ARC Review: Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak by Charlie Jane Anders

They’ll do anything to be the people they were meant to be — even journey into the heart of evil.

Cover Design: Razaras

Rachael Townsend is the first artist ever to leave Earth and journey out into the galaxy — but after an encounter with an alien artifact, she can’t make art at all.

Elza Monteiro is determined to be the first human to venture inside the Palace of Scented Tears and compete for the chance to become a princess — except that inside the palace, she finds the last person she ever wanted to see again.

Tina Mains is studying at the Royal Space Academy with her friends, but she’s not the badass space hero everyone was expecting.

Soon Rachael is journeying into a dark void, Elza is on a deadly spy mission, and Tina is facing an impossible choice that could change all her friends lives forever.

My thoughts and unfortunately I think I give away some spoilers in my review

Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak concentrates on its characters’ emotional journeys versus physical paths. Heartbreak also focuses on Rachael and Elza voices. Tina is heard from but she is moved from the forefront to a side character’s voice. 

Tina Mains
Photo from Author’s Website.

Charlie Jane Anders has everyone chase after their dreams in this second book of the Unstoppable Trilogy. No one’s dreams are what they seem. I think this is actually sad that Anders has no one get their happy ending in regards to chasing after their dreams. I noticed that the reading level is geared to 13-18 years old and I think this is a horrible message to send to young people. I get that dreams are not what we think they are when we are dreaming them, but to have every single character’s dream fall flat isn’t realistic.

“Sometimes it’s better to make a mess instead of creating a perfect work of beauty. Break things, melt walls. You don’t need to know what you’re doing, or be in control of everything.”

Loc. 4404

I wrote my first list of goals (dreams) when I was twelve years old and it took almost forty years to tackle all of them, but I did. Was joining the Army all that I thought it would be? No. Did good things happen? Yes. Did horrible things happen to me? Yes. Would I not join if I had a do-over? Nope. The Army made me the best person I am. 

Rachael Townsend
Photo from Author’s Website.

I wanted to move to Montana. I read about it in a book and for some reason it stuck in my head. So when I got out of the military the first time I sold everything I owned, threw a party, and drove out there to live permanently. The whole trip took 10 days before I was back at my Mom’s house again. I got car-jacked. Lost. Found. I was bored. Montana wasn’t what my dream looked like and so I moved on. I don’t regret it. I had a heck of a party. Got rid of a bunch of stuff I didn’t need. Tried Zima for the first time. Checked Montana off the list. Went back to Texas, a state I love. I watched lightning dance across the land in Wyoming, a sight I still remember with awe over 30 years later. 

There was more on the list, but I just wanted to show that you can make a dream happen and not have it be the clusterfuck that it becomes for the gang (who does not have a new name yet) in Heartbreak.

Elza Monteiro
Photo from Author’s Website.

I am surprised that no one has figured out the issue with Rachael’s art. I find it interesting how Anders deals with Rachael’s issue. There is a twist regarding Rachael’s art journey that is fun and will be interesting to watch play out in the final book.

Elza, Elza, Elza. Be prepared for heartbreak in almost every area of Elza’s life in this story. Becoming a princess is not easy. Elza has to jump through some hoops and ends up creating some of her own drama. (chuckle)

“People always want to feel like part of the in-group. You can be a full-blown war criminal and get invited to a fancy dinner in Washington, but god forbid you ever wear the wrong shirt. It’s a waste of time to worry about trifling people.”

Loc. 738

I was bored throughout most of the book. The last third of the book is very exciting and reminiscent of the first book. There are battles on different planets, in space, and on spaceships. Very exciting. Lots of blood, drama, angst, death, and sacrifices are made. My heart was beating so fast – very thrilling.

Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak ends with a bang and a renewed sense of purpose. Let’s see how Anders fixes these issues. (chuckles).

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Books in the “Unstoppable Trilogy.”

Further Details:

Publisher: Tor Teen, 978-1250317391, April 5th 2022

Editor: Miriam Weinberg

Character Artwork: Ines Możdżyńska

Narrators: Hynden Walch and Imani Jade Powers

Series: Unstoppable #2; Settings: Off-Planet

Pages: 320

SC: Non-White, Non-Binary, Lesbian, Genderfluid

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 13 – 18 years; Grade level ‏ : ‎ 7 – 9

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