The Dream Protocol by Adara Quick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
For a short story (154 pages in paperback), I struggled to read through this one. The whole concept of working to be able to go to sleep and dream during the night was interesting enough. It reminded me of the film Inception hence why it intrigued me to read it.
As I read on, I found myself reading a strange dystopian world where people were confined underground in a place called Skellig City. It was a place dug out a thousand years ago, populated and sealed from the rest of the world. Why that was done was my first question. The next question came from the people living there. Nobody was allowed to live past 35 years. Once you reached that age, you have to leave, presumed to die and move on to the next world they called Tir na nOg, which I imagined as their version of the afterlife.
That being said some form of authority governs the rest of the population. Everybody has a job to do and in exchange they get a salary in form of credits which the people of Skellig City use to buy their dreams at night with. No dreams meant no sleep or more importantly, no form of release from the prison they call living.
The story centers on a young girl called Deirdre. We read about her losing her aunt Maeve to the Descent and about to lose her own mother within a week’s time to the same fate. Understandably, Deirdre was very upset by this. But she’s the only one who seemed opposed to their way of life. Her own parents fully supported it as well as her younger sister. It’s really not surprising why she’s rebelling against them.
Another anxiety she’s facing was her upcoming “selection” where she would be assigned to a particular job until her 35th birthday. She will have no choice on her future job since the Ministry makes the decision for her.
On top of that, Flynn, one of her best friends, was born with a genetic disorder that made him prematurely age physically. Add a budding romance to the mix and we get emotions going rampant and immature decisions being made.
Honestly, I found myself getting more and more confused as I read on. Granted, this is only the first book to the series so questions are expected. Unfortunately, none of my questions had been answered and further questions came up. Maybe it was just me asking the wrong questions since there are several reviews ahead of mine where readers enjoyed the story and found it a good read. Maybe it was because I found a few head-hopping in the story which is unfortunately a pet peeve of mine. Multiple POVs are acceptable, just not head-hopping between characters within the same scene. Furthermore, each chapter started with a flashback to events that happened before Skellig City was created. These snippets of history meant to give background info caused more confusion to my already muddled brain.
Book 2 looks like it’s in the process of being written if not completed. Hopefully, it would bring the answers to all the confusion book 1 gave me.
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