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Contemporary Fantasy Review: Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill

Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill

borrowed from the library

Synopsis from Goodreads
A superb contemporary debut fantasy, a dreamlike yet visceral journey through a Faerie land like no other.

In the debut novel DREAMS AND SHADOWS, screenwriter and noted film critic C. Robert Cargill takes us beyond the veil, through the lives of Ewan and Colby, young men whose spirits have been enmeshed with the otherworld from a young age.

This brilliantly crafted narrative - part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Torro, part William Burroughs - follows the boys from their star-crossed adolescences to their haunted adulthoods. Cargill's tour-de-force takes us inside the Limestone Kingdom, a parallel universe where whisky swilling genies and foul mouthed wizards argue over the state of the metaphysical realm. Having left the spirit world and returned to the human world, Ewan and Colby discover that the creatures from this previous life have not forgotten them, and that fate can never be sidestepped.

With sensitivity and hopeful examination, Cargill illuminates a supernatural culture that all too eerily resembles our own. Set in a richly imagined and constructed world, complete with its own richly detailed history and mythology, DREAMS AND SHADOWS is a deeply engaging story about two extraordinary boys becoming men.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


* * *
 It's an extremely beautiful, strange, terrifying and addictive read. I have a feeling that the author managed to grasp the essence of old fairy tales and distill it into this story.

I would call it a contemporary fantasy, because it's not what we're used to seeing in our urban fantasy, and it describes the life and destiny of two human boys.

Colby is eight when he meets a Jinn in the forest and makes his wish to see every miracle, every monster and every hidden creature in this world. The weary, cursed jinn tries to persuade him to take on an easier wish, but like all stubborn eight year olds, Colby would not change his mind. The couple of such unlikely companions starts their long journey into the world of magic, angels and dragons.

Ewan on the other hand grows up as an enchanted child in a fairy forest, snatched from the cradle, replaced by a changeling, who drives his mother and father to their deaths. He does not know that he is a fairy sacrifice to the devil they make every seven years to keep their immortality. Fae world surrounding him is brutal and deadly to the humans, but Ewan grows up surrounded by love and completely unaware of his pre-destined death.

Enter the unknown chaos particle, - Colby. He meets him on his travels and two boys quickly become friends, but when Colby finds out that Ewan is going to die, he does everything in his power to prevent this.

Years later as young men both weary Colby and miserable Ewan are still friends, but only Colby remembers why, as fairy magic wiped Ewan's early memories. However you can't cheat your destiny and you can't cheat Jinn's curse, and one wily Coyote sets a catastrophic chain of events in motion to resolve the situation to his satisfaction.

To be honest, this book was a terrifying, at times, chilling and fascinating read. It felt like a mosaic was slowly being built together and suddenly you could see the whole picture in what felt like chaos before.

Dreams and Shadows is an undeniably brilliant debut from C. Robert Cargill and I wish with all my heart that he continues writing powerful stories like this one for many more years to come. A must read.

* * *
Сны и Тени напомнила мне старые, страшные, тёмные и кровавые сказки. Совершенно невероятный, прекрасный и тшательно выписанный дебют от С. Роберта Каргилла, пропускать который я вам категорически не советую.

Сны и Тени рассказывает о жизни двух мальчишек, Колби и Юана. 

В восемь лет Колби встречает старого, проклятого джинна в лесу и загадывает своё желание - увидеть всё скрытое от людского глаза в этом мире. Яшар, джинн, пытается отговорить мальчика от такого страшного дара, но Колби упирается, и пара уходит в далёкие странствия в поисках фэ, призраков, ангелов, демонов и драконов.

Юан украден из колыбели младенцем и заменён на подкидыша, который доводит его мать и отца до самоубийства. Тем временем Юан растёт среди королевства фэ, не подозревая, что каждые семь лет фэ вынуждены приносить в жертву дьяволу человеческого ребёнка, превращённого в фэ, чтобы продлить свою бессмертную жизнь.

Колби и Юан встречаются и становятся друзьями, и когда Колби узнаёт от своего джинна, что Юана собираются убить, он делает всё, что в его силах, чтобы спасти своего друга.

И вот годы спустя молодые мужчины Колби и Юан живут в одном городе. Колби - уставший и постаревший раньше своих лет от груза своих знаний, и Юан - несчастный, потому что волшебство фэйри стёрло его память о первых семи годах жизни и паренёк сам не знает, что он пытается найти в его серой незначительной жизни.

Однако обмануть судьбу и проклятье джинна не так то просто, и один хитрый Койот со скрытыми целями запускает  в жизнь череду катастрофических событий, что перевернут жизни двух друзей и вернут всё на свои места.

Невероятная просто книга, временами устрашающая, мудрая и пронзительно прекрасная. Очень, очень советую.


Blodeuedd said...

Hm...not sure what to think about this one

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

It's very good, Blodeuedd :)

Maria Behar said...

Very nice overview of this book, Kara! The plot is certainly something I've never encountered before in the fantasy genre. Although you say it's terrifying at times, my curiosity is piqued, thanks to your excellent review! I think I might take a stab at this one! Thanks for your thoughts!! :)

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

It's a beautiful book, Maria, and I hope you read it!

Salomé said...

I've added this to my to-read list now.

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