Book Review: “The Dreamers” by Karen Thompson Walker

Hello, friends! How is everyone doing? Today, we have a book review of the Marizé bookclub pick “The Dreamers” by Karen Thompson Walker. 📚

This book was in the March recommended reads (that speaks volumes on what a slow reader I’ve become…😅). It took me a very long time to finish this book. That is because, mostly, I was not enjoying it and I kept forcing myself to try to finish it.

For a bit of context, the story line is about a strange new virus that spreads rapidly through the air (sounds familiar?). This virus causes its victims to fall asleep and never wake up again -hence the title “the dreamers”. There is technically one main character, Mei, however the story follows many characters, simultaneously. So, I would say the book does not focus on one hero per se.

My problem with this book is that it was so painfully slow. This probably sounds a bit harsh, but I regretted recommending it in my bookclub post. I was thinking that, if anyone read this book because they saw it on my blog, they would literally never choose any of my recommended reads again! I think it’s obvious that I did not like this book, and actually, I would not recommend reading it now.

But let’s break down my book review into three parts: plot, writing style and overall review.

The plot

Like I mentioned above, the plot is about an unknown airborne virus that spreads incredibly fast and causes the victims to fall in deep sleep. Had this book not been published in 2019, I would have honestly thought that the author took the Covid-19 pandemic, tweaked it a bit and turned it into a book.

There were details about people being scared of human interaction and having to keep 6 feet distance. They started wearing masks and gloves and crazy bulk buying. Literally everything that happened in real life at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.🙄

If I had read this book before the pandemic, perhaps I would have had a different opinion. It would probably have been a very interesting and unique story. However, it being 2021 and with all the crap that happened with the coronavirus pandemic, I did not enjoy the story.

It kept reminding me of the first awful weeks of the pandemic, where we didn’t know what was happening and what to expect. It was very similar to the unknown of the virus described in this book.

The writing style

Another issue I had with this book was the writing style. As I mentioned above, the plot was moving painfully slow. I will not lie, I did skip whole pages. I was reading the e-book version, too, which made it a bit easier to just skip pages and chapters. The other option would have been to ditch the book completely, but I don’t like doing this once I’ve started a book.

In addition, I thought that the author was including too many (unnecessary) details and yet missing information that I would have liked to know. I found the book confusing at times and I was unable to follow the story line.

Overall review

I feel I’ve been quite mean with this book and this author. I feel bad, because this is the first book I’ve read by Karen Thompson Walker. The pandemic has also skewed my view on it, and as I mentioned, perhaps if I had read it before Covid-19, my book review would have been different.

I did enjoy some aspects of “The Dreamers”. The plot was interesting and there was suspense. Also, there were unexpected outcomes for the main characters, which was refreshing. Unfortunately, this was not enough to make me want to read this book again in the future.

Having said that, everyone is different and has different experiences, so if you think you might enjoy this book, of course you should give it a go. If you have read it, do let me know in the comments below what you thought about it and if you liked it. 😊

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