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A Multitude of Dreams

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Member Reviews

I really liked this book. The plot was very fun and interesting. The characters were good and well written. Overall I really enjoyed it!
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!

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Poe retelling with a plague and a masquerade? YES PLEASE.

This book was slow starting, but once it sucks you in-you're in. Rutherford did a great job creating a spooky world, with fascinating characters. This gothic setting takes you on a journey through a duel POV with Nico and Princess Imogen/Seraphina leading the way through the aftermath of a plague. As rations start to disappear and the years-long charade of being kept safe in a castle starts to fall apart, Princess Imogen starts to make a plan to get out of the castle.
Meanwhile, Nico Mott has been working for Lord Crane, who may not seem like the generous man he appears to be, and once Nico figures it out, he has to warn everyone in the castle. But how does he get there knowing what 'things' lie in wait...
This story was full of anticipation and was subtle with its dashes of spooky and eerie that definitely reflects Poe's works.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for the eARC!

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A perfectly fine young adult fantasy

** Spoiler alert **

Mara Rutherford introduces /A Multitude of Dreams/ as follows:

<blockquote>Dear Reader,

/A Multitude of Dreams/ will be my fifth published novel, but it's a first for me in many ways. I wanted to play with the idea of an unconventional retelling -- in this case, Edgar Allen Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" -- and to include Jewish representation, an important part of my identity. As it turned out, a podcast about the Black Death provide me with the perfect opportunity to explore both.

I'm a fan of many of Poe's works, but "The Masque of the Red Death" has always been my favorite. I love the imagery of the colored rooms, the idea of nobles dancing at a masquerade ball while the world around them rots, and the final twist that reminds us that no one escapes death, not even princes. All of these things led me to write about a princess and a gravedigger, neither of whom is who they appear to be, and the bizarre circumstances that bring them together. And because this is a gothic fantasy, there needed to be monsters, too.

While researching plagues -- before I knew that I'd be living through one! -- I also discovered how Jews were historically blamed for many of them, and how they were slaughtered in pogroms as scapegoats. Seraphina, my reluctant princess, is misunderstood on so many levels, and her presence at Eldridge Hall forces the people around her to confront their differences, even as she confronts them herself. Most importantly, it provided the perfect opportunity to explore the ways in which we are all fundamentally, the same.

I hope you enjoy reading /A Multitude of Dreams/ as much as I loved writing it. Just be careful whom you trust, because nothing between these pages is as it seems.

All my best,

Mara*</blockquote>

So, there we have it -- a Poe retelling with a secretly Jewish princess shut up inside a castle while a deadly plague ravages the country around, and there are monsters, because, apparently, the gothic genre demands them (even though, aside from the plague itself, there are no monsters in Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death").

I have marked this review as a spoiler because I'm going to tell you that the monsters are vampires. (Why vampires, Ms Rutherford, why?) They are fairly conventional vampires, with some of the weird hang-ups that Bram Stoker bestowed on them (e.g. they can't enter a house without an invitation) but differing in others (while Ruthford's vampires prefer darkness, sunlight appears not to have lethal effects). In fact, the second half of /A Multitude of Dreams/ is a fairly conventional mortals vs vampires adventure. It's competently done, and I enjoyed it.

But I have one overall complaint. Rutherford issues a warning, which I took to be a promise, "nothing between these pages is as it seems"*. That promise was not kept. Everything in /A Multitude of dreams/ turned out to be exactly as it seemed to me.

I thank NetGalley and Inkyard Press for an advance reader copy of /A Multitude of Dreams/. This review expresses my honest opinions. Release date 26-Sep-2023.

*Quotes are from an advance reader copy, and may change upon publication. If so, this review will be corrected on the release date.

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A modern fairytale which kept me up at night reading!
Nothing is as it seems: the king's court, the princess herself, the prince, the plague, the plague survivors, the vampires... everyone has secrets to hide, and when they come out, their whole world is shattered and rebuilt, and rebuilt again! This story kept me guessing until the last page and I only wish we could spend more time in this world!

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LOVED!

This book is a beautifully written gothic retelling, with plagues and masquerades, multiple perspectives, princesses, and everything! The book begins with a plague, and Nico, who is immune. Throughout the book, you read about these amazing characters trying to survive this plague and come out on the other side!

i absolutely loved this read! thanks netgalley!

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I was really disappointed in this one. I loved the Crown of Coral and Pearl duology and The Poison Season, but this one lacked a lot of necessary context and worldbuilding in the same way that I thought Luminous did. For one thing, the premise was so cool. I really liked the idea of a court being walled up in a castle while a plague wreaks havoc on the outside world. But there was just very little substance when it came to either the plot or the characters.
The summary of this book refers to the female main character as Imogen, but the POV character from the very first page is referred to as Seraphina. It took me awhile to figure out that Seraphina was pretending to be Imogen. I also couldn't figure out the sisters: they abducted Seraphina from her family, one of them in particular treats her terribly, but they're all more or less getting along?
Nico doesn't meet Seraphina/Imogen until a third of the way through the book, even though it's obvious that the whole point is for him to break into the castle and fall in love with her. But both of them are contending with totally different love interests at the beginning of the book, which might have been fine were the book not on the shorter side. I didn't like what was going on from Nico's perspective. I honestly just didn't care, And I think the author could have leaned in more to the creepiness factor happening in the castle.

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I was graciously given an ARC copy of this book by Netgalley and Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review.

I have read all of Mara Rutherford books so far and have loved them. This one did not disappoint! I absolutely adore this book and the characters. I love how the main character is strong willed and has her own mind. In many YA books it feels the protagonist is just strung along the plot. I feel like she was driving it! I cannot wait for this book to come out.

The world building was phenomenal! I wish more books had sprinkled in the world instead of info dumping. It was definitely more gothic fiction. It has a darker undertone but I have been loving this style lately. I need this book in my hands now.

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Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC!

Started off strong on terms of the idea, but it felt very repetitive and one note. Characters felt very one dimensional and repeated themselves and their motives continually. Fun, but not my favorite.

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this was a really good! I liked the characters, and they were super well-developed. the plot was super cool and fun to read, and the writing was also smooth and easy to understand
highly recommend

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that description really drew me in and I'm so glad I read this, it worked well overall. Mara Rutherford has a great writing style that it did everything that I needed. The characters were wonderfully written and I thought the horror elements worked well. I can't wait to read more from Mara Rutherford as I enjoyed this.

"The king had been escorted to his chambers by Giselle, who mumbled soft, soothing platitudes and cast furious glances at Seraphina. Later, she had taken Seraphina roughly by her arm and dragged her up to her tower. She’d glanced around the cramped space, her mouth twisted in a sneer. “Even this is too good for you,” she spat, leaving Seraphina crying on her narrow bed."

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I feel like this is one of those books that I'm going to have to sit and think about how I feel. But overall I really enjoyed it!! It was so different. It was darker and a little bit creepy. I saw it was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and I can totally see it that. But it also had a very end of the world ,zombies vibe but add in some royalty plus false identities.

While the romance was definitely a very side small plot that took a while to get going I found myself still very hooked into the story. I was kind of surprised at how much I actually was enjoying it and found myself looking forward to reading more because it felt SO different. I think because it just felt so unique I didn't mind that it wasn't very romance heavy.

It has two POVs and I enjoyed both of them. The romance was cute but I felt like it was missing a little something but I was just still happy that it was there. I wish they had met sooner and that there had been a little bit more to it. But this was a very enjoyable book that was kind of creepy at times. If you're looking for something darker and a little different to read definitely give this a shot!!!

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A young princess naviagtes a deadly plague and a father lost to madness. Hoping to escape the locked castle, she is thrown off course by the arrival of a handsome stranger.

The writing was good and the locked castle and plague definitely provide for a gothic atmosphere. It all feels a bit claustrophobic as I'm sure the author intended. I don't think we needed as many characters though, the story would've benefitted from a focus on the romance or the plague alone.

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I was not entirely sure what I was getting into when I picked this book up, but the cover and description were enticing! It was not what I expected, but it did not disappoint. In the end, this book was probably a 3.5-star read for me!

I found the dual-character perspective very beneficial to the storyline, the effect would not have been the same without it. I can tell that Rutherford put a lot of time into making sure the characters' backstories aided the plot; the writing style really separated the two voices! The underlying themes of individuality versus collectivism explained the characters' interactions within the world, and, overall, I thought character-building was a strong aspect of the book!

The biggest flaw, for me, was the book was a bit slow-moving and lacking in world-building. Parts of it were a cyclical pattern that did not seem to benefit the plot in any way, while other parts seemed to throw you into the middle of a world you had little to no information about. It could be because I do not have the Poe background information, but I did struggle to see the full picture sometimes!

Overall, I am glad I read this book and was able to experience aspects of Judaism in the fantasy genre, as it is something with nowhere near enough representation. I loved following along with the characters and experiencing a darker fantasy. Rutherford has a beautiful and engaging writing style!

Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

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A gothic Poe retelling with a plague and a masquerade - I loved literally everything about this book!

Told through dual POV, the reader experiences the aftermath of a bloody plague in two distinctly different ways - through Princess Imogen whose father locked all the royalty and nobility away in Eldridge Hall to quarantine them from the illness, leaving the rest of the country to suffer - and through Nico, a gentleman turned servant who survived the plague due to his rare immunity and thanks to Lord Crane, a man who takes him in after his family perishes. Imogen’s and Nico’s stories align when Nico is sent on a quest to find survivors at Eldridge Hall. Together they learn surviving the plague was just the first challenge.

This book was beautifully written and I was immediately pulled into the world of Goslind. Both Imogen and Nico are extremely realistic and relatable characters and I enjoyed their POVs equally. I also really liked the ways in which the author incorporated her Jewish heritage - showing how they were both blamed for and disproportionately affected by the plague.

This story kept me on the edge of my seat - it’s subtly eery and full of suspense. Everyone’s got something to hide at Eldridge Hall. Mara Rutherford is an auto-buy author for me and this novel only further proves her versatility as a writer.

Thank you to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for the e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Access full content (sex, language, violence) review and a condensed version of my thoughts here: https://www.novelnotices.com/a-multitude-of-dreams//

Overall, this was a solid 3.5 star read.  I was expecting that, based on my past experiences with Mara Rutherford's works, but I still end up really enjoying her novels.  And the fact that this is a Poe retelling meant I had to read it.  I had some questions about the inner workings of the disease and some of the plot points, however I think Mara Rutherford writes well-rounded, developed and complex characters really well, and I love the character dynamics between her love interests.  Rutherford's writing is simple and easy to read, making for a quick-paced read.  

So, like I said, I really liked the two main characters, though they do seem to mirror the personalities of her past main characters.  The world-building was a little less fresh and developed as with The Poison Season, and I found some of the plot-points to be unbelievable or confusing.  Several times the characters made choices that left me wondering what possible reason they could have for doing so other than to follow along with the author's plot line.  There's a lot of telling rather than showing, which—along with the simplistic writing style—occasionally grates on my nerves.  The twist on the retelling was interesting and cool, but I wish it had been executed a little better.  I feel as if this is an early draft that still needs to work out the kinks.

One aspect of the book that I have no complaints about is the Jewish representation.  Yes, it is a fantasy world, but the author addresses her decision to add in the actual religion rather than substituting it for a fake one in the acknowledgments and I found myself entirely agreeing with her.

Lastly—and this is a personal thing—I really wish there had been more Poe references, or that the title and cover related more closely to the subject matter in the book.

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