Cover Image: A Multitude of Dreams

A Multitude of Dreams

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Member Reviews

I thought that the idea for this book was really, really interesting, but the execution was a bit strange. I really wish that the author had made a fantasy religion, to go with her fantasy world, which could allude to Jewish people and their struggles. But having Jewish people in a non-Earth fantasy world was kind of weird? There was also no explanation or "lore" given for their existence or why they were confined to their own quarters *before* the onset of the plague? I stopped about halfway in, so maybe it is explained in more detail, but yeah I don't know. I just think having Jewish people in this story (a fantasy story not set in our Earthen reality) there needed to be more exposition there. The world just feels sort of incongruous and lacking a bit of logical flow. I think that we either needed an in-world explanation and world-building for the Jewish people or there needed to be a fantasy culture, which could allude to Jewish people, that fit in logically with the world. It felt like the author was like "everybody knows the present and historical struggles of this cultural group, I don't need to explain it that fully", but that makes no sense in a fantasy world.
I almost wish this was a historical fantasy, set in *our* world/Earth, instead of a fantasy in a secondary world (with just Jews and not any other cultural groups).
I also wasn't a huge fan of the characters. Nico was just kind of one-note--a little boring . Imogen was okay but she just wasn't supported by the world-building at all, which made her fall a bit flat.
Regardless, there could have at least been a really interesting dissection of antisemitism and this strange plague and mysterious castle, but then the vampires show up. Don't get me wrong, I love vampires and what they can bring to a story, but this just didn't work here. The story was set up pretty well, and I was relatively interested to see where we were going next, and after the vampires I just couldn't suspend my belief any longer and really dig into the story.

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Thank you to Net Galley for an ARC of this book due to be released in Sept. 2023. Absolutely loved this book! Love the cover of the book which sucked me in, the very first chapter and every moment all the way to the end! Love that it was intertwined with the Black Death, Edgar Allen Poe, well developed characters, a castle, romance and vampires. I was sucked into a fantasy world that I was sad to leave when it ended! I will definitely be watching for more from Mara Rutherford!

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Delightfully twisty and gothic! I liked Rutherford's characters and setting--at once both foreign and all-too similar to those early lockdown days. I appreciated having a Jewish character as the main protagonist, and having that faith and life experience be an integral part of who she is.

Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for the ebook ARC. All opinions are mine alone.

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I want to die as me.

Thanks to netgalley, Inkyard press and Mara Rurtherford for giving me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

This is Seraphina’s story, a girl who lives at Eldridge Hall, a castle built on lies. Some years ago the Mori Roja attacked and a lot of people died, but the Mad King closed the castle's doors and now, almost four years after the plague, at Elridge Hall people are running out of food, so some of the nobles are trying to escape. In the meantime, Nicodemus Mott, Nico for his friends, lives under Lord Crane’s protection and works as a grave digger there. He and his friends have a task, to know if someone is alive inside the walls of Eldridge Hall. But oh surprise! There’s more, in the woods there are reborn people craving immaculate blood, AKA people who never faced the Mori Roja. These reborn as you maybe are figuring out are vampires, and here is when I stop writing.

Quick opinion, I loved this book. This story is a retelling of The masque of the red death by Edgar Allan Poe, who is one of my favorite gothic authors, and this book took every good detail of this story and turns them into something amazing. This book is creepy, it has an amazing story line, here are lies, complots, political intrigue, religious discrimination, vampires... I couldn’t ask for more.

The characters were amazing, I loved Seraphina a lot, she is such a brave woman, she faced a lot of things, she lives with a mask and the weight of it is super heavy, but she did amazing during the book. Nico, on the other side, was curious, as brave as Seraphina, and his love for saving people was one of the best things of him. I love them. But I wanted more of them together, I wanted a little more of their relationship.

But besides that little detail, A multitude of dreams is a standalone that catches the reader very quickly, approx at the end of the first chapter you want to know what the hell will happen and how these people are gonna play their cards inside this castle. And that’s the reason I gave it 4.5 stars.

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This was a fairly quick and interesting take on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death! So naturally I had to do a reread of The Masque of the Red Death as well. This retelling turned out to be just as morbid with a more fantastical side note that I enjoyed.

The story takes place during a time after the plague ran rampant. The king has barricaded all the nobles in his castle while the rest of the world dies. While the nobles live well off with masquerade balls and no worries, after 4 years time, supplies begin to dwindle. It alternates between 2 perspectives; Princess Imogen locked away in the castle and Nicodemus “Nico” Mott locked outside of the castle. The writing was well done and cohesive with Poe’s and I really enjoyed the whole story. While the first half of the book was rather slow and not much happened at all, reminiscent of an uneventful historical fiction piece, the second half of the book become much more interesting. There were still no wild twists but this was a unique retelling of The Masque of the Red Death with a fantasy aspect that was quite interesting. The characters were well executed I think as well and I especially enjoyed the Jewish representation that was incorporated. Overall an enjoyable YA fantasy with the gothic vibe.

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Mara is a fantastic and vivid storyteller. This book pulled me in from the very beginning and on the edge of my seat. I didn't realize I was reading a vampire book at first but was so very pleased that was what it turned into.

I have never read the Edgar Allen Poe story that influenced this but I have lived through a "plague" and it makes parts of this story more vivid.

This was an imaginative story brought to life so vibrantly by the authors words that I felt part of the it.

I would have loved more story developement for Nico & Seraphina but the way it was left off maybe there is more to come? Otherwise, there is nothing about this book that I did not enjoy. It was an incredible read.

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I really enjoyed this book. It has dark gothic vibes and is very fast-paced. I was able to read it quickly and never felt bored. It has the main character living a trapped life. She does come into herself through the novel and becomes more independent which I loved, even if she doesn't always make the cleverest choices. This book does have a romance but it is a side plot and not that substantial, though I do like the couple.

My only issue would be that I don't love it when characters make some not so well thought out choices. Like in scary movies going out alone and investigating something when they should have just said "nope."

The book does deal with the ramifications of a plague and being locked away from the world. It is different from what we just went through, but if you are still struggling with the ramifications of our recent pandemic, I would pause on this one.

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With such an idea for a plot like this book has, you'd think this would work wonderfully, but the book ends up shooting itself in the foot with the introduction of a plot element that totally strips the seriousness off of the story for me.

Weaving historical antisemitism into fantasy isn't a new idea, Naomi Novik did it in "Spinning Silver," and she's not the only one. In this book, Mara Rutherford takes the sad historical fact of Jews being accused of causing and spreading plagues during the Middle Ages and harshly scapegoated for it whenever there was an outbreak, and uses it to create a world ravaged by the Bloody Plague, a terrible disease that has exterminated a great chunk of the population. Sheltered in a castle and one of the few survivors left, the princess of Goslind wants out and wants free, but she's hiding a weighty secret: she isn't really Imogen, she's a Jewish impostor masquerading as the princess. She soon meets Nico, a vassal of the sinister Lord Crane, who has plans of his own that involve Goslind and the plague survivors, and the two have to team up to survive the disastrous aftermath of the plague and the new threat that looms large over the survivors whilst dealing with the issues brought about by their secret identities.

Put like that, it sounds intriguing, dark, gritty, and gloomy, right? The perfect Gothic, you'd think.

And then it all goes up in the air when to this intriguing set-up based on medieval plagues and antisemitism you bring in . . . vampires. Prissy vampires that aren't harmed by sunlight, to boot.

At that, any pretence of respectability and seriousness just flew away for me. I couldn't take the story or the characters seriously after such a reveal. What a sad way to sabotage your own story, I thought. And don't even get me started on the incongruousness and lack of logic of this world, which isn't Earth as we know it and isn't History as we know it, but somehow has Jews, a people from our Earth and our History. This type of taking a real event/person/people to a fantastical world where only they exist as if in a vacuum is, to me, like taking a tank to a non-industrial planet where there is no technology, no electricity, no tank fuel, no gunpowder, and pretend it still runs and fights and fires its cannon.

Some things demand too much suspension of disbelief for my poor mind, that refuses to comply and do the gymnastics necessary to accept plots like A Multitude of Dreams, so this book failed miserably for me in the credibility aspect. The characters didn't compensate either, Nico is boring, and Imogen could've been so much more if this world wasn't so underdone and implausible. The blurb says it's a retelling of a Poe story, which I can't analyse because I've not read it, but if the intention was "Jewish representation" and to use antisemitism as a strong plot point, it would've been much better, plausible, and conveyed the message much better if this had been a historical fantasy in our real world instead of pure fantasy in a secondary world with just Jews and not the rest, and definitely no vampires.

At least the cover is gorgeous...

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I have not read a Mara Rutheford book that I did not enjoy, and as of now, the only one I have yet to read is the Poison Season.

I enjoyed this retelling of the Red Masque of Death. I would say that it’s a little slow in the beginning, but I got more into it after our two main characters finally come face to face.

The FMC, Serephina, is a girl who’s been trapped by circumstance, but longs for freedom and the people she left behind. She made for a compelling character, and a believable representation of survivors guilt even when things are out of our control.

Nico is someone who is really not special in any way, and honestly that’s the good thing about him. He’s not a prince, or a soldier, or a king. He’s someone who has almost nothing left, and still chooses to do the right thing. He’s undaunted by the odds when it comes to those he cares about, and that’s what makes him so likable.

I do feel like the story could’ve made for a good duology or even trilogy. I found myself wanting more at the end, and feeling like we didn’t get a good enough conclusion to the story since realistically the circumstances were still decently dire at the end.

I would still say it’s a solid 4 star read!

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I truly don’t know how to describe my feelings for this book. It was… fine? From the blurb and review from one of my beloved authors (Erin Craig), I had high anticipation for something eerie and maybe slightly gory? (Think Belladonna or Gallant). This book just didn’t deliver. The introduction and exposition were painfully slow, and I was hoping that the Jewish people, as a whole, would have a bigger role to play in the plot.
By the 70% mark, I just wanted this to be over and I didn’t feel attached to any of the characters or care what ended up happening.
Three stars overall because I feel generous and I managed to finish it without a DNF.

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What I loved
-The commoner forced to pretend they are royalty trope
-exceptionally atmospheric writing
-well executed fantastical elements
What didn't work as well for me
-Slight information overload in the first 3 or so chapters as the author is bringing the kingdom to life for the reader
-oddly modern phrases kept popping up in places that distracted from the story.

Who I would recommend this book for
Fans of gothic fantasy who enjoyed Poe's The Masque of the Red Death. and are ready for a story that expands on the premise of nobility hiding from disease while adding vampires to the mix are going to have a good time with this story.

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I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Thank you NetGalley for this review copy.

This book started off very slow but once it got going it sucked me in. The author did a great job at building a spooky, gothic world. The story was full of anticipation and yet subtle with its eerie reflection of Poe's work.
I feel like it's going to be one of those books that I'm going to have to sit and think about how I'm feeling for a while.

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Mara Rutherford provide beautifully crafted descriptions that made you feel as if you were watching the story unfold in front of your eyes. If you want a book with an amazing plot and a world to make you forget you are reading, this is the one. It brought me out of my reading slump and left me wishing for more content.

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A Multitude of Dreams by Mara Rutherford is a stunning YA gothic masterpiece!
This was an intriguing, picturesque, atmospheric, and unpredictable story.
The writing was exquisite; the detail exquisite. I was swept away by the writing of this book.
Well written, great premise and interesting characters Rutherford created a deliciously and utterly captivating scene.
Mara Rutherford drew me in from the very first page and sucked me into a new world I didn’t want to escape from.

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

Thank You NetGalley and Inkyard Press for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

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I received a free e-arc from NetGalley. These opinions are my own.

The book has a good outline for the plot but lacked execution. The blurb caught my attention but I got bored and could follow the plot by skimming the book and still understood was going on. The characters fell flat to me and nothing ever stood out or was super exciting. I loved the authors other work Poison Season but the eery vibe and gothic feel was meh and the plot twist was lack luster. Just a meh read.

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A gothic, YA story involving plagues, corruption, madness, and vampires.

My favorite thing about this book was probably the setting - love the gothic castle vibe. I also loved that it took place in the aftermath of the plague instead of the beginning or middle. You got a feel for the devastation and chaos something like that would bring.

The love interests complement each other well, and I like that Seraphina is not afraid to go after what she wants. I could have used more romance time between the characters - felt a bit rushed. I'd probably go 5 stars if not for that. Also had a bit too much of the "not like other girls" trope.

I had no idea going in that this was a nod to The Masque of the Red Death, but I think it did a good job. It was also cool to have that history of antisemitism related to plagues in there.

All in all, a good book that I'd recommend to vampire and gothic YA lovers.

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{AD|GIFTED} [4.5 stars] After reading and loving The Poison Season I became part of Mara Rutherford's street team aimed at sharing news about and hyping her upcoming books. As such, I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of A MULTITUDE OF DREAMS, a retelling of Poe's The Masque of the Red Death.

This is a loose retelling as the source material is so short but all the main elements are there - a plague, nobility hiding in a castle from this plague, and a masquerade ball that takes place in rooms all decorated a different colour. The author though has expanded on this and fleshed out the story by exploring the world outside the castle and the devastating effects of the plague, as well as life inside the castle. She's even added zombie vampires to the mix who hunger for the blood of Immaculates (those rare people who have never contracted the plague).

Told in a dual POV, the story alternates between Princess Imogen, living in the boarded-up and reclusive castle, and Nico Mott, a survivor of the plague who is sent to see if any people remain alive in the castle after the plague seems to have passed. I loved the Jewish representation which is a central aspect of the book. The author touches on how Jewish communities have so often been unfairly blamed for tragedies such as the Black Death. The trauma of survivor's guilt and its wide-reaching consequences is another well-written aspect.

I had a couple of small niggles that knocked off half a star but nothing major. One was that a rare couple of modern phrases jarred me out of the reading experience. The other was the reveal that women zombie vampires tended not to live very long as they refused to drink human blood. I felt this perpetuated the gender stereotype of women as caring and nurturing whilst men were unable to stop themselves from succumbing to their hunger.

Overall, though, this was a sumptuous Gothic retelling, drenched in dread and tension.

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Firstly I’d like to thank Mara, Inkyard and NetGalley for the arc 🥰❤️

A Multitude of Dreams tells the story of a land that has been ravaged by the terrible Mori Roja plague, a plague that is so horrible it leaves complete devastation in its wake. There are hardly any survivors and those that do try there very best not to venture out.

Nico Mott, who once lived a comfortable life as a butchers son, now lives with a few immune in a safe house with his master, Lord Crane. Cranes house is run tightly but fairly until they have an unusual visitor who confuses the house. When newcomer Elisabeth arrives Crane’s demeanour changes and she quickly disappears. Nico becomes determined to find out what happened to Miss Talbot and when Crane sends Nico and 2 others out to find other plague survivors in the castle not only does Nico get the opportunity but he also finds much more than he bargained for…

Princess Imogen is not quite who she claims to be. After the real (and king’s favourite) princess passed away from the plague Seraphina was scouted as a replacement for her. Seraphina now finds herself masquerading as Imogen when she, in reality, she is really a Jew, the people who they had been persecuting. For 3 years they has been shut up in the castle together slowly running out of food and people are getting desperate, angry and starting to leave.

When Nico arrives at the castle he immediately finds out that Princess Imogen is stronger and feistier that she looks and that the situation there is definitely not want he thought it would be. And Seraphina and her friends learn that there are far, far worst things outside the castle walls to be afraid of and they’re very, very hungry…🩸🩸

Seraphina is such a brilliant character, she’s so strong and tenderhearted. She was taken from her family and plucked to be a princess and just had to get on with it and the fact she is surrounded by bigots makes her even more special and dynamic. She’s strong willed and knows what she wants and is always hatching plans and she’s the perfect MC. ❤️❤️ Nico completes her amazingly with his level and scientific head (and the amount of blushing as well 🥰😏). I love them both so so much!!

I ADORED THIS BOOK!! 😍😍 I’ve tried to be vague as much as I can as I really don’t want to ruin anything for anyone but it’s so so brilliant, so dark and so gothic!! I love it!! Please add it to your TBR now!! 5✨

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I felt that it was extremely boring. Its setup in a dual POV storyline. Typically when that happens I like the female POV way more. Not the case with this one. I liked Nico way more. I don't think I would recommend this to a friend. Sorry.

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The beginning is a bit shaky. Lots of info dumping and repetition in the first 3 chapters, which is a shame because the premise of A Multitude of Dreams is compelling, but there’s hardly any chase when so much is revealed right away.
I imagine we will soon see a trend in books about plagues, quarantine, etc given the real life pandemic we’ve been living in for 3 years. Although you wouldn’t guess it from the beginning, this book has some fresh tales and commentary about it. I just wish the author would give readers the chance to explore this world on their one instead of info dumping and telling them exactly where to go.

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