Warning: This book review contains spoilers for the book “Neverwake” by Amy Plum. If you haven’t read it and wish to avoid spoilers, don’t read the review!
I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Neverwake,” the sequel to “Dreamfall,” by Amy Plum! I quite liked reading “Dreamfall,” so I figured it would be good to pick up this sequel and finish the duology. Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“For most people, nightmares always come to an end. But for Cata, Ant, and the others, there may be no escape from theirs. After an experimental treatment meant to cure their insomnia went horribly wrong, the teens were dragged into a shared dreamworld where their most terrifying fears became reality.
The six of them have no way of waking up. And they’re beginning to realize that if they die here, they might actually die in the real world. One of the dreamers is already gone, and anyone could be next. The only thing they know for certain is that they have to work together to survive. But as they learn the truth about one another’s pasts, they soon discover they are trapped with something far worse than their nightmares….”
Trigger warnings for the following, for those who want to read this book:
This book contains mentions of attempted suicide, murder, domestic abuse, and instances of PTSD and disassociation that happen throughout the book due to two of the characters having PTSD (though not as frequently as it was in the first book). If you are uncomfortable with any of this content, you may not want to read this.
Worldbuilding: 3 out of 5 stars
As the worldbuilding builds on what happens from the past book, it’s definitely necessary to read the first book to understand what happens in this one. However, because we already know that the comatose main characters are all stuck in a series of nightmares, there wasn’t much that was new, and that ultimately disappointed me. However, what was already established continued to make sense for me as a reader, which was good.
Character Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I felt bad for Jaime when no one took his suggestions seriously. I think it was because he was the premed student while everyone else were certified scientists, but given his saving Fergus’ life last book, I thought they would take him more seriously (even if saving Fergus was a stroke of luck). However, I am glad that Jaime got the happy ending he deserved (semi-happy, I guess, given how traumatic the events of the main book were for him on his end).
Though I do appreciate Ant having a point of view, Ant also suffers from sounding too similar to Cata and Fergus, and so it’s hard to distinguish their voices when reading the chapters in their point of view. In fact, I think there was more character development for each of these three when it wasn’t a chapter being read through their point of view.
I also think Sinclair turning on the party at the end of the book was almost too predictable, given how his status as a ‘psychopath’ somewhat labelled him as ‘evil’ despite the fact that every one of the main characters has mental health issues in some form and the rest of the characters’ mental health issues are seen as on a ‘spectrum’ and acceptable. The justification of Sinclair as the antagonist due to him previously committing murder (three of them, in fact) and being unapologetic about it was probably meant to cement his place as the antagonist, but up until then, I enjoyed reading him. He was pragmatic and though he did lie to the party, he also used his manipulation to literally save them all several times throughout the book. He was one of the stronger-written characters out of the main characters in this book for sure.
Plot Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars
It’s clear that the characters once again drive the plot of the story, straight from the beginning. Because of Jaime’s telling Fergus that there is a ‘psychopath’ among those comatose that could be a threat, the group immediately becomes divided as they suspect each other of being the potentially-problematic psychopath. The fact that being a ‘psychopath’ is seen as problematic while everyone else’s mental health problems are addressed as being on a spectrum and such is a bit jarring to me as a reader, and it’s also something I pointed out in my past book review for “Dreamfall.” Though Remi is quickly suspected as the ‘psychopath’ in the main group (we the readers already know it’s Sinclair, but the main characters do not except for Jaime, who’s not comatose nor in the dreamworld), Remi is the first potential person to go as he dies a third into this book. Even by the time the party has figured out that Sinclair is the psychopath among them late in the book, they didn’t immediately turn on him up until he tried to kill them, probably because Sinclair had previously helped them get out of some sticky situations during their time together.
However, I do find the ending of the story to be rather abrupt. Though I’m glad that all the main characters did get mostly-normal lives afterwards, with some even getting court justice against their abusers, I don’t like how it got jammed into one epilogue chapter. I was hoping for a breather chapter where Jaime got to chat with the other characters now that they were fully awake, and learn about everything and share experiences, so I was disappointed when that didn’t happen.
Overall, I’m rating this book 3.25 out of 5 stars!
The book’s plot doesn’t have the same or better punch than the first book did, but it still holds up decently well and it’s worth reading for the characters driving the plot.
For the duology overall, I’m rating it 3.5 out of 5 stars!
It’s definitely worth reading if you’re interested in literal nightmares, but if you’re uncomfortable with any of the content I mentioned in my trigger warnings at the beginning of book reviews, read with caution if you do want to read them.