Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Rules of Dreaming by Bruce Hartman

Title - The Rules of Dreaming
Author - Bruce Hartman
Series - None
Release Date - May 23rd, 2013
Publisher - Swallow Tail Press
Format Acquired - eBook via Amazon

Nicole P. is a beautiful Irish graduate student pursuing a doctorate in literary theory. She checks herself in to the Palmer Institute (a private mental hospital in upstate New York), seeking help with anxiety and disorientation triggered by a recent breakup and her quest for a dissertation topic. But by the time she’s discharged two weeks later, her life has become dangerously entangled with those of her psychiatrist, who has fallen in love with her, and two schizophrenic patients, Hunter and Antonia Morgan, 21-year-old twins whose mother, the opera singer Maria Morgan, committed suicide seven years earlier on the eve of her debut at the Met. Nicole becomes convinced that the opera Maria Morgan was rehearsing — Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann” — is taking over the lives of her psychiatrist, of Hunter and Antonia Morgan, and of everyone who crosses their paths, until all are enmeshed in a world of deception and delusion, of madness and ultimately of evil and death. She discovers that she too has been assigned a role in the drama, and along with a blackmailer named Dubin she sets out to solve the mystery of Maria Morgan’s death and its uncanny consequences.

Whatever I was trying to get from this storyline, I don't think I completely received it. At least, I'm not entirely sure. Is that normal?

It's not to say that I hated the book. Oh no, I actually found to be very interesting. But I was, and still am, bothered by so many things that I can't really scream "THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER" on top of my lungs.

First off, I don't think the summary/synopsis does the book any justice. It's much more than what it claims to be about. There are so many sides and points of view to this twisted story that it's a little hard to keep up. Not every "I" statement is for the same person. You'll go from one chapter to another and have to ask, "Wait, who is this again? What am I reading about?" Not to mention that chapters flip-flop between the past, present and future in the same instance, which is a bit cool but with everything else, it was a little too much.

The storyline itself is very well thought-up. I personally find the subject of mental illnesses to be attractive. The ideas, the details were good, good, good. All of it fit together to form a pretty good story. The characters were the greatest part, because they had character; each one of them could make it their story without effort if Hartman had allowed it. They had will beyond the scripts written for them, but they had the potential to become so much more. I wanted to see them leap off the page and join me for a dance therapy session!

Still, I can't help but feel like the story lacked something. A sort of 'pizzazz' and 'wow' that would trap me and refuse to let go. Maybe it was the choppy flow of parts of the writing but not others... or the unavailability of emotions that should have been but weren't.

The Rules of Dreaming

Link Out - Amazon ˚ Barnes & Noble

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