“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.” (On Amazon)
Dreams and Shadows: A Novel was rather annoying to read to be honest. I had a difficult time getting into it as a result. Let’s start by giving you a basic rundown of the idea of it. We have a Djinn friends with a boy named Colby. Colby wishes to see all the paranormal aspects of the world and gets his wish and more. He encounters a boy named Ewan and is determined to save him from his fate. Ewan had been kidnapped as a child by faeries as a baby and replaced by a rather deformed changeling called Knocks. Ewan is raised by the faeries and he doesn’t realize they have a very specific reason for doing so. Colby wishes to be a wizard in order to save Ewan. The story then jumps forward fourteen years. Colby is rather tormented and worn down by the sights he has seen. Ewan has forgotten all of his old life… until he is reminded of them.
What is discordant about reading this novel are the frequent stops for these essays to explain facets of the world of the supernatural. They go into some detail or another about a myth in scholarly essay format. I don’t think they were necessary and they jolt you out of the story. I found that to be rather annoying to be honest. I found myself wanting to skip them and instead just skimmed them. For this alone it made it a frustrating read.
I also didn’t like the massive jump into the future. Again I found it to be too much of a jolt. It is like two small novels. Even though they intersect I just found the way the novel is put together to be annoying.
It is at times brutal and interesting. Other times slow and dull. It took me a bit to get into it and to get through it to be honest. I read a few other books in-between and that is always a sign of a book I am really not enjoying. However, not like I tossed it in disgust. I did have an interest in what happened to the main characters in the end but not a strong one.
“There are a few sounds in this world more terrifying than the thunderous onset of the Wild Hunt… It is the sound of the damned that some say are the echoes of Hell, reminding the riders that their stay in our world is short…Hearing the strikes of the hooves and the howls and horns of the riders means one shall experience the coming disaster firsthand. Seeing the riders, however, means almost certain death,” (103-104)