seen in over 2 years, visit Henri everyday, trying to convince him to wake up.

Sam is a synesthete, he experiences his senses in a combination of ways. Notably he can see colors in numbers and in voices, he can feel personalities. This is how he knows his father is inside his comatose body, and he believes Henri can hear and understand him. When Sam asks Henri to find Madelyn, a young girl who has also been left in a coma after a car accident in which she lost her entire family, he truly believes her father can bring her back. Sam feels a connection to Madelyn, and believes she and his father are together, wherever they are.

Eddie must grapple with a love for Henri that she thought she’d let go, only to find it returning even more strongly now that she is faced with truly having to decide if she can let Henri go, while Sam confronts the fact that he may never actually meet his father, though his synesthesia may allow him to know his father better than anyone ever could.

In a story told in the shadows between life and death, George weaves together life, loss, love and pain in new and exciting ways, forcing readers to contemplate just what makes a life worth living, what it really means to be alive. There’s a beauty in the way George writes about death and loss, a spark that ignites our curiosity and pulls at the heartstrings leaving us wondering what more there might be to life that we just don’t know. If we can’t see something, does that mean it doesn’t exist? Can medicine and science truly explain everything? The Book of Dreams asks readers to consider all the things we just don’t know about life and death and the in-between spaces. It inspires us to trust our senses and feelings even when logic and reason and the harsh realities of the world would have us do anything but.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

I received access to an e-copy of this book for this review.

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Dark Matter

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Review #33: Fiction

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

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This book is a complete and total sci-fi, multidimensional, breakneck mind f*** from start to finish. And I mean that in the best possible way.

It’s hard to even describe how insanely interesting this book is. Much like the brand new ideas filling its pages, the right words are not yet available to praise it enough. The best I can do is tell you I read the whole thing in one day. Every time I stopped, I just couldn’t manage to do something else. I HAD TO KNOW what was going to happen.

Blake Crouch begins with the story of an everyday guy, in an everyday world, doing everyday things. Then BAM! Something not-so-everyday happens and everything goes off the rails. Jason Dessen is kidnapped, given a strange drug, and wakes up to a life that is not his…or so he thinks. Dessen then spends possibly lifetimes attempting to figure out where he is, who he is, when he is and how to get back to the where, who, when he remembers. The always-hard-to-comprehend idea of alternate realities, different versions of ourselves, splitting into someone(s) different after every decision we make is surprisingly easy to follow in Crouch’s story.

I have never been so completely engrossed in a story and world that is so impossibly possible. Crouch sets a new bar extremely high for any alternate reality sci-fi novels that come next. Literally spirally into infinity Dark Matter is a roller coaster ride with unimaginable twists and turns. You won’t see them coming and you’ll eagerly await the next.

My recommendation is to not read this all in one sitting, as I did, in order to enjoy the thrill of it longer, though I don’t think you’ll be able to restrain yourself.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

*Cover art from Amazon.com