4 out of 4 stars
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University student, Giulia, lives an enviable life—she has a boyfriend that is smitten with her and a group of like-minded friends passionate about studying art. Despite the idyllic life she appears to have, a dark cloud of doubt is suddenly cast down upon her. Grotesque nightmares begin to invade her slumber. At first, she dismisses them as silly dreams. Still, they become so vivid and chilling that the line between fantasy and reality is becoming blurry.
In attempts to suppress the ghastly images haunting her dreams, she turns to pills to pacify her thoughts. But when the medication offers no refuge from the nightmares, she consumes harder drugs. Her life begins spiraling out of control; the dreams are becoming so frequent and real that she is in a constant state of anxiety.
What do these horrors mean? She is inundated with blood spattering images, knives, and an eerily familiar girl with dark hair. With every dream, Giulia feels like she is getting closer to the truth.
Beyond Dreams by Carlotta Amerio is a bone-chilling thriller that is sure to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. The book was originally written in Italian but was translated into English and boasted 198 pages of action. Initially, I had been hesitant about selecting the story because I worried that some ideas or thoughts might be lost in translation—I was wrong! The writing was phenomenal, and I quickly set aside all of my previous engagements to get lost in the enrapturing plot.
The immersive storyline is told from the first-person perspective and follows Giulia. She becomes increasingly unstable as she is held prisoner by her dreams. Readers are lured into the dark corners of her subconscious. Her struggle involves drug addiction, suppressed memories, and abuse—all things that manifest into irreversible consequences.
My favorite part of the book was how the writing made me feel. From the beginning, I felt like I was pulled into a world that existed in gray and black—this was not a world of color. Like the morbid imagery in Giulia's dreams, the desperation and agony jumped off the pages and into my head. I felt her pain as nightmares began to take over, and she became increasingly unhinged. The author did an outstanding job of connecting me to the very essence of Giulia's character.
Another thing that I admired about the book was the author's willingness to highlight the ugly truth about drugs. Often drugs are romanticized in fiction or film, but there was none of that, only the horrifying reality of lives torn apart by addiction. The author offered full transparency—from a heroin addict's disfigured arms to the lewd sexual acts performed for a desperate fix.
While I tried to find something unappealing about the book, it was an impossible feat—I loved everything about it! The story was exceptionally well written and only had a couple of instances where spelling or grammar was an issue. With full confidence, I can say that the book was professionally edited. I have chosen to give the psychological tale a rating of four out of four stars—for its immersive storyline and no-holds-barred approach.
Are you looking for a book that will quickly pull you in? Beyond Dreams will appeal to mature readers who are looking for a fast-paced story that has well-developed characters. I would recommend the book to those who are able to deal with weighty issues such as addiction, abuse, and suicide. Due to the topics mentioned above and the presence of swearing and sex, I would discourage younger readers from choosing this story.
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