The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker – Book Review

Title: The Dreamers (review copy)

Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Genre/Themes: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Mysterious Sleeping Illness, Dreams, Beautiful Prose, Thought Provoking, Original Storytelling

Blurb from Goodreads

One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital.

When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, Mei finds herself thrust together with an eccentric classmate as panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town.

A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos.

Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster.

Those affected by the illness, doctors discover, are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, higher than has ever been recorded before. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?

My Review

I am left breathless by this absolutely beautiful book. It’s a book about a catastrophic sleeping virus that overtakes a university town in Southern California….

But it’s so much more than a dystopian – science fiction mashup.

It’s written with the most beautiful prose that really captures the eerie quality of dreams.

Do you know that feeling when there are visiting relatives sleeping quietly in the house with you and you have to sort of tip-toe around your own home early in the morning while they slumber away… And your home takes on this different feel. It’s your home but somehow not yours???

This book gave me those vibes.

It was life as we know it. The characters were familiar. They could have been you or I…

But yet everything was off. An unknown quality unsettled everyone and everything.

This book perfectly captured the fears of unknown and created such a believable tension surrounding the lockdown of this town. I 100% bought into the panic and hysteria that the characters felt about this mysterious virus.

And the exploration of what our dreams could possibly mean…


Hugely thought provoking with how it portrayed what dreaming means to different people.

And that final paragraph that closed the book had me in absolute floods of tears. It’s not that it was sad… But emotional. Truly captured the essence of life and humanity in my opinion.

A book unlike any other I’ve ever read (but according to many others if you loved Station Eleven then this is right up your street). I will definitely be checking out Karen Thompson Walker’s literary back catalogue and anything she writes in the future will most certainly be an automatic purchase for me.

Highly recommended.

*An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Scribner / Simon and Schuster UK Fiction, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*


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