I received this book through NetGalley, in exchange for a n unbiased, honest review.
I found this to be a very interesting read. Although, quite a bit of it seemed like minutiae that wasn't really relevant to the story.
Ethan Thomas lives in a dystopia-sorta England and he works for a government agency that controls and regulates the sleep of citizens. Every citizen has a sleep schedule and a work schedule that they're expected to comply with. You cannot fall asleep before your sleep shift., nor can you sleep any longer after your alarm clock goes off at the end of your sleep shift. Ethan is an investigator, responsible for analyzing sleep code breaches and recommending the punishment based on severity of the breach.
Much of the story focuses on Ethan's work, where he is assigned a special project. He ends up fanatical about the project at the end of the book. So fanatical that his sleep schedule gets all sorts of screwed up and he endangers his relationship with his long-term girlfriend, Aislin.
The ending was not very exciting. It just sort of ended. I was thinking I was getting close to the end and there must be a sequel planned because I didn't know how it would get wrapped up in a few pages. This story does make you think. I would say that it was mostly enjoyable, however, the ending was not what I was expecting.
The Dreams of the Eternal City is a sci fi novel set in the UK where sleeping hours are rigidly enforced by the Government. Unfortunately, I found majority of the book repetitious where the main protagonist, Ethan Thomas travels to work, jokes with his work colleague Mohammed, travels home, converses with his girlfriend and tries to sleep. It is only during the final third where things get interesting but even then, nothing worth reading the previous two thirds to get to. And then it ends.
On face value it is an interesting premise but as you read through the book the more it becomes less convincing. There does not appear to be any opposition apart from the Ilkonian shadow terrorist group (Ilks) however it is confirmed that people voted for sleep enforcement however the enforcement reads like a dictatorship, but this is not confirmed.
Mark Reece is a good writer and this would have worked better to set up a world for a sequel or even a trilogy however it would have required a large part of the book to be cut down and maybe extend the ending which just ends without any resolution.
by Darren Jackson
I enjoy dystopian novels and was excited to give this book a try! It took a little to get into, but overall was an excellent book -- great first novel! I personally like when a story gets you pulled in quickly, but some books are definitely worth the wait.
Mark Reece is a widely published short story writer, whose work has been published in Orbis, Structo, Here Comes Everyone, Fire, The Delinquent, and Postscripts (PS Publishing), amongst other places. The Dreams of the Eternal City is his first novel. He currently lives in Staffordshire, in a flat filled with fine paintings (all copies).