Author: C. Robert Cargill

Short & Sweet: Sea of Rust & LIFEL1K3

September 27, 2018 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2018, YA 3 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Short & Sweet: Sea of Rust & LIFEL1K3Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
Narrator: Eva Kaminsky
Published by HarperAudio on September 5, 2017
Length: 10 hours and 26 minutes
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dreams and Shadows, Queen of the Dark Things, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories

four-stars

It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—One World Intelligence—the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One of these resisters is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep her deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although she does not (cannot) experience emotions like a human, she is haunted by the terrible crimes she perpetrated on humanity. As she roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, Brittle slowly comes to terms with her raw and vivid memories—and her guilt.

“People gave us a purpose. A function. Something to do all day, every day. At the end, I suppose, you spend a lot of time thinking about that. It’s harder to get by when getting by is all there is.”

In a time where Earth is a wasteland and humanity has been snuffed out like a fragile flame, its lands are ruled by robots who now, in turn, struggle to survive. After the robots had finally succeeded in ridding the Earth of humans, they turned on one another and OWIs (one-world intelligences) sought out the individual robots that remained so that their sentience could be joined as one. Most of the sentient robots that remain survive as scavengers, seeking out newer parts than their own, finding any way to extend their lifecycles. Brittle is one such scavenger and when her core systems are damaged and the end of her own existence is near, she joins with a group of scavengers. They make promises to her about the stash of parts they have hidden deep within the Sea of Rust and that somewhere out there is the answer to a brighter future for the Earth itself.

Sea of Rust was a fascinatingly complex story that deals with survival, regret, and most importantly, hope. Brittle was not the most likable of characters, however, Cargill methodically builds on her storyline with fragments of the past which helps to better understand her motivations in this post-apocalyptic world. It was compelling to see the evolution of these bots and how closely they began to resemble their human counterparts. With some very inventive world-building and an equally intriguing cast of side characters, Sea of Rust is a brilliant story of robots that will have you dwelling on your own humanity.

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Short & Sweet: Sea of Rust & LIFEL1K3Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff
Narrator: Erin Spencer
Series: Lifelike #1
Published by Listening Library on May 29, 2018
Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Illuminae

two-stars

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

Romeo and Juliet meets Mad Max

That comparison had me super interested but honestly, I should’ve known better. Romeo and Juliet doesn’t belong in the world of Mad Max, and vice versa, but my interest in the Mad Max aspect overruled the rational side of my brain. Set after the devastating effects of a nuclear war, Eve pilots a robot to battle in the dome against other robots (very much like Real Steel), in an effort to pay for the medicine keeping her grandfather alive. She earns a price on her head after she reveals she has the power to destroy robots with her mind and has to go on the run with her best friend Lemon to stay alive. Amidst their escape, they encounter a lifel1k3, an advanced android, named Ezekiel who vows to protect her.

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The worldbuilding was initially so fun (despite the strange jargon — it was easier to listen to than I guess it would’ve been to read it) and I loved the battling robots in the dome (definitely understood the Mad Max comparisons) but then it all went downhill. And that’s where the Romeo and Juliet comparisons came into play and completely overshadowed the plot. The instalove is essentially avoided by providing the duo with a backstory that is only glimpsed momentarily, but it still wasn’t enough for me to get on board with it. Add to that there were some really cringe-worthy lines:

“You were my everything. You still are. And you always will be.”

“Loving you was the only real difference between me and them.”

“They have only one thing left to take from me. The last and most precious thing. Not my life, no. My love.”

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You can officially count me out for the subsequent installments.

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Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories

July 13, 2018 Bonnie Book Reviews, Rapid Fire Reviews, Read in 2018 5 Comments

Sometimes review writing is hard. Sometimes you don’t have a lot to say. Sometimes you’re just lazy as fuck. These are Rapid Fire Reviews.

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesInvitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt
Published by Bloomsbury USA on June 5, 2018
Pages: 256
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: The tepid tale of a love triangle gone wrong (although do any of them ever go right?) that was inspired by Vladimir and Vera Nabokov’s marriage.

Thoughts: The summary makes it easy to go into this novel with certain expectations (seductive story, spellbinding psychological thriller) but this story is, possibly because it was written as a series of letters, comes off as extremely apathetic and lethargic.

Verdict: Unfortunately, this tale failed to seduce or spellbind me and considering this was meant to be based off the notorious Nabokov’s, I expected that infamous passion to bleed through the page more.three-stars

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesThe City Where We Once Lived by Eric Barnes
Published by Arcade on March 6, 2018
Pages: 272
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: After climate change has irrevocably changed the world we live in, a group of individuals continues to live their day to day lives in the ruins of a crumbling city while struggling under the weight of their memories.

Thoughts: A story that’s eerily reminiscent of the world we live in today, painting a terrifying scenario of not just how the world can easily transform into a nightmare but individuals as well.

Verdict: Many have said that the post-apocalyptic genre has been overdone, but The City Where We Once Lived felt refreshingly different with its in-depth focus on the decline of humanity which also mirrored the downfall of the surrounding world.

three-half-stars

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesThe Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Published by Berkley Books on March 20, 2018
Pages: 336
Genres: MysteryHistorical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: An Inquiry Into Love and Death

Short Summary: Journalist Fiona Sheridan has been unable to shake the mystery surrounding her sisters’ death twenty years past but when new evidence arises, it uncovers the secrets of a much older mystery as well.

Thoughts: This gothic mystery (with a dual timeline to boot) is quite the engaging and well-written tale despite its more implausible bits.

Verdict: Simone St. James’ writing is most impressive considering the fact that I read this over the course of an entire month (not the book’s fault, I was on vacation for 2 weeks as well) and still managed to retain the details of the story and fall immediately back into it whenever I was able to open the pages once again.

three-half-stars

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesWe Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories by C. Robert Cargill
Published by Harper Voyager on June 12, 2018
Pages: 304
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dreams and ShadowsQueen of the Dark Things

Short Summary: A collection of ten short stories including “As They Continue to Fall”, a man who hunts angels, “Hell They Call Him, the Screamers”, a butcher that liberates souls, “Hell Creek”, dinosaurs that won’t stay dead long, and “We Are Where the Nightmares Go”, a little girl opens a door beneath her bed.

Thoughts: This was a most excellent collection of bizarre and horrific stories that included a short story he had written twenty years ago, effectively showing the evolution of Cargill’s writing from fantastic to superb.

Verdict: I’ve read a few of Cargill’s novels (Dreams and Shadows is absolutely fantastic and 100% worth checking out) but when an author excels at short fiction it always makes me sit upright. More, please!

four-half-stars

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Waiting on Wednesday – We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories by C. Robert Cargill

February 7, 2018 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 6 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories by C. Robert CargillWe Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories by C. Robert Cargill
Published by Harper Voyager on June 12th 2018
Pages: 448
Genres: Collections & Anthologies, Horror
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: Dreams and Shadows, Queen of the Dark Things, Invitation to a Bonfire, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories

From the critically acclaimed author of Sea of Rust and Queen of the Dark Things comes a hair-raising collection of short fiction that illuminates the strange, humorous, fantastical, and downright diabolical that tantalize and terrorize us: demons, monsters, zombie dinosaurs, and Death itself.

In the novella "The Soul Thief’s Son" C. Robert Cargill returns to the terrain of the Queen of the Dark Things to continue the story of Colby Stevens . . .

A Triceratops and an Ankylosaurus join forces to survive a zombie apocalypse that may spell extinction for their kind in "Hell Creek" . . .

In a grand old building atop a crack in the world, an Iraq War veteran must serve a one-year term as a punisher of the damned condemned to consume the sins of others in the hope that one day he may find peace in "In a Clean, White Room" (co-authored with Scott Derrickson) . . .

In "The Town That Wasn’t Anymore," the village of Pine Hill Bluff loses its inhabitants one at a time as the angry dead return when night falls to steal the souls of the living . . .

And in the title story, "We Are Where the Nightmares Go," a little girl crawls through a glowing door beneath her bed and finds herself trapped in a nightmarish wonderland—a crucible of the fragments of children’s bad dreams.

These tales and four more are assembled here as testament to Cargill’s mastery of the phantasmagoric, making We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories a collection of unnerving horror and fantasy will keep you up all night and haunt your waking dreams.

About C. Robert Cargill

C. Robert Cargill likes his coffee black, his hamburgers topped with fried eggs and his restaurants to be of the greasy spoon variety. Most nights, if you can find him, you’ll see him huddled in the booth of a diner, sucking down coffee as fast as the waitress can pour it, arguing with a number of other writers over something silly about which he will fight with great passion. He’s been a waiter, a video store clerk, a travel agent, a camp counselor, an airline reservation agent, a sandwich artist, a day care provider, a voice actor, and most notably, a freelance writer and film critic.

Cargill began his career with Ain’t it Cool News under the pseudonym Massawyrm, writing there for over a decade, subsequently becoming a staff writer for film.com, hollywood.com and co-founding the animated movie review site Spill.com. In the meantime he appeared on countless podcasts, webshows and in the occasional local film. During a fateful drunken night in Vegas, Cargill pitched the idea for the film SINISTER to friend and director Scott Derrickson, resulting in both the film and a screenwriting partnership between the two. When not writing films with Derrickson, Cargill spends his time writing novels and painting miniatures.

Cargill lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and (as he is contractually obligated to tell you) his dog. And really, if you find yourself in Austin, in a diner, in the middle of the night, and someone is talking way too loud, there’s a good chance it’s him.

I’m terrible and still have yet to read Sea of Rust, however, I adored both Dreams and Shadows and Queen of the Dark Things and this collection sounds like all kinds of fun.

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What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday – Sea of Rust: A Novel by C. Robert Cargill

April 12, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 12 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Sea of Rust: A Novel by C. Robert CargillSea of Rust: A Novel by C. Robert Cargill
Published by Harper Voyager on September 5th 2017
Pages: 448
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dreams and Shadows, Queen of the Dark Things, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories

A scavenger robot wanders in the wasteland created by a war that has destroyed humanity in this evocative post-apocalyptic “robot western” from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic

It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—One World Intelligence—the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One of these resisters is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep her deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although she does not (cannot) experience emotions like a human, she is haunted by the terrible crimes she perpetrated on humanity. As she roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, Brittle slowly comes to terms with her raw and vivid memories—and her guilt.

Sea of Rust is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A vividly imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a humanlike AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.

About C. Robert Cargill

C. Robert Cargill likes his coffee black, his hamburgers topped with fried eggs and his restaurants to be of the greasy spoon variety. Most nights, if you can find him, you’ll see him huddled in the booth of a diner, sucking down coffee as fast as the waitress can pour it, arguing with a number of other writers over something silly about which he will fight with great passion. He’s been a waiter, a video store clerk, a travel agent, a camp counselor, an airline reservation agent, a sandwich artist, a day care provider, a voice actor, and most notably, a freelance writer and film critic.

Cargill began his career with Ain’t it Cool News under the pseudonym Massawyrm, writing there for over a decade, subsequently becoming a staff writer for film.com, hollywood.com and co-founding the animated movie review site Spill.com. In the meantime he appeared on countless podcasts, webshows and in the occasional local film. During a fateful drunken night in Vegas, Cargill pitched the idea for the film SINISTER to friend and director Scott Derrickson, resulting in both the film and a screenwriting partnership between the two. When not writing films with Derrickson, Cargill spends his time writing novels and painting miniatures.

Cargill lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and (as he is contractually obligated to tell you) his dog. And really, if you find yourself in Austin, in a diner, in the middle of the night, and someone is talking way too loud, there’s a good chance it’s him.

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Cargill’s Dreams and Shadows books are a couple of my favorites, combining fantasy and horror in such a fantastic way. I can’t wait to see what he does with Science Fiction next.

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What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Early Review – Queen of the Dark Things (Dreams & Shadows #2) by C. Robert Cargill

March 14, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 3 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Queen of the Dark Things (Dreams & Shadows #2) by C. Robert CargillQueen of the Dark Things by C. Robert Cargill
Series: Dreams & Shadows #2
Published by Harper Voyager on May 13th 2014
Pages: 448
Genres: Fantasy, Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dreams and Shadows, Invitation to a Bonfire, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories, Sea of Rust

three-half-stars

Screenwriter and noted film critic C. Robert Cargill continues the story begun in his acclaimed debut Dreams and Shadows in this bold and brilliantly crafted tale involving fairies and humans, magic and monsters-a vivid phantasamagoria that combines the imaginative wonders of Neil Gaiman, the visual inventiveness of Guillermo Del Toro, and the shocking miasma of William S. Burroughs

Six months have passed since the wizard Colby lost his best friend to an army of fairies from the Limestone Kingdom, a realm of mystery and darkness beyond our own. But in vanquishing these creatures and banning them from Austin, Colby sacrificed the anonymity that protected him. Now, word of his deeds has spread, and powerful enemies from the past-including one Colby considered a friend-have resurfaced to exact their revenge.

As darkness gathers around the city, Colby sifts through his memories desperate to find answers that might save him. With time running out, and few of his old allies and enemies willing to help, he is forced to turn for aid to forces even darker than those he once battled.

Following such masters as Lev Grossman, Erin Morgenstern, Richard Kadrey, and Kim Harrison, Robert C. Cargill takes us deeper into an an extraordinary universe of darkness and wonder, despair and hope to reveal the magic and monsters around us . . . and inside us.

Dreams & Shadows series

Book Review – Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill

Dreams and Shadows (Dreams and Shadows, #1) by C. Robert Cargill {PurchaseMy Review}

“This is how it starts.”
“No. Hopefully this is how it ends.”

Queen of the Dark Things is the followup novel to Dreams and Shadows, a novel chock-full of magic and mystery in an alternate reality in the heart of Austin, Texas. The story picks up right where Shadows left off, with Colby reeling from the battle that occurred and the death of his friend Ewan as the result. He’s reverted back to a solitary life but is forced into action again when a friend from his past surfaces, however they are far from friends now and she poses grave danger to not only Colby himself but the very world.

‘The universe tore open and Hell spilled out, for a brief moment becoming one with the field.’

Being back again in this fantasy world of Cargill’s was fantastic. The world in Queen of the Dark Things is no less intense, no less imaginative and still full of that fanciful horror. We’re given new horrors to witness as well: The Seventy-Two, a group of demons and Fallen Angels one can only hope to never encounter, the Kutji, cursed shadows of the dead that suffered a most violent death, and the Queen of the Dark Things herself. But I’ll let the story explain her.

The story’s narrative is split between a new character named Kaycee Looes, the informative excerpts from the books by Dr. Thaddeus Ray, Ph.D. and of course Colby being the main storyteller. Colby’s strength and confidence was subtle in Dreams and Shadows and he only did what was necessary. In Queen of the Dark Things it seems he’s lost that restraint he had and is getting himself in far more trouble than is otherwise necessary. I believe the loss of Ewan truly broke Colby and his inability to save him changed everything about who he was. His melancholy was subdued but it was clear it did exist and it transformed the story and plot in a way that made it lose some of its magic for me. At this point though, I’ve become highly invested in Colby and am still interested to see his continuing character development. It’s clear there is still much more to Colby’s story and I eagerly await it.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Queen of the Dark Things by C. Robert Cargill

December 11, 2013 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 11 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Queen of the Dark Things by C. Robert CargillQueen of the Dark Things: A Novel by C. Robert Cargill
Published by Harper Voyager on May 13, 2014
Pages: 416
Genres: Horror, Urban Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dreams and Shadows, Queen of the Dark Things, Invitation to a Bonfire, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories

Screenwriter and noted film critic C. Robert Cargill continues the story begun in his acclaimed debut Dreams and Shadows in Queen of Dark Things, a bold and brilliantly crafted tale involving fairies and humans, magic and monsters—a vivid phantasmagoria that combines the imaginative wonders of Neil Gaiman, the visual inventiveness of Guillermo Del Toro, and the shocking miasma of William S. Burroughs.

Six months have passed since the wizard Colby lost his best friend to an army of fairies from the Limestone Kingdom, a realm of mystery and darkness beyond our own. But in vanquishing these creatures and banning them from Austin, Colby sacrificed the anonymity that protected him. Now, word of his deeds has spread, and powerful enemies from the past—including one Colby considered a friend—have resurfaced to exact their revenge.

As darkness gathers around the city, Colby sifts through his memories desperate to find answers that might save him. With time running out, and few of his old allies and enemies willing to help, he is forced to turn for aid to forces even darker than those he once battled.

Following such masters as Lev Grossman, Erin Morgenstern, Richard Kadrey, and Kim Harrison, Robert C. Cargill takes us deeper into an extraordinary universe of darkness and wonder, despair and hope to reveal the magic and monsters around us . . . and inside us.

Queen of the Dark Things is the follow-up to Dreams and Shadows. D&S was a crazy, horror and fantasy mash-up that was a total thrillride. Fantastically written and highly original. Admittedly, I’ve already started reading it because I snagged it off Edelweiss and I clearly have no patience to actually follow my release schedule. It’s fantastic.

Have you read Dreams and Shadows? What did you think?

What are you Waiting on this Wednesday?

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Book Review – Dreams and Shadows (Dreams & Shadows #1) by C. Robert Cargill

December 6, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 13 Comments

Book Review – Dreams and Shadows (Dreams & Shadows #1) by C. Robert CargillDreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill
Series: Dreams and Shadows #1
Published by Harper Voyager on February 26th 2013
Pages: 448
Genres: Horror, Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Queen of the Dark Things, Invitation to a Bonfire, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories, Sea of Rust

four-half-stars

A brilliantly crafted modern tale from acclaimed film critic and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill—part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Toro, part William S. Burroughs—that charts the lives of two boys from their star-crossed childhood in the realm of magic and mystery to their anguished adulthoods

There is another world than our own—one no closer than a kiss and one no further than our nightmares—where all the stuff of which dreams are made is real and magic is just a step away. But once you see that world, you will never be the same.

Dreams and Shadows takes us beyond this veil. Once bold explorers and youthful denizens of this magical realm, Ewan is now an Austin musician who just met his dream girl, and Colby, meanwhile, cannot escape the consequences of an innocent wish. But while Ewan and Colby left the Limestone Kingdom as children, it has never forgotten them. And in a world where angels relax on rooftops, whiskey-swilling genies argue metaphysics with foul-mouthed wizards, and monsters in the shadows feed on fear, you can never outrun your fate.

Dreams and Shadows is a stunning and evocative debut about the magic and monsters in our world and in our self.

‘If you remember one thing, even above remembering me, remember that there is not a monster dreamt that hasn’t walked withing the soul of man.’

Dreams and Shadows tells the tale of two young boys: Ewan, who was stolen from his family by fairies when he was a baby, and Colby, who befriended a djinn that granted wishes which changed his life forever. The fates of both become entwined the second they meet and a battle between magical forces ensues.

This could have honestly been a disastrous affair what with the strange mixture of fairies and changelings, angels and the Devil, sorcerers and genies, and the list goes on. But it’s far from a disaster. This was an absolute delight and the exact type of fantasy that I yearn for. I have to make note that despite the inclusion of angels and the Devil this is far from religious and never digs in deep to that aspect; they were just supporting characters of a sort. The characters were fictitious and fanciful but managed to be extremely well-crafted and developed. The male characters were at the very least. It didn’t occur to me until later that the female characters all seemed to be incredibly weak and only described in terms of their looks with the one exception to that statement being Ewan’s scary-as-hell mother. All in all, it’s easy to overlook because of the thrilling plot.

My least favorite aspect of the book ended up being my favorite. In addition to the story being told from three separate points of view, there are excerpts from a book titled ‘A Chronicle of the Dreamfolk’ by a Dr. Thaddeus Ray, Ph.D. They are surprisingly informative pieces on the factual aspects of this fantasy world but it’s initially unclear as to why they’re included. It’s a vital piece of the puzzle that becomes clear late in the novel so don’t skip these sections.

Dreams and Shadows is a story full of magic and mystery and outlandish horror. I so enjoyed the rawness and twisted darkness of this tale and the unique and unusual world-building that fortunately isn’t lacking in detail. Dreams and Shadows possessed a plot with room to grow and is one instance where I’m thankful for it being a series. Queen of the Dark Things is the next installment which is due out in mid-2014. I cannot wait.

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