Book Review: The Rule of Mirrors

Posted March 14, 2016 by Lyn Kaye in book review, Lyn / 2 Comments

Book Review: The Rule of MirrorsThe Rule of Mirrors by Caragh M. O'Brien
Series: The Vault of Dreamers #2
Published by Roaring Brook Press on February 16th 2016
Genres: young adult, science fiction
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on 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 Vault of Dreamers was a book I never was able to review from last year. Overall, the book was interest, with a strong premise, but the novel fell back on insta-love, bland love triangle issues, and suffered from a confusion of merging together the two plots of a reality TV meets sinister yet very cool-sounding sci-fi opportunities. I rated the book three stars. Despite some of the major issues, the book was able to keep me coming back. And I did like the idea of dream mining, taking the dreams of people and planting them into others. It had potential. When the next book in the series came up, I decided to give it a go to see where the rest of the plot was heading.

At first, The Rule of Mirrors started out strong – we have a girl who conscious is “split” into two separate people. One remains in her real body, while the other is planted into a brain dead girl – the entire idea around the “dream seeds” of the students at the reality TV school. This caught my interest right away, as I never thought about someone exploring the different personalities or parts of ourselves and playing that angle of mind and thought transplant, and using the “id” and “ego” of someone’s mind as separate entities. The first half of the book was outstanding on how Rosie’s other self started to settle in Althea, a motorcycle victim which left her brain dead but physically still able to live. Identity was a large theme at the start, fitting someone into expectations and a preassigned role. While this was happening, “real” Rosie struggled to steal her freedom away from a pervert, using her wits and her clear thinking to get out of a terrible situation. O’Brien went out of her way to portray Rosie’s assaulter as someone who felt entitled to her body, creating someone who was not a cartoonish bad guy, but a real life abuser. Think of PG-13 Buck from Kill Bill. Kudos for making this type of enemy, and telling young girls that this person is just as dangerous as a gun-toting businessman, or a crazed doctor with too much money and not enough humanity. I want to see more “real life” villains in books and TV shows, so that we can tell girls that it is okay to feel afraid and wary of these people, because, yes, they are horrible people.

When the second half of the book came along, the story fell apart and there was a lot that the audience was just forced to believe. This was a huge issue in the first book – forced reality.

Before I touch on the next part, I sliced off a lot of points because of the issue with Thea, the “other” Rosie in a new body. Althea is pregnant at the time of her accident, and Rosie is left in a body that is carrying a child. A 16 year old child is forced into an older woman’s pregnant body (Althea is 19). Thea (the identity Rose takes up to help separate herself from Rosie and Althea) talks internally about her fear of pregnancy and giving birth, which I agree should have been included in the novel. Thea soon makes it known to the family that she isn’t Althea, and that she is overwhelmed. Her family brushed off her concerns that states that the doctors believe that she is confused and trying to adopt another identity and that it would fade. So it finally comes up where Thea brings up if the family would allow her to have an abortion. Althea’s mom point blank shoots down the idea and won’t allow it. They state that they didn’t go through everything for her just to lose the baby. Thea reluctantly admits that she doesn’t wants to do it, but is really pisses me off that the choice was taken away from her. The family never let her have the decision. Thea, other Rosie, is pretty much forced to carry this baby, and when she brings up an abortion, the family freaks out on her, and bullies her out of her decision. Why would any author slip this part in there? This seems like an underhanded way to frown down on abortion, and to tell young girls that the baby is more important than them. The family is basically telling her that they went through the trouble of the dream seeding for the baby, to keep the baby, and even with Thea having trouble adjusting and showing clear signs of distress, she is told that she is going to carry the baby, because that is the ultimate goal. Thea even approached adoption, because she doesn’t feel prepared as a mother, which is shot down down with the same disgust and zeal as the abortion subject.

That is fucking disgusting. Just writing it down pisses me off to think of it again. With all of the issues and fights happening with abortion and a woman’s right to choose, I’m extremely disappointed to see an author just dabble into the subject and brush it off as nothing. Like this isn’t a completely different emotional and physical crime against a young girl. Like this is just okay to put into your book that a baby’s life come before a woman’s life. Fucking pick another platform to shove your political statement down someone’s throat, because this was just pitiful and sick as hell to slide it in to a YA book.

The next part of the book is romantic angst, idiotic decisions, and over-the-top actions made by everyone in the entire book. Thea runs away with the big bad baby daddy because parents suck! Rosie can’t feel love for this one guy but likes him enough to force him into her big diabolical plot! Linus or Lucas (I can’t even be bothered to look up Special Boi’s name) is too precious to be included in the Big Bad Plot! Thea MAGICALLY knows how to give the best and most special birth EVER, despite being pregnant, in her mind, for 2 months!

I’m done with this series. I can’t do goofy story telling, sappy lurve, and idiotic choices just to make the book OH SO COOL.



2 responses to “Book Review: The Rule of Mirrors

  1. *sighs* I feel you, Lyn, I really do! I hate it when very important and / or serious issues are inserted into books only to not really let the characters deal with it completely. Like the abortion thing – OK, so Thea’s family is against abortion, but she’s 19, right? Shouldn’t she at least be treated with respect even if there is a big disagreement?
    I’m sorry this didn’t work for you, and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work for me either, so thanks for the honest review!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…Audio Review: Reap The Wind – Karen ChanceMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge