Monday, 6 October 2014

Review: The Cure for Dreaming

The Cure for Dreaming
Publication Date: 1st October 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

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. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout

Can we just stop and think for a minute of the oppression of women in this era? Can we honestly, in this age, know and feel how that would have felt? 100 pages in and well, anger doesn't seem to cover it. Sexism still exists, it's a thing along with others that will probably always exist, especially in a work place and when it comes to what's considered as 'Man Jobs',  Military and cut-throat jobs that apparently are no places for Women. Now, what I loved about The Cure for Dreaming, that while it does the oppression and repression well, it also uplifts the arguments well. Especially in the letter Olivia writes.

What's great though-apart from the message The Cure for Dreaming sends- is how the hypnotism kind of acts like a metaphor for that oppression and how women have no voices, and in a certain scene, literal. I loved how it was spun into the storyline, something weird and new to the time, and used it as a prop that opened up Olivia to see the world the way it is. Also, let's not forget how Dracula is used too, using vampires and creatures and evil lurking suckers to vision as soul suckers, sucking the life out of women, leeching them until they're fading out of who they are. Once Olivia's been hypnotised the second time, she sees the world-and people- for who they truly are, what lurks beneath their skin, between  Men whose opinion of women is get back in the kitchen, woman, to younger minds being moulded into the exact same opinion, to women who don't fully grasp the concept and to the rich, who look down upon the lower class. You'd think it wouldn't work, but it does.

Cat Winters knows how to push my buttons, I never thought I'd be overly mad or get angry, it's the past, right? It's happened. Things are different now. But, I did, and you know what it made me realise? That what we take for granted, having a voice, getting to voice, have an opinion on anything, any job you want if you work hard for it, an education is what people fought the right for, that in some countries, are still fighting for. We have that because of those before us.
Once again, like In the Shadow of Blackbirds, we have a quirky strong main character that while seems to fit in the time set, also doesn't seem to belong in that time, and what I mean about that is she's strong, she's opinionated, she's relatable and she's a character that feels alive, exactly like the romance. While there's not a lot of it, and wasn't the main focus, it was also very much present, at the same time.  It wasn't a sole focus but it was there.

The Cure For Dreaming has a very authentic atmosphere that will probably make you angry and want to say "All is well" every couple of pages, with characters you'll love and hate and feel proud of, and hypnotism that'll mesmerise you, The Cure For Dreaming has done its job and honestly? I'll read anything by Cat Winters now.

Rating: 5/5


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