Cover Image: A Multitude of Dreams

A Multitude of Dreams

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

What a bloody good book! I’ve loved all of Mara’s books; her writing is just so easy to read and as usual, I devoured this in a day. This is a dark and gothic take on Masque of the Red Death with some bloody twists and surprises. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say I definitely enjoyed the direction this story took. It’s atmospheric, and the tension and action in the end are so high!
The romance isn’t given as much screen time as her other books, but everyone is kind of fighting for survival. This is probably my favorite thing Mara has written since Crown of Coral and Pearl (which I really loved). Definitely recommend for a quick, engaging, and darker YA read.
Also, this is definitely a book where you should read the author's note as it adds a lot of thoughtful context to some of the narrative choices.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for an advanced copy to review. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Taken from Poe's, The Masque of the Red Death, a plague has struck and the king has sequestered himself and all of his household within the walls of his keep. Unfortunately the plague has been going on for four years, no one is allowed outside, and the food is running out.

What I liked
- vampires, but not the boyfriend kind. The kind that are actually dangerous, and aren't pretending otherwise.
- the Jewish representation was interesting. I think it's important not to gloss over or make little of the atrocities of history, so as not to repeat them. It added some good perspective.

What I think could have been better
- I didn't connect with any of the characters. They were mediocre to boring, and I didn't find that any of them held much conviction. They all seemed pretty shallow, cowardly, and wishy-washy.
- I wanted to see higher stakes. Especially in a gothic vampire novel. There were so many missed opportunities to write great conflict, and heart hammering suspense. Especially when in the Poe story, everyone is dead at the end. I sort of wished as a twist one of the beloved characters got turned and went on a killing spree.
- conflict resolutions seemed to be reached fairly conveniently without a whole lot of risk involved.

Side Note:
I'm not sure if this was supposed to be inspired by The Masque of the Red Death by Poe, or a retelling. As "inspired by" it was fine, but as a retelling it was mediocre at best. I really felt robbed of all the dancing and the different colored rooms.

I have loved Mara Rutherford's writing in the past, but this one didn't seem to be her strongest storytelling. I will still continue to look forward to her writing in the future.

Thank you to the publisher for sending a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

A bloody plague has swept through the kingdom, killing almost all it touches and leaving others permanently changed. To escape the wrath of death, the nobility hide away in their castle, hosting parties and barring the gates to pretend like the world hasn’t changed. Enter Imogen, a girl who is forced to pretend to be the dead princess to appease the will of a mad king. Nico, a survivor of the plague, is sent by his mysterious master to infiltrate the castle and find survivors. Full of gothic imagery, bloody parties, and a court of twisting lies, A Multitude of Dreams by Mara Rutherford captures the spirit of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Masque of Red Death” while giving it a YA spin.

I wanted to love this novel so much more than I did. I loved the idea behind this story. Mixing Jewish culture and history with a famous horror story and adding in a court setting and a mystery had lots of potential. Yet the book felt very elementary. None of the characters were fully developed and the plot was baseline: there was no complexity. While I understand that there is often a lack of complexity in YA, a simple story with a simple plot and simple character is difficult to get invested in. There was little reason to care about most of the characters and the dialogue was flat in the best of times.

Nico and Imogen were fine on their own, but there was no character development and any relationship between them felt forced. Just because two characters are the main POVs does NOT mean they need to end up together, and especially here, I’m of the opinion that they would have been better off as friends. Additionally, worldbuilding is held together with threads at best. Supposedly, the castle has been fully stocked with food that never spoils for years, meaning people must go in and out of the castle. Yet the highly contagious disease that transmits through unknown means never makes its way to the nobles. Convenient? I think so.

I hate that I didn’t love this book because Rutherford’s Crown of Coral and Pearls is one of my favorite beach reads. Her debut has the atmosphere and complex villain that A Multitude of Dreams so clearly lacks, and I wish the wonder behind that story had translated into this one. Everything that happens in this novel---from the plot to the relationships---is just too convenient. I recognize that suspension of disbelief is necessary for stories to succeed, but having an in-universe reason for certain events was needed. In short, I was promised a story filled with bloody opulence and gothic splendor and instead received a stereotypical YA novel that could have been set anywhere.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely loved this book! The main themes are that of an Edgar Allan Poe-esque story that also has Jewish representation. Even the conflict involving the Mori Roja is very different from any other book I have read. I must say that I have not read the Mask of Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, but this book makes me want to go and read it.
The imagery of this story is beautiful. I did feel bad for the main character for having to be separated from everyone else in the castle. But, it also made it to where the main character could really rely on herself, but also having the need to be able to rely on others.
5 out of 5 stars- would definitely recommend.

Was this review helpful?

Undoubtedly one of the wildest rides I've ever been on book-wise. I thought I knew where it was going but I was pleasantly surprised.

Was this review helpful?

This is going in my top reads of the year, and will definitely be a reread for me. I really loved Nico and his growth into a leadership role, while also struggling with guilt and putting past mistakes behind him. Seraphina, too, has a lot of guilt for what she didn't do, even though she wasn't given a choice. I really loved them coming to terms with their pasts while trying to make a future not just for themselves but for everyone in the castle. Colin, Jocelyn, and Lord Greymont were also great characters who had growth of their own, and I liked seeing all the characters working together.

Was this review helpful?

Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub Date: Sep 26
POV: 3rd Limited
This book is a difficult one to review, because a major plot point isn’t mentioned at all in the synopsis, however many other reviews have mentioned it without spoiler warnings. I will not be mentioning it in this review, therefore it may sound vague.

A Multitude of Dreams is a YA High Fantasy that draws in religions and plagues from our own world, while also drawing inspiration from The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe. While I enjoyed the plot, the world building had some holes and I didn’t become attached to the characters.

As mentioned above, there’s a plot aspect that I was not expecting at all, but I thought it was introduced absolutely amazingly. When it hit me, I truly gasped out loud and felt dumb for not seeing it sooner. Some other reviewers didn’t enjoy the book purely due to this, but if you go in with an open mind, it really was done well.

I adored the setting in this novel. Most of the story takes place in a castle where the occupants have been quarantined for 4 years. It’s filled with eerie empty rooms, mysterious passageways, and lonely towers making this the perfect novel to read on a stormy night.

If you picked up this book purely for the Poe reference, you might not enjoy it as much. While I do believe this book had a wonderful spooky vibe, the Poe references were pretty much over about 35% into the story.

The world building didn’t feel complete. It felt like a lot of important aspects were never acknowledged, and the ending of the story felt rushed and left me with a lot of questions.

When it comes to the characters, I did enjoy them and they felt relatable, but I didn’t ever get attached to them or their well-being. There was just something missing to make me truly care.

Overall, if you’re looking for a fun spooky fantasy story, I think you’ll enjoy this. However, if you’re a stickler about sound world building, you may want to look elsewhere.

Thank you to NetGalley, Inkyard Press, and Mara Rutherford for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This author is TALENTED. As the story progresses a sense of dread and unease grips the characters as well as the reader - despite it not being in first tense. Descriptions of actions, emotions and characters were vivid, I could imagine what was happening throughout. 🤩
I look forward to any Mara Rutherford books in the future! ✨

Was this review helpful?

This book is a retelling of an old Poe tale, and it certainly shows. I loved the slowly creeping horror that comprised the first half of the book. It had the perfect eerie feeling of "something isn't right here" as I watched the characters slip closer and closer to an abyss none of them could see. The second half of the book was faster and more direct, which created a sense of urgency that I think worked well.. Relationships and character development felt a little rushed in the second half, but I did enjoy the ending, and felt that the story had a good resolution that wasn't too happy or too sad.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. Great for readers who enjoy gothic fantasy like Belladonna or Lakesedge.

Was this review helpful?

A Multitude of Dreams is a book that will captivate you from the very first chapter and keep you hooked the whole time you are reading.

In the aftermath of a deadly plague, the story follows Princess Imogen and Nico Mott, two people who could not be more different, and yet they come together at the most crucial time. With deadly secrets and monsters looming over the castle, the princess and Nico will need to trust each other and survive.

For me, this story was about survival and what it means to forgive yourself and your past, and figure out your future.

“Survivor's guilt was the price you paid for living, and sometimes the cost was too high.”

I loved not only Imogen and Nico, but also all the side characters, but especially Colin and Jaqueline, and Henry. I really enjoyed all the plot twists and how the story came together, it kept me guessing the whole time.

The pace of the book was what I expected for a standalone fantasy, but I wished we could learn even more about the mori roja and what the world will look like going forward. I also wish there could have been some more moments between Nico and Imogen.

“The thought of losing you is like a knife in my heart, but if you ever feel like my presence would make you unhappy, I’ll go. I’ll let you face your battles alone, if that’s what you need.”

I highly recommend this book if you like darker fantasy, with romance, friendship, and a happy ending.

Thank you, Inkyard Press and NetGalley, for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Anything this author writes is pure magic. I enjoyed the character and the vibe of the whole story. I love the darkness of it. I would highly recommend anything this author writes.
10/10 perfectly written.

Was this review helpful?

Full review to come. I adored this story and the Edgar Allan Poe vibes. It started off slow but definitely picked up. I loved Mara's take on vampires even if I was a bit lost in the beginning with how she broke down the lore. It is definitely a very unique premise. And while I am not Jewish, I truly did appreciate the representation, especially in a fantasy story.

Was this review helpful?

A Multitude of dreams is a dual pov story between Seraphina and Nico, both impacted by the deadly plague that wiped off most of their town, and face the remnants of what the plague has left behind.

I can't speak on the Jewish rep as I'm not Jewish. I appreciated having it in the book though, and the perspective of being Jewish especially in relation to a plague as is the premise of this book. Especially knowing now that Jewish people were often blamed for plagues, that was a pretty new insight for me.

The vampire twist was a bit left field especially since the book's description doesn't mention anything supernatural, and the science seemed like there were some liberties taken in terms of how to make immaculates (people who aren't immune but avoided the plague) gain immunity. But honestly I didn't mind the vamps and was just along for the ride. I think the author even mentions in her acknowledgements that she took some liberties with the science, and although I would have liked some more accuracy, her making it known that it's not the most accurate is not the worst thing in the world for me.

Seraphina was a character I empathized with a lot and Nico was admirable in his desire to help people. Colin and Jocelyn were also such lovely friends and Henry was a surprise addition to the group of characters that I love in the book. Despite the grim and dark setting, it's hard to not enjoy the story especially with such awesome characters and loyal friendships.

Was this review helpful?

This was a genuinely fantastic and horrifying read. I fully enjoyed it and was completely engrossed in the story. A plague, a princess, and a horrifying mystery.

I actually couldn’t put it down and would highly recommend this novel.

Was this review helpful?

So, I loved this this book. It was filled with suspense and mystery. A Multitude of Dreams starts out by slowly revealing secrets about the main characters and the plague, and the last 1/3 of the book is almost non stop action as answers to a lot of questions are revealed, and then the main conflict happens between the antagonists and protagonists. I do wish that the romance between the main two characters had been fleshed out a bit more. I loved the development of their friendship, but their love felt too rushed to be real, or maybe it was a realistic portrayal of the desperation the two felt towards the end at actually making it through the main conflict. I'm not sure. I really hope there is a book two. I feel like there is so much more to explore in this world. A Multitude of Dreams did a good job at portraying Jewish people in a fictional world. Another reason I am hoping for a book two is so the FMC can reclaim some of her Jewish heritage. So much was robbed from her, and I want to see her truly thrive after her ordeal in this book.

Was this review helpful?

If Mara Rutherford writes it, I'm going to read it and love it, and A Multitude of Dreams was no different.

I really loved this story! I had such a hard time not rushing through this book, I was so engrossed in the story from the jump. I really enjoyed the gothic royal vibes this book was giving, especially during the ball, and could easily imagine everyone's costumes.

I also appreciated how Rutherford incorporated the Jewish religion into the story, I don't know much about Jewish culture and what they went through, so it was very interesting to read about.

Was this review helpful?

Tense, mysterious, and atmospheric, A Multitude of Dreams drew me in from the very beginning!

A plague has swept the kingdom, and survivors believe up to 3/4 of the population has died. Those who have survived are either immune - marked by branching lines on their wrists - or immaculate - having hidden themselves away for the years the plague has ravaged the land.
Princess Imogen has been locked away with her family and several hundred nobles, her father slowly descending into madness and everyone too afraid to even mention the plague. But food supplies are running out, and Imogen has a secret of her own she is terrified the King might one day discover.
Nico is the sole survivor from his half-noble family. Taken in by a local Lord, he is grateful to be alive and have a small community in their new and terrifying world. However when Lord Crane sends Nico and several others to search for survivors, they begin to suspect all is not as it appears.
As the two find themselves thrust together, their chances of survival - and that of everyone they care for - suddenly seem uncertain.

I was immediately taken with both of our MCs, Imogen and Nico have had entirely different experiences of the plague, and yet they are both haunted by surviving when those they love have not. Their characterisation was fantastic, and they felt very real and rounded to me. Their relationships with other characters were similarly believable, and I liked that despite there being limited survivors they both still had people they were less than fond of b

The plot was fast paced and quick to get started. Almost immediately we were faced with several mysteries to unravel and dilemmas which had to be resolved. This meant the story was interesting from the off, and remained so as the novel progressed.

The various settings were atmospheric and vivid. I loved the contrast between the castle where Imogen and the nobles were holed up and the outside world Nico and his group were exploring. Similarly, I liked the disparity in their attitudes to their new world - where Imogen and the others have not been exposed to the plague and are hoping to find out whether it has passed, Nico and his group are immune and thus know they have nothing to fear even if the Mori Roja were still around.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed A Multitude of Dreams. It was a quick, compelling read which I didn’t want to put down, and I will absolutely read more books by Mara Rutherford in the future.

Was this review helpful?

This YA gothic romance inspired by Poe’s ‘Masque of the Red Death’ is a fast, enjoyable read - and its late September release will make it a perfect addition to spooky October TBRs. This is especially perfect if you’re looking for something with a creepy atmosphere but don’t want extreme gore or horror, since this maintains a YA feel in the writing style as well as with both the gothic/gore content and the romance (which is mostly very sweet and innocent so perfectly appropriate for older teens, one very mild spice scene but it’s mostly off page).

The story flows well and the pacing was just right, it never felt rushed or like it was puttering around needlessly. I found Seraphina and Nico to both be really likeable, though Jocelyn was probably my favorite out of everyone and I really loved the bond between her and Seraphina. I thought the story was an interesting take on Poe’s original and overall another great story from Mara…I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

Was this review helpful?

My fifth book by Mara Rutherford! I love how similar, but different all of her novels are!
What you can find in this book:
- court intrigue
- Jewish rep
- vampires
- royalty
- secret identities

I love court politics and royalty in general, so following the princesses in the castle has been really fun for me. The two plotlines merged really well and I appreciated that both were given enough room to be explored on their own before they joined together. The world sucked me right in, and I would love to explore more of it, to see how the plague affected other realms. I loved how the plague and the vampires were explored and eventually brought together, I really didn't saw it coming. In here, they really are the bad guys, not enchanting at all. As for the romance, I think it worked really well within the story, and it was kind of in the background for the most part until the end, but there were hints and it did have a big influence on the story!

Thank you again for the opportunity to read and review this early! Be on the lookout in September for a prefect seasonal read!

Was this review helpful?

A Multitude of Dreams by Mara Rutherford
Publication Date: September 26, 2023

Princess Imogen has been locked away for years in a castle along with all the other nobles and servants as a result of the mad king’s orders. A plague moved through the Kingdom decimating the population not lucky enough to have been locked in the castle. What the castle inhabitants don’t know is that the plague is mostly over and survivors are starting to come out of hiding. The question being how exactly did they survive? And what does this mean for the castle’s inhabitants?

I thought this book was about a deadly illness (which if I’m being entirely honest still feels too soon to be reading about) and the political fallouts set in a fantastical world. *Here comes the spoilers* What I wasn’t prepared for was the vampires. It was at that point that book just fell apart for me. I was prepared for political maneuvering and maybe some romance. I was not prepared for bloodsucking, bloodthirsty creatures. On the bright side, at least these ones didn’t sparkle?

There were also just a ton of plotholes and again *here comes the spoilers.* How did NO ONE realize she wasn’t Imogen? Not one person threatened to reveal the truth to gain standing?! What kind of court is this?! If the plague was a great equaliser, why was Nico acting as a servant to a person who saved him? Were the other kingdoms also affected by this plague? Do they also have vampires? Why did no one ever correspond about this issue? Why would a foreign prince agree to enter a territory they knew to be affected by a plague? Surely Imogen would have had to go to him?

Imogen was also unremarkable. She had no standout characters. She didn’t possess any special abilities. The fact that she would run head first at danger and get mad when she left behind resulted in my frustration over her nativity.

The book briefly touches on the treatment of Jews during the outbreak of the plague (how they were blamed for it and what happened to them as a result). The main female character is also Jewish. There was too much going on in the book and I don’t think it appropriately handled the topic. It just didn’t feel right to me that antisemitism was being used as a plot device without any real exploration into the matter. Perhaps if this hadn’t ventured into vampire territory it could have been more meaningful but there was just too much going on.

Thank you to Inkyard Press for providing an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?