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Dreams and Shadows: A Novel by [Cargill, C. Robert]
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Dreams and Shadows: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 173 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Imagine there are two worlds, the natural world and that of the supernatural. Further, imagine they are separated by a gossamer veil. Lastly, imagine two boys, Ewan and Colby, from the natural world who find themselves in the supernatural, and you have the premise of this epic fantasy. Shortly after the two boys meet, however, they are returned to the natural world where they grow up, Ewan to become a musician and Colby to become a bookstore clerk and something more: a wizard! In due course, the supernatural and natural worlds will mesh with, well, catastrophic results. Cargill’s first novel is replete with a bewildering variety of fairies and a sometimes bewildering amount of philosophizing that occasionally retards the action of an otherwise dynamic story. However, Ewan and Colby are both likable characters who invite the reader’s empathy, and the setting of the supernatural world is richly imagined. All in all, an auspicious debut, the closing pages of which seem to promise, duh, a sequel. --Michael Cart


“A potent introduction to a world where the wondrous is rarely wonderful, the best intentions are guaranteed to roam farthest astray, and the reader is destined to keep turning the pages until the (somewhat) bitter end.” (BookPage)

“Hard to put down…definitely going to attract readers of contemporary fantasy, particular those who enjoy Neil Gaiman’s adult books or Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.” (Library Journal)

“Richly auspicious debut.” (Booklist)

“Thoroughly enchanting.” (

“Dark, comedic, and unsettling, Dreams and Shadows is everything an urban fantasy sets out to be.” (

“Cargill proves with Dreams and Shadows that he’s not just a writer capable of creating and presenting dense mythology well...but that he is also a talented storyteller with a visual sense about his prose that edges on riveting.” (Breitbart/ Big Hollywood)

“The rich language, world building, and moral questions posed make for fascinating reading. Much of the novel is dark, but hope and redemption form the bedrock of the complex characters.” (SFRevu)

“Screenwriter and former film critic C. Robert Cargill’s urban fantasy novel creates a rich universe full of dangerous and fascinating characters....the world that Cargill has created here is too rich to abandon.” (MTV Geek)

“Exceptional worldbuilding, sure-handed plotting and well-rounded characters, even the nasty ones, abound, and the whole impressive enterprise moves smartly along through a fairy culture with a structure and motivations sharply different from that of humans. A mesmerizing and highly original debut.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“In this beautifully written debut.... The universe is richly detailed, and issues of destiny and sacrifice give the story depth…for those that enjoy a rollercoaster ride into the depths of strangeness and despair.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

Product Details

  • File Size: 1170 KB
  • Print Length: 467 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (February 26, 2013)
  • Publication Date: February 26, 2013
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089LOFS0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,506 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I attended a jazz concert while I was reading 'Dreams and Shadows' and it reminded me of the book - there were a lot of notes, some beautiful, some dissonant, but they didn't always make sense when played together.

'Dreams and Shadows' is ambitious in its scope. It opens on a tragedy - a loving couple whose infant child is kidnapped and replaced with a changeling, a twisted shadow of the human baby. Years later, a different child meets and befriends a djinn and embarks on a journey to see all the magic the world has to offer. From these two beginnings, a story of friendships and rivalries and violence and love unfolds.

And here's where it gets complicated.

From Ewan, the kidnapped child now living in the fairy realm, to Knocks, the changeling tasked with replacing him and now rejected by both humans and fairies, to Colby, the child-turned-sorcerer who seeks to protect his friend, to Yashar, the genie who is Colby's companion and sometime helper, to Coyote the trickster to the nixies to the drunken angels to the redcaps to the seelie and unseelie to... too much? That's pretty much how I felt while reading it!

To be fair, Cargill makes the attempt here to get away from the cliched tropes of fantasy characters, and is somewhat successful. Most of us have read about fairies and genies and magic, and in 'Dreams and Shadows' we at least see a new take on all of these things, and how they come together to form a tapestry of story. But that tapestry is showing its wear, and all too often the maker feels the need to make his mark on it when just letting it spin itself would have worked better.
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Format: Hardcover
In DREAMS AND SHADOWS, Austin, Texas is a strange place. It's where the magical and non-magical worlds collide, and knowing where a path will lead is invaluable knowledge. This version of Austin is where we pick up the story of Ewan Thatcher and Colby Stevens, two children who meet at the fairy court in the Limestone Kingdom and whose lives are forever changed by a wish Colby made.

Ewan Thatcher was the perfect baby, wished for and loved like no other, his doting parents wanting only the best for him. When Ewan is kidnapped and replaced with a magical child doppelganger, his parents' lives come to a dramatic close on Earth. Ewan, safely stolen away and cared for in the fairy realm, is meant to live out his fate as a sacrifice for the everlasting lives of the fairies that rule in the Limestone Kingdom.

Colby Stevens is a forgotten child of an alcoholic mother and long-gone father. With no friends to speak of and little family life, he spends his days playing by himself in the nearby woods. It's in these same woods that he meets a djinn named Yashar, and a cursed djinn at that, and makes a wish to see all there is to see. After much discussion and unsuccessful convincing by Yashar that another wish would be better, Colby gets his way and a whole torrent of problems rain down.

Colby wants to meet a fairy, and as it turns out, Ewan is that fairy. When the powers that be in the Limestone Kingdom find out about Yashar and Colby's visit, they ban them from the realm, but not before Colby finds out that Ewan is to be sacrificed. Going back to rescue Ewan sets off a battle that will be played out long into the future on the street of Austin.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I selected this book because it was being touted as perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Lev Grossman. Well I love Neil Gaiman and I like Lev Grossman's Magicians series enough, so I should be the target audience for this one, right? Well, I suppose I can see why they feel that anyway but it just didn't do it for me. The problem, for me anyway, is that it starts out promising and then... It just started to feel like a chore to read this sucker. As in, since I got this through Vine as opposed to purchasing it, I really had to review it and I didn't want to say "I couldn't finish this" as I have yet to do that, if I say I'll read and review your book, I will, even if my heart isn't in it... and mine was not in this one at all -- I latched onto any and every distraction I found while reading this as an excuse not to read.

The thing is, I really should have loved this book. It's got fairies (not all of them are nice), it's got dijnn (yup wishes are granted), angels, demons, it's got a bar for such creatures to gather, it's got precocious human children all mixed up with these supernatural beings (namely two of them - Ewan who was forced into their world and Colby who all but begged to be a part of it).

The first half of the book follows these two boys in their younger years. Ewan is raised by the fairies and is told that he will be made a fairy upon reaching a certain age, he'll be quite special. Colby, in discovering their world, learns that they haven't been quite honest with Ewan about what his role in the fairy world is. This leaves Colby to figure out how to fight against a whole world of magic while he's just one boy with a dijnn by his side.

Then there's the second half of the book - The two human boys are now young men.
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