Monday, September 8, 2014
The Cure for Dreaming: Review+Photo Collage
Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women.
First and foremost, I want to say that Cat Winters is now my favorite historical writer, very close to Libba Bray. The Cure for Dreaming is the first book I've read by Winters, though I also own her other young adult historical fiction book, In the Shadow of the Blackbirds(which I must get to soon). You're probably wondering, "Wow, she's only read one of her books, and suddenly she becomes her favorite historical author; that was fast!" However, Winters has completely shown me her emormously amazing writing skills and abilities to make me engrossed while reading The Cure for Dreaming.
The problem that I almost always encounter in historical books is infodumping. There will be ten different words in a page that describe clothing or the setting and it's usually an immediate turnoff. Winters does the opposite: She captures my attention with her beautiful, vivid details of the time era, 1900.
Now, the second problem I encounter most of the time in historical fiction is a bland introduction to the world. Here Winters does the opposite as well. The book starts off with a bang when Olivia Mead, the protanginist, goes to a hypnotist event for her birthday. She is then selected as a candidate...and well, you get the picture. Immediately, Winters has captured my attention!
"The hypnotist wrapped his fingers around mine and helped me climb to the floorboards above."
Let's talk characters. I've just mentioned the main character, Olivia. Olivia is a girl with many things to say, but too shy to usually say them outloud, especially to her father. She secretly defies her father by attending Women's Rights rallies. The main trait that Olivia displayed through the book was tenacity. She is a very strong-willed, capable, and independent girl. She goes through some transformations across the story, and I admired her more and more by the end.
Then there is Henri(or Henry). Oh, how I loved him so. In a time era where men put women beneath them, I thought it was a great feat that Henry defies what normal men think and believes that woman deserve equal rights just as men do. Henry is a great many things: sweet, understanding, kind, average-looking, smart, encouraging...I could go on. But, I don't want to point out his traits so much as the actions he performs to make him into these characteristics. He understands the way the world should be; and helps Olivia see that, even though Olivia didn't necessarily need it to truly see the world. He is evermore kind and sweet and gentlemanly to Olivia. He respects her in her own ways. He is only average-looking in the world, but for Olivia she can see everything; his distress, his beauty, his fatigue...
There are other important characters, such Genevieve, Dr. Mead, and Frannie in the book, but I won't go into depth about them. All I will say is that I admire Winters abilities to write real, human characters.
The setting of this book was honestly what I was looking forward to most, and it met my high expectations. The book is set in 1900, when Women are looked down upon by men. Winters also throws in an interesting twist in this world with hypnotism. Olivia is hypnotised into seeing the world "as it truly is." Olivia then starts seeing visions of people walking down the street that resemble monsters. This perspective really shows the originalty Winters has, while also dealing with real-life-current problems.
The ending to this book was perfect. It was left somewhat open for us to imagine what might happen next, but it also is a very satisfying ending.
Overall, I adored this book. Winters showed me her writing abilities, and I was impressed! The world and writing immediately captured my attention. She combined originalty with real problems and her characters fit the book perfectly.