Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: The Cure For Dreaming

The Cure for DreamingAuthor: Cat Winters
Series: Standalone
Released: October 1st 2014
Publisher: Amulet
Length: 368 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

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.
The Cure for Dreaming is Cat Winters’ breathlessly anticipated sophomore novel. After last year’s brilliant debut, expectations from this book were sky high, but we needn’t have feared. Winters was more than up to the task. Although not as emotionally intense and tragic as In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming has a different kind of strength; the kind that inspires us to fight for our place in the world, to give everything and do everything to achieve what we think is right.

One would think that today, 114 years after this story takes place, its educational value would be limited to history alone, but one would be truly, utterly wrong. It is clear (and wonderfully articulated by young Emma Watson in her recent UN speech for gender equality) that women are still far from being equals in our male oriented societies. The right to vote and the suffragist movement were just a first step in achieving something that has yet to be fully accomplished, and that makes Cat Winters’ new novel much more than just a brilliant piece of fiction. The relevance of this book is, in fact, immeasurable.

Olivia Mead is an open-minded, highly intelligent girl in a time when girls are expected to be pretty and silent, just decoration in a male-dominated world. After finding out that she participated in a suffragist rally, her father hires a young hypnotist to cure Olivia of her unfeminine thoughts. Obviously, a deep-seated belief can’t just disappear, but if thinking and talking about it can be made unpleasant enough, it was his hope that Olivia (and other women after her) could be trained through simple classical conditioning to remain silent and demure, like a proper woman should.

There were times when this book made me so angry it made my stomach churn, and then there were times when I was ready to burst with pride, because as hard as Olivia’s father, her would-be suitor and other men around her tried to tame her, she simply refused to stay silent. With a little help from the young hypnotist himself, she handled everything that was thrown at her, and even managed to teach them all a lesson.

Once again, Winters added authentic photographs to strengthen the effect of her story. It was a brilliant move on her part and I hope she’ll keep doing it in her future works as well. After this, there is no more doubt: Cat Winters is an unstoppable literary force. She does her research, she combines fact with simply marvelous fiction, she touches our hearts and somehow teaches us all a valuable lesson in the process. What more could we possibly want?

I say Printz. What say you?

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. What a speech the one that dear Emma Watson gave at the UN! If not me, who? If not now, when? Those are questions that we really need to ask ourselves more often. It always enrages me so much when guys tell me to my face that me being a feminist is useless and wrong because we already have equality and what else do we want... Clearly we're better than we were before we had the right to vote, but there a loooooong way to go, and those that can't see that are part of the problem!

    Give the theme of the book, this one is a given for me and I'm going to preorder it immediately! Will keep my anti-stress Adipose toy to squeeze if the book manages to make me rage against some characters, which I think it will!

    Thank you for a fantastic review, Maja!

    1. It was a fantastic speech! Her voice trembled the entire time, but she delivered it brilliantly nevertheless. And the book is simply fabulous, I can't wait for you to read it.

  2. It sounds really well done and I confess that I haven't read a book like that. It must be so difficult for Olivia but I'm glad for her belief. I'm really curious to try it now! lovely review!

  3. You got me interested in the mention of Emma Watson's speech and male-dominated society, Maja! Olivia seems like a very wonderful heroine. I'd love to find out how she survives in the patriarchal society. I'll definitely check out this book wen it comes out. :)

    Amazing review, Maja! :)

  4. I'm excited to see such a gorgeous review and great rating from you, Maja. You're so right. Women are still not viewed as equals to men, so it's very much a book that still has an importance in society today even if it is a historical. I love the sound of Olivia and love that she never bowed down to the demands of everyone else around her.
    I'm excited to read this now for sure because I love books that tackle social themes.
    Great review!
    Emma Watson's speech was so eloquent. And I love that all these male celebrities are out there to help her with her campaign.

  5. Oh I love Olivia already! I haven't read Cat Winters' debut work but her writing prowess sounds that of a veteran.

    Great review, Maja.

  6. Wanting the right to vote is considered an "unfeminine" thought? Grrrrrrr. I can tell this book is going to piss me off (but in the best possible "I'm so emotionally involved" type of way), and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I'm rooting for Olivia already Maja!!!!

  7. Emma rocks and so did this read! I loved it.

  8. I have this scheduled during Wicked and I will be picking it up soon. I can't wait to see what Wintere does next and what a terrific topic. I think we forget how lucky we are to live in age where we are striving for more equality. Yeah for Emma Watson!

  9. First of I love Em's speech! It's amazingly done. Also I have heard so much about this author and her first book (which I still haven't read, *bows head in shame* but I'll get to it) but this one sounds even better. I love how she visuals her stories. Great review, Maja :)

  10. I'm thrilled that this book doesn't disappoint as most sophomore books tend to do. Yes, even though we are 114 years after the setting of this book, we are no way near gender equality. Wonderful review, Maja! I just downloaded my ARC from NG and I can't wait to read it!

  11. AH, the girl power in this post! I've had Cure for Dreaming for a loooong time now but still haven't gotten to it--I don't know why! I need to pick up my copy sometime this week and just dive in because I know I'm going to LOVE it. I'm beyond thrilled you think it deserves a Printz (I'm sure it does!) and looove that you posted Emma's UN speech too. Gosh, she's become one of my idols now--love her, love her speech, love the message. Wonderful post, Maja!

  12. Ooo Maja, I need to pick this up, it just screams read me and it's perfect for Fall!

  13. This cover is incredibly creepy so I have to admit, I wasn't expecting a girl power-type book inside! It sounds so interesting. The whole hypnotism to get rid of "unwanted" behaviors reminds me a bit of the camps some parents send their kids to so they'll be trained to be straight (rather than gay). *shudder*

  14. I love books with strong women, determined to fight for their rights and for their place in the world. I have yet to read any book from this author but both her books are definitely on my tbr list. Great review and thank you for posting the speech, I havent had the opportunity to hear it, and now I ahve and I applaud Watson for her strength.

  15. Oh, so fantastic. I'm even more excited to read this now. Fabulous post, Maja!

  16. Awesome review! I am definitely checking this book out!

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