The Dreams of the Eternal CityThe Dreams of the Eternal City by Mark Reece
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was excited about this title from NetGalley. It had an interesting dystopian premise, offered a debut novel from a new author, and intrigued me immensely. Unfortunately, the execution of this novel was not fantastic.

The story of a society in which sleep is regulated should be full of information about sleep and why it’s important. Or maybe about how an over-reaching government can end up harming its citizens in unexpected ways. Or about an uprising of the people to shut down such an institution. This book didn’t really address any of those topics, at least not deeply enough.

Mark Reece has published many short stories, but this is his first novel. While I may struggle with reading short fiction, I tend to enjoy longer fiction from short story writers. Maybe it is the part of me that enjoys Hemingway. There is a lot to be said about concise writing, even in fiction that can tell a wonderful story. Unfortunately, I did not get that from this novel.

While the opening pages presented a big, exciting scene, the majority of the first half of this book was slow. I found the characters to be largely flat and had very little interest in their well-being. The dialogue was boring and there was a lot of focus on the mundane. About half-way through, the story picked up and the slow suspense that had been simmering came to the forefront. Where the beginning was somewhat slow, the pace of the story became much faster as we hurled toward a lackluster ending.

Overall, I would have a hard time recommending this book to other readers. I did see some promising elements and will likely read future offerings from this author, but this book as a whole just did not do it for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a free copy of this ebook.

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