Friday, June 28, 2013

Dreams and Shadows Review

Dreams and Shadows - C. Robert Cargill


First, I just want to say that I think we've reached a saturation point in regards to books about fairy/faerie/faery and whatever other spellings there may be. I mean, the whole seelie/unseelie/Tithe thing has be come a bit, at least in my humblest of opinions, overdone. Particularly as most of these books seem to follow similar plot lines.

However, it's a little hard to describe the plot of this book in particular because I feel like it was never quite fully fleshed out and while there was definitely a lot of sequential action, the exact point of the story isn't immediately apparent. Part of me thinks Cargill was just jamming every supernatural creature he could think of--changelings, djinn, redcaps, Sidhe, nixies, angels, Coyote...--into one story and then come up with something for all of them to do. He even references "the La Llorona", which awkwardly translates to "the the Weeping Woman".

Back to the story: a child named Ewan is stolen from his human parents and replaced by dastardly changeling named Knocks, meanwhile a child named Colby runs into a djinn named Yashar and makes some poor choices in wishes. Eventually they all end up together and become embroiled in a violent revenge plot.

In terms of world building, Cargill does a pretty good job. As I mentioned before, stories about Fairy Land, called the Limestone Kingdom in this book, are nothing new, but Cargill still manages to make the world his own. So kudos to him for that. The problem, is that there isn't quite enough plot to support that world. Knocks, as the villain, was probably to best fleshed out character, who's motivations were the most thorough and believable. However, the other aspects, Ewan and Mallaidh's romance along with Ewan and Colby's bromance, weren't really given enough description and time to grow and felt more like rather than showing us Ewan and Colby's deep-felt, decade-spanning friendships, we're simply told, "oh by the way, they're BFFs now." As for the side characters, their motives and actives are also given poor explanation, and where they are explained, the reasons aren't terribly substantial.

That all said, it was an entertaining read. There's a fair amount of disembowelment, dismemberment, decapitation, so depending on how you generally feel about violent books, may or may not be your thing. Personally, I've read so many violent books at this point I didn't really give it a second thought, but I had read some other reviews where people were complaining, so I figure I ought to give a fair warning.

I suppose it's a good read for those fans of Faerie who haven't quite gotten sick of the genre yet. Otherwise, it's nothing to race off to the library for. 2.5/5 Fancies.   

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