The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker #bookreview #scifi #suspense

Title: The Dreamers

Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: January 15, 2019

Page Count: 304

My rating: 3 1/2 stars

About the book:

An ordinary town is transformed by a mysterious illness that triggers perpetual sleep in this mesmerizing novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Miracles.

“This book is stunning.”—Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

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?

Written in luminous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking and beautiful novel, startling and provocative, about the possibilities contained within a human life—if only we are awakened to them.


The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker is a suspenseful science fiction read in which people begin to fall victim to a new virus. Victims simply fall asleep and cannot be woken up leaving doctors looking for answers.

It all starts in a small college town in Southern California, a student returns to her dorm room and crawls into bed falling fast asleep. The next day the roommate of the girl gets concerned when morning turns into afternoon and then evening and the girl will not awaken.

When the student dies with no answers as to what happened to her people first think it was an isolated incident. Life goes on without the young coed but before they know it another student in the same dorm falls into the same deep sleep, then another, then a quarantine is established but it’s too late as the sleeping sickness continues to spread.

When finished reading this book I was trying to think of how to explain my thoughts about it and the best way to put it would probably be it simply fizzled out on me. The book was so amazingly compelling for the longest time after starting with a bang but the very end just felt flat to me and as if it went nowhere. In my mind I picture a gymnast with a near perfect routine falling instead of sticking the landing. I decided to give this one 3.5 stars for the strong story and writing through most but I would have liked to have a bit more at the end.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author:

Karen Thompson Walker is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Age of Miracles, which has been translated into twenty-seven languages and named one of the best books of the year by People, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Financial Times, among others. Born and raised in San Diego, Walker is a graduate of UCLA and the Columbia MFA program. She lives with her husband, the novelist Casey Walker, and their two daughters in Portland. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Oregon.


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