Review: Dreaming of Antigone by Robin Bridges

dreamingofantigoneDreaming of Antigone by Robin Bridges
Genre: Contemporary
Published by: Kensington
Pages: 304
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★.5
Note: We received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

I waned to read this book mostly because of the beautiful cover, but also in hope that it would help me understand the Antigone story a lot more. Dreaming of Antigone follows Andria and her heart-broken family. Her sister, Iris committed suicide six months before the events of the novel and Andria suffers from seizures resulting in an overly protective mother. The premise sounded really intriguing and I was looking forward to that “heartfelt and emotional” journey promised by the blurb on the front, but I don’t think it lived up to my expectations. Luckily, unlike like the Greek tragedy that Andria relates her life to, there is a happy ending, otherwise it would’ve been too depressing!

The novel starts with a dream sequence. A little cliche, I know, but it introduces the act that Iris is dead and the fact she’s turning up in Andria’s dream points to some of the guilt Andria feels about that illusive night. Andria is counting down the days – only fourteen to go! – until she can take her driving test. The catch is if she has a seizure in those fourteen days, she’ll have to wait another six months without seizures before she can try again. I really liked that the main character had a sickness that wasn’t cancer, and it’s not one you often find. My History teacher at sixth form was epileptic and she had what she called an “episode” – not a full of seizure – during one of the lessons, so I really felt for Andria and all of the people worried about her.

Because of her illness, Andria has a really strong relationship with her mum, which is also great! I love parents in YA! Her step-dad on the other hand is unnerving. So, it’s an interesting family dynamic.

I thought Dreaming of Antigone would be a modern adaptation of the story, and if that’s the case then usually the characters from the original text don’t exist in the fictional world. For example, in the web series NMTD, which is an adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s plays don’t exist in the world and Marlowe is the most remembered playwright instead. So, I was a little surprised that the characters, who link to their counterparts, like Andria = Antigone, Iris = Ismene and Craig = Creon (come on, their names share the same initials!) were aware of the links. It felt strange. Like, I know whatever you have to read in class normally links somehow to your own life, but it seemed to fit all too well. 

As for the romance between Andria and Alex, Iris’s ex-boyfriend, I never really felt the chemistry, but it was like their togetherness was written in the stars. They were destined to be together. In the beginning of the story Andria writes some poetry on her desk at school and the next time she’s in class someone has replied. I bet you an’t guess who was sending the secret messages (!) And they just kept bumping into each other, for example, neither of them slept well at night so they’d go outside to stargaze in Andria’s case and run in Alex’s. Then they were forced into doing an extra credit project together and I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes a little.

But, I’m pretty hard to please when it comes to the “maybe you can fix each other trope”. I’m just not a fan, and I haven’t read anything where I think it’s done right. Maybe in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, but that’s slightly different. Anyway, I digress. For me, my interest in the love story was doomed from he start if it was going to do the “fixing” thing.

As for pacing, it’s a relatively short book and it well paced. Things went from bad to worse for Andria and I had to keep reading to find out what happened to her and her mum. I connected well with the main character, because I enjoyed her voice. I think it was mostly just the romance that annoyed me in terms of pacing. The events of the book happen over two weeks and in the first week Andria and Alex had a love/hate relationship and in the second they needed each other more than the air they breathed. So…? The only other thing, was that Andria seemed to be doing really well considering her twin sister had died only six months before. I have a twin sister and it would probably take me six years to move on if anything happened to her. I know they weren’t that close, but she’s still family, and it felt like there was a piece missing.

Overall, I gave Dreaming of Antigone 2.5 stars I read it really quickly and enjoyed the beginning – it had so much promise. But it didn’t blow me away.

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