The rich language, world building, and moral questions posed make for fascinating reading. Much of the novel is dark, but hope and redemption form the bedrock of the complex characters.
Screenwriter and former film critic C. Robert Cargill’s urban fantasy novel creates a rich universe full of dangerous and fascinating characters....the world that Cargill has created here is too rich to abandon.
Dark, comedic, and unsettling, Dreams and Shadows is everything an urban fantasy sets out to be.
A potent introduction to a world where the wondrous is rarely wonderful, the best intentions are guaranteed to roam farthest astray, and the reader is destined to keep turning the pages until the (somewhat) bitter end.
Richly imagined...an auspicious debut.
"Cargill proves with Dreams and Shadows that he’s not just a writer capable of creating and presenting dense mythology well
"A thoroughly enchanting debut novel"
In this beautifully written debut, Ain’t It Cool News Web site contributor Cargill chronicles the friendship and adventures of Ewan, stolen as a baby by the fairy–goblin crossbreeds called Bendith Y Mamau, and Colby, an eight-year-old who encounters a djinn, with an unhurried storyteller style that provides total immersion. The two boys travel from the faerie lands known as the Limestone Kingdom, a realm filled with creatures of myth—Coyote, changelings, the Wild Hunt, and more—to Austin, Tex., where they must learn to navigate the often treacherous path to adulthood. Legends and faerie lore are given a dark urban twist with a raw, honest, sometimes violent edge. The universe is richly detailed, and issues of destiny and sacrifice give the story depth. Readers with delicate sensibilities should leave this one for those who enjoy a roller-coaster ride into the depths of strangeness and despair. Agent: Peter McGuigan, Foundry Literary + Media. (Mar.)
A noted screenwriter and film critic (his Sinister hits the big screen this month), Cargill launches his fiction career with the story of a supernatural world lying right up against our own, separated by only a thin veil. Ewan and Colby have been there and still remember angels, wizards, and fairies (I especially like the whiskey-toting genies). Now the magic is calling them back. Some twisty stuff here; pitched to fans of Neil Gaiman, Lev Grossman, Erin Morgenstern, and Kim Harrison and boasting a 40,000-copy first printing.
Contemporary fairies-among-us yarn; screenwriter and film critic Cargill's debut. Baby Ewan Thatcher, abducted by fairies and taken to live in the Limestone Kingdom, a magic realm outside Austin, Texas, has little idea who he really is and no idea at all why the fairies grabbed him. Young Colby Stephens, meanwhile, meets Yashar the djinni and obtains the usual three wishes, the most important of which is that Yashar make him a wizard. Yashar doesn't tell Colby that he's under a curse such that all the wishes he grants come to bad ends. The changeling left in place of Ewan, a repulsive and viciously vindictive creature named Knocks, causes Ewan's parents to kill themselves. Later, in fairyland, Knocks hatches unpleasant schemes to injure or kill Ewan, particularly after Ewan unwittingly steals Mallaidh, the fairy girl Knocks erroneously believes to be his. On the day Ewan is assured he will become a fairy, Colby and Yashar are on hand, and when they understand the fairies' true intent, they intervene. Ewan is cast out of the Limestone Kingdom and ekes out a living in Austin as a second-rate musician, with only vague memories of his time among the fairies. But this is just the beginning of a relationship that continues over the years--it's not possible to enlarge further without giving the game away--involving Austin, all manner of strange fairy creatures, hard-drinking fallen angels, Ewan's parents, Coyote the trickster god and hell itself. Exceptional worldbuilding, sure-handed plotting and well-rounded characters, even the nasty ones, abound, and the whole impressive enterprise moves smartly along through a fairy culture with a structure and motivations sharply different from that of humans. A mesmerizing and highly original debut.