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Dreams and Shadows: A Novel Kindle Edition
Screenwriter and acclaimed film critic C. Robert Cargill makes his fiction debut with Dreams and Shadows, taking beloved fantasy tropes, giving them a twist, and turning out a wonderful, witty, and wry take on clash between the fairy world and our own.
Something is missing from Ewan and Colby’s lives. Residing in the corners of their memories is their time in Limestone Kingdom, a realm filled with magic and mystery, a world where only some may travel amongst the menagerie of mystical souls and sinister demons.
Cargill offers well-crafted characters and an absorbing, intricate plot that will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman and Lev Grossman. Dreams and Shadows pulls you into an extraordinary universe of darkness that exposes the magic and monsters in our world, and in ourselves.
From the Inside Flap
A wonderful modern tale of magic and mystery, an amazing storytelling debut
There is another world beyond our own . . .
nce bold explorers and youthful denizens of this magical realm, now Ewan's an Austin musician who just met his dream girl, while Colby cannot escape an innocent wish. But while they left the Limestone Kingdom as children, it has never forgotten them. And in a world where angels relax on rooftops, whiskey-swilling genies and foul-mouthed wizards argue metaphysics, and monsters in the shadows feed on fear, you can never outrun your fate.--MTV Geek --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B0089LOFS0
- Publisher : Harper Voyager (February 26, 2013)
- Publication date : February 26, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 1249 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 415 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0575130091
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #561,087 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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I am only 1/3rd of the way through this novel that I bought TODAY. I have not been able to put it down. I read it on the toilet seat. I read it while eating lunch. I resented having to go to the bank or shower or chop veggies, cause I had to put it down. I was a bit surprised at how this solidly hooked me in chapter one, cause if I had gone just by the first couple of pages, I might have set this book down or never bought it. But a director I like recommended it on Facebook, and it set me to reading the sample here on Amazon. A few pages in: done. The sample was enough to tell me this was a story to read. And, just like that, I Kindled it.
I really don't plan to give spoilers, but if you're someone who doesn't read samples and doesn't like anything about a book mentioned, then be warned, the mildest of spoilers ahead. Like, really mild.
This is not a happy camper story (at least so far). It wonderfully integrates various connected story lines of each character and event--be it major player or secondary character/victim-- with excerpts from pseudo-scholarly work on the Faerie, aka DreamFolk. The structure could have been annoying. But it's not. It works. And it works because of the new light shed or expansion of information given in these "non-fiction" excerpts. Sometimes, it's fills you with dread. Sometimes, heartbreakingly so. Sometimes, it clarifies.
It begins with a baby boy, Ewan, being stolen by the Fey to replace an unwanted Changeling, Knocks. The details of what happens to the babies, both horror-child and human-child, and to their parents (real and adoptive), and another boy who encounters a genie with a past...unbelievably good stuff. It was great to read the Wild Hunt. The latest Dresden Files novel had a wonderful Erl King Hunt, and this one's Hell Hunt is more detailed in the horror of the victims, and you're not gonna believe who LEADS IT.
I don't want to give more and spoil it--the whys and whos. But the threads of these children's lives are going to knot up, obviously, and there is dreadful and magical stuff yet to come. The writing is impeccable. The pacing, no quibbles. The dialogue is excellent.
If you can't handle reading gory stuff, this is not for you. The Fairy Folk are not cozy bunnies. They get down and dirty with the bloodies. But if you like your fantasy with darkness and you like your protagonist(s) in danger, and the bad folk motivated, not just lumping around being bad, then here ya go.
Will update when finished (which who knows, as I have company starting tomorrow, hence me reading like a fiend today), but I do not doubt this ride will get bumpier and better and end with a big finish. Okay, time for dinner and a bit more reading before I have to pry the story out of my hands.
Evening Update: Time for bed and I've read 2/3rds of the book. Read a few chapters out loud to hubby after dinner, so it slowed me down some. It did, indeed get better and better. Nice twists.
Early Morning Update: I never made it to bed on time. I could not until I finished. At 2-dangit-AM. And it's just as heartbreaking and terrific and resonant as I expected the ending to be. Philosophy and action. Great characterization. Tragic realism with fanciful fantasy. I truly loved the closing passages. As a Gaiman fan, I thought the comparison to his work was so much full-of-it hyperbole. Well, you know, the "voice" in this novel is different, naturally, but I enjoyed this as much as any Gaiman novel. It's magic. The World-building is fabulous. The freshness brought to old tales and fae types is welcome. Think of Charles de Lint with more Hollywood and Bloodier Claw and Tooth. And I hope, I hope, I triple hope that there is a next book to carry on the tale's world and some of its characters. Well done, Mr. Cargill. But now I'm gonna suffer come alarm-ringing time. Oh, dear. Off to bed now. Buy the book.
And you can tell.
Okay . . . But what does that mean?
Well, it means that the book is written like a TV series. Maybe even an entire season of a TV series.
So I think I’ve figured out a quick way to test whether or not you’d like this book.
Did you like Lost? B/c Lost is:
1. Dark and twisty.
If you want to know what kind of person someone is, crash them onto an (seemingly) uninhabited island with limited resources, and sit back and watch their true natures emerge. Also—LOTS of death. Lots of violent death.
2. A TV series, and thus episodic.
If you’re like me, you watched season after season of Lost, never knowing what the bloody heck was going on. You kept getting insights into what made the individual characters tick, and the action was enough to keep you enthralled and coming back for more, BUT. You never knew. What the bloody heck. WAS GOING ON.
3. Full of “coincidence.”
Almost all of the passengers on Oceanic Flight 815 were strangers.
Except they weren’t.
As events unfolded, you learned how interconnected everyone and everything was, far beyond the realm of believable randomness. Something larger was at work, something or someone, behind the scenes, pulling strings, cutting threads . . . But who? And why?
So even if you haven’t watched Lost, based on those descriptions/explanations, you should be able to determine whether or not this book is for you.
B/c it is NOT for everyone.
While no one was marooned on a tropical island, the typical Fae temperament is eerily similar to the Id-like tendencies many of the characters on Lost succumbed to when removed from civilized society.
But they’re Fae. So they’re worse.
The Fae in this book are not the lovely and benevolent Fae that are so often depicted in modern books and movies. They aren’t even the cold and indifferent Elves from LOTR, or the mostly mischievous and meddlesome (<——accidental alliteration!) with the odd malevolent creature tossed in to keep things interesting Fae that are most commonly found in PNR and UF these days.
Nope, these are nasty, cruel, and calculating Fae. Self-serving Fae. Murderous b/c it’s FUN Fae.
There are also several overt borrowings (references?) from Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lector series.
Personal Anecdotal Story Alert: Red Dragon is single-handedly responsible for my refusal to ever watch scary movies again.
The same evening that I saw the movie, I woke up inexplicably in the middle of the night (and when I say, “inexplicably,” I mean, “b/c the movie was creepy as HELL, and I wasn’t sleeping soundly anyway”), and in that mostly incoherent, but still managing to process some thought state, I registered that I couldn’t move my arm b/c it was asleep . . . But when I went to move it with my other arm, all I felt was cold, limp weight, so I FREAKED OUT, and tried to throw “it” across the room.
Tried to throw. My own arm. Across the room.
B/c it wasn’t my arm, you see. It was arm of a dead person, and it was clearly in my bed b/c Red Dragon guy was downstairs, and would come upstairs any moment to make me “become.” (And if you don’t know what “the becoming” is . . . Trust me, you don’t want to.)
True story. *facepalms self*
So when Ewan refers to the ceremony that will transform him from Changeling to full-blown Fairy as his “becoming,” I nearly lost my mind.
Then a few chapters later when one of the most feared fairies is described as skinning her victims alive:
“Then she’ll drape your skin outside over a tree branch until it dries to leather and then she’ll wear it as a belt so she can keep you close to her forever!”
Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but with two obvious similarities so close together . . . I doubt it.
And no, C. Robert Cargill was not the screenwriter for those movies. I checked.
So . . . yeah. Creeptastic.
Add to that the fact that I have only a very vague idea (that is quite possibly dead wrong) about what the Big Picture is, and well, in addition to liking your UF creepy and horrific, you’d also need to be very, very patient to enjoy this book. And I did. This kind of book isn’t my favorite, but it was still enjoyable. But a lot of people aren’t okay with having WTF?! plastered across their face the entire time they’re reading a book. And some of the people that are (like me), stop being okay when lots of pertinent information isn’t revealed in that last 10-15%. Oh, the bare bones is revealed over the course of the book: Colby = good, Fae = bad, etc., but a clear course of action to accomplish an obvious objective? Not by a long shot.
And so, fair reader, I leave the decision in your hands. *cue ominous music* Choose wisely . . .
The novel focuses on Colby and Ewan - two humans thrust into the world of fairies through mostly bad luck. Nox, a changeling, is the antagonist. He's an evil, disfigured reflection of Ewan. The best character in the novel though is Coyote - a trickster fairy. The conflicts in the novel are driven by his meddling and as the reader, you just don't know if he's good or evil as his actions could be construed as either. The characters in the book don't trust him, but keep him around anyway. He isn't a huge focus in the story, but pops up to cause trouble occasionally.
There are chapters in the book that are made to look like excerpts from a text book. These chapters relay biological and psychological information regarding different fairy species. I was initially put off by these chapters. It felt too much like reading a history or biology text book from high school. I half expected to find study guide questions following the chapters. By the end of the novel though, I found these chapters more interesting and understood their importance. Dreams and Shadows wouldn't have been quite as good without these chapters.
I really liked this novel. Though I was slightly disappointed with the ending, the story was left open for another book, which I would happily read. Mr. Cargill has created a deep and detailed fantasy world. Fans of fantasy set in the modern world will love Dreams and Shadows.
Top reviews from other countries
Sometimes it's hard to describe exactly why you enjoy a book so much, and for me this is one of them. It has flaws but I just didn't really care, it was just fun. Sometimes it edges towards horror I would say, and there were some dark moments. And there is some fantastically thought provoking dialogue too, which was interesting. I just really liked it!
However, it is well written, and the story is compelling, if not entirely well planned. There are elements that don't tie up or feel somewhat peripheral to the story. As a whole though it's enjoyable, contains a lot of interesting detail about this mythology, has an interesting protagonist and kept my attention throughout..
This is an excellent example, with strong, novel characters whose dysfunctional lives go on to collide in spectacular fashion.
Basically, its a Fairy Story for grown-ups. Involving and well written. I think it would make a great film.
I hope the author continues in this vein. I will certainly be on the lookout for his next effort.