Dreams and Shadows by Robert Cargill
Book of the Month
I really enjoyed the debut novel from C Robert Cargill. The novel focuses on the lives of two boys, Ewan and Colby. Both boys have a fantastical journey ahead of them, Ewan is stolen by fairies from his parents at an early age by a specialist child stealing fairy (Dithers) and Colby meets a djinn (Yashar) who agrees to grant him wishes which leads him to see the world.
The sound of “fairy story” does make you think of young children’s story but the fairies in this novel are not for the faint-hearted and include in their number some thoroughly despicable characters.
Cargill’s characterisation is very strong within the book. Amongst the fairy world of the Limestone Kingdom Bill the Shadow is a favourite of mine and Knocks and his Red Caps are great villains and antithesis to Ewan. What is important to the novel and done very well by Cargill is the development of Colby and Ewan’s characters through the book which culminates in what their linked destinies hold for them.
The chapter length is good and this aids the pace of the book. Cargill makes use of chapters that provide information on the fairy world as a reference material between the action. I felt this was a useful tool to build on the previous chapter and also explain some of the details of what went before the narrative of the previous chapter.
In my view the novel would suit a TV or film adaptation (no surprise as Cargill is a screen writer as well) due to the twists and turns of the narrative, the strong collection of individual characters and the tension that is increased through the book.
I also have to mention the amazing cover art which reflects perfectly the feel of the otherworldly story.
A very strong debut.
Joe Warren, 9/10
Dreams and Shadows is a book of two parts, the first regarding the meeting and friendship of two boys. One boy, Ewan, lives with the fairies (Sidhe) of Limestone Kingdom, where he has never experienced a normal human childhood. The second boy, Colby, was a fairly average child until he met the Djinn Yashar and so began his adventure. The first part of the book focuses on the loss of childhood innocence while he second moves into the future and is about living with the consequences of your actions.
I really enjoyed the structure of this story, from the changing of the character’s perspective to the gaining of more understanding about the world we are encountering from excerpts from the books of Dr Thaddeus Ray. This is a story that includes everything from Heaven (Fallen Angels) to Hell (The Wild Hunt) - if you can imagine it, it’s probably in here.
As half of this book is written from two seven year old boys’ perspectives you can appreciate everything they feel, everything that isn’t explained to them about how the world around them works. Yet at the same time there is a maturity found here when they have to deal with the terrors around them. Dreams and Shadows also focuses on the different kinds of relationships people and fairies have with each other, the love and despair of family life, the kinship between friends that can bind you for life and the oaths and vows you make to protect yourself and other people.
This novel begins with a perfect love story and yet this isn’t about the love story, there are no happy endings here, instead this is a dark tale where bad things happen to the characters involved. Sometimes this can simply be because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Have you ever read older versions of fairy tales? The ones where bad things happen to people who don’t know the rules and fairies aren’t all sweetness and light? If you have and you loved them, then this is the story for you... if you haven’t read those tales then you should read Dreams and Shadows anyway as you might just be surprised.
Michelle Herbert, 9.5/10
Have you read Dreams and Shadows?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Dreams and Shadows reader reviews
9.3/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Once And Future King
Once upon a time, a young boy called “Wart” was tutored by a magician named Merlyn in preparation for a future he couldn’t possibly imagine. A future in w...
The Princess Bride
Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So when she hears that his...
Liga raises her two daughters in the safe haven of an alternative reality, a personal heaven granted by magic as a refuge from her earthly suffering. But the real world can...
The Brides of Rollrock Island
Rollrock island is a lonely rock of gulls and waves, blunt fishermen and their homely wives. Life is hard for the families who must wring a poor living from the stormy seas...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatur...
The Deverry Cycle
In a world outside reality, a young girl's spirit hovers between incarnations, knowing neither her past nor her future. In the temporal world lives Nevyn, who long ago ...
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
Sybel is just sixteen when she is given a baby to raise. Born and brought up on Eld Mountain, with only the fantastic creatures called there by wizardry as playmates, she k...
Maddy Smith has always been an outsider. Born with a rusty-coloured rune on her hand - what the villagers call a ruinmark - she is scarred by this symbol of the old gods, a...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: