About the Book:
Title: A Multitude of Dreams
Author: Mara Rutherford
Page Length: 384
Publication Date: Sept. 26, 2023
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Synopsis: The bloody plague is finally past, but what fresh horror lies in its wake?
Princess Imogen of Goslind has lived a sheltered life for three years at the boarded-up castle—she and the rest of its inhabitants safe from the bloody mori roja plague that’s ravaged the kingdom. But Princess Imogen has a secret, and as King Stuart descends further into madness, it’s at great risk of being revealed. Rations dwindle each day, and unhappy murmurings threaten to crack the facade of the years-long charade being played within the castle walls.
Nico Mott once enjoyed a comfortable life of status, but the plague took everyone and everything from him. If not for the generosity of a nearby lord, Nico may not have survived the mori roja’s aftermath. But does owing Lord Crane his life mean he owes him his silence?
When Lord Crane sends Nico to search for more plague survivors in the castle, Nico collides with a princess who wants to break out. They will each have to navigate the web of lies they’ve woven if they’re going to survive the nightmares that lie ahead.
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This story is basically Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death with vampires. I thought the premise was really interesting, and I loved that it was based on The Masque of the Red Death. The different colored rooms, the clock in the black room, the ever-present fear of death and the plague, and so many other little elements paid homage to the original short story, but the author put a unique and twisted spin on it.
I also liked the Gothic elements and Rutherford’s writing style, which is so vivid and captivating. It pulls you right into the story. The author also did a fabulous job of creating an eerie, ominous, and dangerous tone throughout the story. It kept the tension high. However, I wish there was a bit more world-building. It doesn’t go into a lot of detail about the religious prejudice and persecution, the pre-plague world, and even the current world they live in, and I would have liked more context.
Seraphina and Nico were compelling protagonists with interesting (and dangerous) journeys. . I enjoyed their ARCs and how their separate stories eventually merged. That’s when the story really started picking up. However, I was a bit surprised that both characters, and some others, didn’t pick up on what was going on sooner. It feels like they stuck their heads in the sand for a long time, which is not what I expected from either character.
The love triangle, which generally isn’t a trope I seek out, felt a bit forced, though it was pretty obvious who was going to end up together. That being said, I liked the story so much more once Nico and Seraphina met, especially considering how one-dimensional the other character is. Nico and Seraphina had a lovely connection, and I wanted more of that! I also wish some of the other secondary characters were less one-dimensional. I wanted to know more about Seraphina’s sisters, some of the people with them, Nico’s best friend, and even the antagonists.
Overall, this was an ok read for me with some interesting elements and a few parts that left me wanting more. Thanks to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The Poe references.
- The premise.
- The romance.
Life at Eldridge Hall was like a child’s wooden block tower, only the blocks were lies, the king was the child, and one wrong move didn’t just mean a few weepy minutes on a nursemaid’s knee. It meant death.
Hundreds of men and women, hundreds of different opinions and expectations, a multitude of dreams and nightmares… All waiting for her.
- Secret identity
- Forbidden romance