Saturday 12 November 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Dream by Sofia O'Hara

The Dream
Author: Sofia O'Hara
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Book Description:
Nina loses faith in love and decides to solely focus on her career. However, fate has different plans for Nina and her paranormal romance. Could this ever be reality?

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A lonely woman on the verge of giving up on love and men discovers a way to fabricate the man of her dreams. Who can't relate to that? I know I can. The Dream is categorised as a paranormal romance story, though the paranormal aspect wasn't explicitly portrayed, perhaps because of the story length. I found it to be just a romance story with nothing to suggest the events were beyond the scope of normality. Having read numerous short stories over the past few years, I've come to accept that compromises have to be made, thus great care must be taken, especially when deciding on what to sacrifice, and, unfortunately, in this story, I found that to be the plot.

Our protagonist, Nina, hasn't had much luck with men, so she swears off them, but then the something unexpected happens that makes her reconsider her decision: she starts having dreams about a guy named Roland, whom I suspect to be her ideal guy, though there was nothing about Roland that made him stand out. The dialogue between these characters was a little contrived and the discussions they had served no purpose and had no impact on the story. With short stories, you don't have time to meander, particularly if what is presented has no signficance in building the plot towards its climax, which I found to be the case with Nina being at her place of work. It certainly wasn't essential to the plot. If Roland, her imagined love interest, was in fact a work colleague or someone who had just started working at the same company as her and whom she takes a liking to, then the significance of her being at work would come into play. If the scene doesn't illustrate the characters or advance the plot in some way, I don't see the point of it being there.

Nina's insecurities about her self worth was well portrayed. Although she swore off love, the inception of Roland is a clear contradiction and shows how much she hates the thought of being alone. Roland is supposed to be her salvation - a do over - but even in her dreams, she manages to concoct a reality where she's overthinking things and left wondering whether Roland will show up for their date. Her love life seems to be out of her control even in her dreams. I thought this was a good representation of the character's low self esteem, that it persisted even in her dream world.

I wasn't too fond of the writing style, particularly the moments where Nina is speaking to herself aloud. I don't mind character's speaking to themselves, but this just felt awkward and unatural. It came across as though Nina was trying to take the place of the narrator. It just didn't work for me.

The concept of the story, the idea that one can fabricate their own love story through dreams, is fascinating and it's an idea many readers, particuarly readers of romance fiction, would enjoy. There's a lot of potential here, but the story needs more work.



Award: Bronze
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Source: Review copy via author

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