Dreams & Shadows
by C. Robert Cargill
This is the story of Ewan, a boy stolen by the fairies as an infant, and Colby, a boy who meets a genie and makes a monumental wish. Their two stories, otherwordly in their own ways, intersect and change the course of both boys’ lives, and the delicate balance between our world and the realm of magic. This book is strange and moody and surprising. And it recognizes that all actions, even or especially magical ones, have consequences. The characters are pretty much all antiheroes, in that I wasn’t sure if I actually liked them as adults, but I found them compelling nonetheless. There’s a unique take on magic, and the interweaving of so many tales and myths in fun and tangled ways. There are the usual seelie and unseelie fairies, angels and djinn and leprechauns, old gods and new wizards.
The author lives in Austin, and a good part of the story takes place in Austin, which was another level of meta-trippy for me, living there myself. It definitely veers more towards the old Texas version of Austin than the modern tech version, but it was recognizable all the same. You don’t often see a lot of those creatures from mythology in a setting like Texas, so kudos to the author for originality. And, as I said, it was a bit surprising in parts, definitely not predictable/rote. If you’re looking for a book that is 1 part old western, 1 part adventure story, and 5 parts modern fantasy, give this a try. I also have a copy of the 2nd book in the series, and am looking forward to seeing what that has in store for the characters.
I give it 4/5 stars.
I was given a promotional copy of this book by Harper Voyager U.S. for review.