Book Review: Dare to Dream by Carys Jones

Dare to Dream
Author: Carys Jones
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian
Released: February 15th 2015
Review Source: REUTS Publications

Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths.

It’s not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes “normal” is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare—red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it’s an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling.

No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock counting down. But only Maggie knows what it means: when the last stone falls, destruction will reign. And when the world ends, there’s only one option left—survive.

Horrifying and raw, Dare to Dream is equal parts tragedy and hope, detailing the aftermath of apocalyptic catastrophe, the quest for survival, and the importance of belief.

This was my first novel from Carys Jones and it certainly won’t be the last. Dare to Dream included everything which interests me. A dystopian plot, English setting, historical monument which indicated the end of the world, and an unlikely trio fighting for survival. A perfect combination to keep you satisfied throughout.

My favourite part of this novel was the Stonehenge aspect. For those who don’t know of Stonehenge, it’s a pre-historic monument located in England, estimated age is 3100 BC, and was estimated to have took over 30 million hours of construction to build, and it’s also on the book cover! History really interests me so that the author has incorporated in the novel, making it so every time a stone fell from Stonehenge; it was a signal that the world was ticking closer to its end. Seriously, I love how the author did that.

“When the last stone falls, the world will end”

That sentence made my heart pound with anticipation. It made me look forward to the last stone falling, as messed up as that sounds, just because I wanted to know what the world was going to be like after the end. Personally I think the best kinds of dystopian novels are the ones when we get a taste of the normality of their world before the apocalyptic reality sets in. That's what we get here, a good introduction to Maggie and her family life, time for a connection to build with the characters before everything goes upside down.

The transition from normal to ‘oh crap the world is ending right before our eyes’ was done brilliantly. Maggie, she has these dreams and she knew the world was going to end when the last stone falls, yet as the end neared, and she began warning people of what was to come, the cracks in her foundation began to show majorly. The nightmares of the apocalypse kept her from sleep and accepting the end of humanity wasn't something she could do. She was breaking right before our eyes and it wasn't pretty to see. I felt bad for her. Imagine knowing the world was going to end through vicious nightmares and there was nothing you could do? That’s enough to drive anyone to seem a bit nutty.

"The same blood red lightning tore open the sky and scorched the earth. Hungry fires consumed what little now remained of her neighborhood. She could hear the brief cries of people soon silenced by more flashes of red fury"

However, the one good thing going for Maggie was her best friend, Dawn. Though Dawn is crazy different from Maggie, they were best friends and I felt their connection in Dare to Dream. When everyone looked at Maggie like she was insane and delusional, Dawn never once doubted her. I'd love a best friend like that, being able to tell her about messed up dreams and apocalyptic premonitions and having her believe and support me every step of the way. That was Dawn. A loyal friend who never questioned Maggie's sanity.

"I believe you. I believe that your nightmares are real, and that they can hurt you."

From there the novel only gained in excitement. We got a taste of post apocalypse world, of the destruction which came, and the imagery I was able to create in my head only made the book more enjoyable. The trio, Andy, Maggie and Dawn, were an interesting group, all characters I wouldn't have put together in a group, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As they trek to the caves, another thing Maggie dreamed about, however, this time instead of causing destruction, the caves will pose as a safe house; we really get a glimpse of Dawn and Andy's characters. Everything has been set up just right for book two, and I'm so looking forward to it. I mean, come on. Take a look at the closing sentence: 

"Is this the end?"
"No", Julain replied, his voice sincere. "This is just the beginning."

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