Dreams and Shadows by Robert Cargill
A Recommended 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...
It was a time of legend, when the last shadows of the mighty Roman conqueror faded from the captured Isle of Britain. While across a vast sea, bloody war shattered a peace ...
It’s Snow White, but not as you know her... Take a wicked queen, a handsome prince, a beautiful princess, and a poisoned apple... and now read the true story of Snow ...
Downfall of the Gods
If you visit the Temple and ask nicely for forgiveness, you might get it - assuming you aren't Lord Archias and you haven't killed the Goddess's favorite musici...
Fourteen-year-old Luce reaches the Depths of Despair when she is Assaulted and left on the Cliffs outside of her Grim gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when ...
There is an ancient legend in the memories of the humans of Niwengeard, that a time will come when Darkness will fall upon the kingdoms of Earde and one will rise who threa...
Gail Carson Levine
Ella is given a blessing at birth by a very stupid fairy: She gets the gift of obedience! but the blessing turns into a horror for Ella who literally has to do what anyone ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
Downfall of the Gods
If you visit the Temple and ask nicely for forgiveness, you might get it - assuming you aren't Lord Archias and you haven't killed the Goddess's favorite musician,...
Huginn and Muninn, the Eyes of Thought and Mind; Freyr the Blade that stands alone; Mjolnir, Thunder, strength and devastator. Gods bloodied and wounded, that live and die. Ta...
Long before she was the Queen of Hearts, Catherine Pinkerton was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a fa...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself King, and traitors at every turn. The Five Kingdoms and Sarth have assembled a fleet of ships unlike any the world has ever seen and they intend to purge the Pirate Isles once a...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...
The Dog Stars
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's...