We are big fans of Caragh M. O’Brien here on Fiction Fare so we were excited to get a chance to chat with her about the release of the final book in her Vault of Dreamers series! Before we get to that though, let us tell you about the book!The Keep of Ages by Caragh M. O'Brien
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Also by this author: The Rule of Mirrors
Published by Roaring Brook Press on August 29th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, General, Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
In the fast-paced, high-stakes conclusion to Caragh M. O'Brien's Vault of Dreamers trilogy, Rosie travels to a derelict theme park to shut down dream mining once and for all.
Driven by fear when Dean Berg kidnaps her family, Rosie Sinclair strikes out across the country to rescue them. When an elusive trail leads her to Grisly Valley, the contaminated ruin of a horror theme park, Rosie has to consider that Berg may once again be manipulating her every move to make her fearful, priming her for a final, lethal dream mining procedure. As Rosie struggles to outmaneuver Berg, she unearths the ultimate vault of dreamers and the hint of a consciousness more powerful and dangerous than any she's imagined before. Faced with unspeakable suffering and otherworldly beauty, Rosie must discover how to trust her mind, her friends, and reality itself.
Propulsive and deeply speculative, The Keep of Ages concludes the Vault of Dreamers trilogy with stirring possibilities for what it means to be alive.
Describe The Vault of Dreamers series in 5 words.
First, let me say thanks, Jaime and Erin, for having me by Fiction Fare! It’s great to be here!
For a pithy description: Rosie’s dreams chase her down.
What was the hardest scene for you to write in The Keep of Ages and why?
The last scene was the hardest one for me to write. I knew it had to feel natural and right line-by-line, and it also had to resonate with extra importance because it was the actual end of Rosie’s story after three whole books. I wrote a bunch of different endings for this book, discarding most elements of them, and gradually closed in on what would work best. Then I revised it endlessly, and I’m happy with how it turned out.
Were there any scenes that had to be cut that you wish would have stayed in?
I cut many scenes, but I don’t wish they had stayed in. Cutting scenes is part of the revising process for me, just like adding new scenes is, and by the end, only the right ones remain.
What is your favorite thing about Rosie and why?
Rosie feels so real to me, and so complex. From the very beginning, I’ve valued the way she sees the world with her perceptive, insightful gaze, but what I like most is the way she learns to adapt to seemingly impossible situations. She is willing to change at a very deep level, and that is cool to see.
I saw a lot of growth and change in all of the characters of this series. Who do you think changed the most and why?
Rosie, definitely. It’s interesting to me to contrast her to Thea, the other version of her who grows in a different direction after Rosie’s consciousness splits in two. The Rosie who emerges by the third book has suffered deeply, and she has tried to protect herself, and yet she’s realized she still has to risk caring and loving intensely. I find that beautiful.
Did any of your characters surprise you by doing something you didn’t expect?
Yes. I was very surprised by Linus several times. I don’t want to give spoilers, but he was honest at a time when I thought he would be more reserved, and it opened up his relationship with Rosie in an interesting way. I thought of him as a person who had serious trust issues and expected he would show that by his reticence, but when he chose to, he could articulate very clearly what he was thinking, and I liked that.
Do you have any writing habits or are there any odd things that you need in order to sit down and write?
Not really. I have a calm home and a comfy couch where I work, so I basically go there and disappear into my story. Sometimes I take breaks to get some chocolate or stretch, but most days I simply work. I’m better now at accepting that some days will feel more productive than others, and I keep at it regardless of what progress shows up on the page.
Since this was the last book of the series, what’s next for you? Are you working on anything right now that you can tell us about?
I’ve started a new young adult novel that’s in the very early stages. It has to do with time looping back on itself because I’ve always liked moves such as Groundhog Day, but I’m still working out how my novel will go. Though I miss Rosie’s story already, it’s also exciting to be onto something new.
What book(s) are you reading right now?
I’m reading Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything at the moment, and I’m also part way through Matthew Sullivan’s Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. I don’t normally read two books at once, so this is odd for me, but they’re so different that they aren’t interfering with each other. I’m curious about the craft of both of them.
Favorite Song (right now): “Aint No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. I’m trying to learn this on my ukulele.
Favorite Book (right now): The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. This transporting MG novel lingers with me.
Favorite TV Show/Movie: Anne with an E. I hope another season comes out soon.
Favorite Word: Ineffable
Favorite Color: Blue-green like the sea.
Favorite Curse Word: Shoot!
This Or That
Coffee or Tea: Neither. I’m a hot chocolate type.
E-books or Real Books: Real
Dog or Cat: Dog.
Tattoos or No Tattoos: I like them on other people, but I don’t have any.
Beer or Wine: Root beer, please!
Cake or Pie: Pie, preferably apple crisp.
Again, thanks, Erin and Jaime! Happy reading!
The Keep of Ages is the third, and final, installment of The Vault of Dreamers series by Caragh M. O’Brien and if you haven’t read any books in this series, you may want to check out my earlier reviews and then of course, go dive into book one so you can see why I enjoyed this series so much. With that said, I will try to avoid spoilers for this third book but can’t promise for books one and two so now you are warned.
As this book picks up, we are back with Rosie who has headed home to find that her mom, Larry, and Dubbs are gone and Rosie has no idea where they are – the only clue being a note that Dubbs left her to point her in the right direction. Rosie is still being hunted by Berg and this makes things dangerous. She has to be careful and knows she has very few people she can trust so as she heads out, she makes the decision to reach out to Burnham to ask for help.
We get a lot of the same characters in this book as we had in the previous books. Burnham, Thea, Berg, and Linus but we also get introduced to Lavinia Jacobs, the person who started The Forge Show and the person who is able to help Rosie get her family back. All of these characters have an impact on Rosie and help to keep the story on track. Thea is probably the most disconnected based on the fact that she is back home with her parents but through phone calls, we see that she is still very much linked to Rosie and even has some critical information for her.
Both Linus and Burnham have challenges they have to overcome due to Berg’s plans for Rosie but both are willing to do whatever they need to in order to help her stay out of Berg’s control and save her family. Of course, I have always been a fan of Linus and despite how the last book ended, was optimistic about the relationship between him and Rosie…I had concerns, no question but as we find out early on in this book, Linus is willing to do whatever he needs to in order to be there for Rosie and I love that about him.
As the story progresses, Rosie finds herself in some challenging situations and I have to say, Grisly Valley is a thing of nightmares – trust me, the name is appropriate. When Rosie is once again back under the control of Berg and his people, she realizes that she has to figure out how she is going to get herself (and Dubbs) out of their prison and I loved the twist here. It was slightly unexpected and ultimately added a little something to the rest of the story.
There is a science fiction feel to this series in that O’Brien builds the story around this idea that scientists can go digging around in someone’s brain and mine memories or cameras can be installed into someone’s eye…without them knowing about it. All of which makes me cringe and wonder what would a world like this really be like for people…especially with people like Berg in power.
There isn’t much more I can say without giving anything away with this one. In the end, I thought O’Brien did a great job of closing out this series. I have a bad tendency to put off reading final books in a series because I either don’t want it to end or I am worried I won’t be happy with what happens. With that said, I knew that this was one I needed to read because I needed to find out what was going to happen. Things definitely weren’t easy for Rosie but I thought the closure left things in a good place for her and all of the other characters.
Although I am sad to see the end of this series, I am happy I was able to finish it out and now I look forward to whatever Caragh O’Brien decides to write next because this series just solidified how much I enjoy her books. They always have interesting and well-developed characters, a page-turning story, and of course, keep me engaged until the very end just wondering what is going to happen next. I can’t ask for more than that and if those are things you typically look for too, consider checking this book/series out.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!