Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review: The Cure for Dreaming - Cat Winters

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Genre: YA, historical fiction, supernatural
Published on October 14th, 2014
Published by Harry N. Abrams
Pages: 368
Read From: 12.12.14 - 12.12.14

On October 31, 1900, the mesmerizing Henri Reverie will perform his hypnotic feats. 
Stand when commanded! Speak when commanded! Think when commanded! 
Let Monsieur Reverie control your mind and who knows what you will see. . . . 
Olivia Mead's father wants to eliminate her rebellious thoughts. But the hypnotist he hires to stamp out her independence ends up giving her a gift: the ability to see people as they really are. 
Monsters. Victims. Madmen. Friends. 
Terrifying and enlightening, Olivia's visions tell her who is trustworthy and who is dangerous. But only she can find a way to make her mind her own again. 


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Coverly love!!! As one of my book friends like to say. I adore this cover! It's kind of weird, yeah, and I like In the Shadow of Blackbirds cover art a little better. But I do love this cover!!

Characters: Olivia Mead and I are soul sisters. Seriously, this girl is so much like me it's not even funny. She's got a lot of opinions and quite a bit of spunk, but Olivia is shy and therefore doesn't get around to expressing herself all that often - or doing the things she wants to do. The desire is there; the shyness holds her back. Girl, I hear you. So, so, loudly. Henri Reverie is a new Character Crush. Just - oh my gosh, can I have him as my brother?! Please?! He was so nice and sincere and caring - I want him in my life! And his sister Genevieve - oh, she was awesome! More sisters need to be like her! I absolutely hated Olivia's super chauvinistic, selfish, even cruel father (which you were supposed to), and I was suspicious of Percy the moment he entered the story. Kept getting little creepy vibes from him despite his supposed gallantry.

The Romance: Olivia and Henri's romance is one of my absolute favorite fictional couplings ever. They were so, so sweet and wonderful - I turned into a puddle of mushies reading about them. I do believe I set the book down several times to sigh appreciatively. The romance is fairly prominent in The Cure for Dreaming, but it isn't overwhelming, nor is it the book's main focus.

Plot: Olivia Mead is a shy, quiet girl, but she's also a girl with opinions. And those opinions take on a decidedly unladylike fashion that her father, the renowned dentist Dr. Mead, is determined to cure her of. When Henri Reverie, a French-Canadian hypnotist, arrives in town, Dr. Mead promises to pay him if he will erase suffragist ideas from Olivia's mind, and turn her into an obedient, docile young lady. But Henri instead gives Olivia an unimaginable gift - or curse, depending on how you look at it. Olivia can now see people as they truly are. Monsters, wraiths, beautiful angels, madmen. Olivia wants the gift taken away, but Henri has his own motivations for doing what he's done. And he won't take anything back until he's gotten what he needs. While not quite as dark as In the Shadow of Blackbirds, there is the same distinct Gothic feel to this book, and it's awesome. I fell in love with Olivia's world as much as Mary Shelley's in In the Shadow of Blackbirds. The plot is pretty quick and not horribly complicated, but it feels so much bigger than it actually is. And the whole concept - Olivia being able to see everyone's true nature - was creepy and awesome and intriguing. I flew through this book in a single day - not just because I was finally over my reading slump, but because I wanted to know what would happen next!

Believability: The Author presents the suffragette movement and prevailing female attitude very historically, fairly, and honestly. It didn't feel like the Author was using it as a way to shove feminist silliness down her Readers' throats. It came across as very heartfelt for the characters and true. Having studied this era a lot myself, I also know it to be true.

Writing Style: First person, past tense. I love Cat Winters' writing style. It fits whatever era she's writing about, and it captures the Gothic horror feel and ambiance so, so well. It's no different in The Cure for Dreaming than it was in In the Shadow of Blackbirds.

Content: None.

Conclusion: The ending, I'll admit, was a little bit bittersweet for me, but it also worked really well. It was one of the sort-of open endings that I both love and hate at the same time. The more demanding side of me wants something much more conclusive and satisfactory - perhaps with a bow on top - but the writer side of me appreciates the ending for what it is. The Cure for Dreaming isn't as dark as In the Shadow of Blackbirds. It didn't leave me feeling disturbed. But it toyed with another awesome supernatural concept, the characters were wonderful, the romance even more so, and I just loved it.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, sixteen-and-up, fans of more bizarre historical fiction.

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