Last year I read two of Charlie Jane Anders books, Victories Greater than Death and Never Say You Can’t Survive. Both were excellent and I recommend you read them. Dreams Bigger than Heartbreak is the sequel to Victories, so you really need to read that one first. Dreams is also closely related to Never Say You Can’t Survive, Anders’ book about writing.
In Victories, Anders plays with the Chosen One trope. Tina is a clone of a great warrior and she was created to allow them to come back and fight the enemy. But it turns out that Tina is a teenager, with some good instincts, but no answers. What she has is a chosen family of friends and together they fight and defeat the bad guy. In Dreams, Tina’s best friend and her girlfriend, Rachel and Elza, are more central to the story. It was Rachel, not Tina, who saved the day, but as a huge cost. Now it feels like the victory itself is unraveling as Marrant and The Compassion turn reality on it’s head.
Anders has distilled the terrors of the last few years, the terrors that we face right now, and put them into her book. How do you fight an enemy who can make love feel like hate and lies like the truth? In a challenging universe with an unnamed horror threatening, the teens are pursuing their own paths, but trying to stay connected. They struggle to be true to themselves when they aren’t always sure who they are. Still, the love between friends is what makes everything bearable.
I can’t wait for the third instalment.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Tor Teen via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.