Dreams and Shadows by C Robert Cargill

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Dreams and Shadows by C Robert Cargill

Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
Reviewed by Loralei Haylock
Summary: One of the weirdest books I've ever read, in a really, really good way. As strange at times as the characters within its pages, but ultimately satisfying and an excellent exploration of the delights and horrors of the fairy world. Superb reading, highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: February 2013
Publisher: Gollancz
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0575130098

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Once upon a time, a sweet boy met a sweet girl and they fell perfectly in love. Their love is rich and fulfilling and true. They did what people in love do: moved in together, got married, had a baby. And then something most people don't believe exists crawls into their house through an open window and exchanges their perfect baby for a changeling. It's the start of something bigger than even the switcher can begin to imagine.

Meanwhile, a cursed Djinn needs a young boy to remember his name. Colby Stevens dreams of all the toys he can wish for in exchange for the service of remembering, but when his moment comes, he makes a very different wish indeed - a wish to see everything that men are not supposed to: the things that live beyond the veil.

Dreams and Shadows is one of the weirdest books I've ever read. In a really, really good way. I'm a big fan of the paranormal and of fairies, but I don't think I've ever read a book that captures the vast range of different fairy species, or their inherent malice quite so well.

There are no nice fairies here - even the ones that mean well drive their unwitting victims to an early grave, dancing them off cliffs or rodeoing them to death. These are fairies that feed on the suffering of human beings and hunt them down without a second thought. With often gruesome consequences.

The viewpoint alternates between several key characters and extracts from a book about Fairies, which ought to feel forced and expositiony, but because the world and the characters Cargill creates are so interesting, you don't mind the odd chapter of back story and explanation of the particular breed of fairy you just encountered. The wide scope of viewpoints covered again, ought to feel discordant and jumpy, but really, that's the point. The senselessness of the cruelty of some of the creatures helps to add colour to the rich world Cargill paints, and everything ultimately weaves together in a thunderous finale full of all the violence and bloodshed you come to expect.

All in all, this was a fantastic book - as strange at times as the characters within its pages, but ultimately satisfying and an excellent exploration of the delights and horrors of the fairy world. Superb reading, highly recommended.

Though a very different kettle of fish in many ways, the vividness of the world and mythology of Dreams and Shadows reminded me at times of A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin.

If you're interested in finding more about fairies and other paranormal creatures featured, try A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits by Carol and Dinah Mack.

Buy Dreams and Shadows by C Robert Cargill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dreams and Shadows by C Robert Cargill at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Dreams and Shadows by C Robert Cargill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dreams and Shadows by C Robert Cargill at Amazon.com.


Booklists.jpg Dreams and Shadows by C Robert Cargill is in the Top Ten Fantasy Books of 2013.

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