I love dystopian and apocalyptic-type narratives and though the strange sleeping phenomenon in The Dreamers is isolated to one small Californian town, I think this book will speak to people who enjoy those types of reads.
What I liked about the story was how it looked at all angles of the sleeping virus. It doesn't just follow one character's journey through these strange events, but rather takes a broader look at a variety of people in the town: the quiet roommate of the first girl to fall asleep and not wake up, a father who is prepared for almost any apocalyptic event and his two daughters, a young couple and their just-born baby, and so on.
The style of the writing is very dreamlike itself, meandering through the spread of the virus and how the people of the town try to keep on living despite not knowing exactly what is going on, when their loved ones might wake up, if they might be the next to succumb. Though I believe this style is purposeful (and I haven't read Walker's debut novel to compare it to), I found it becoming monotonous about a third of the way through, and I just wished for some variation from the plodding, vague, wandering descriptions and thoughts.
I wasn't bothered by the threads left loose by the narrative—it seemed to be the point that we not know exactly the purpose and outcome of everything. Instead, we were just given snippets to piece together into something perhaps meaningful, perhaps not. But I would have liked to learn a little more about the dreams, their unique variety, and the impact they had on the dreamers and perhaps the world, as those moments toward the end of the book were the most interesting to me.
Overall, this one seemed to have the thread of a good idea, but it felt underdeveloped and in the end, was underwhelming.
My thanks to Random House for sending me a finished copy of this book to read and review.
Associate editor, amateur photdographer, bibliophile, and occasional sleuth.