Review – Dreams and Shadows

Dreams and ShadowsWhat happens when a wish comes true? What happens when that granted wish is cursed? Colby Stevens and Ewan Thatcher meet as children, and what seems on the surface to be a needed friendship for both, actually turns out to be a harbinger of death and destruction. When Colby and Ewan reach adulthood, the world hidden behind a magical veil appears for a battle on the streets of Austin, Texas.

In Dreams and Shadows, Austin, Texas is a strange place. A place where the magical and non-magical worlds collide and where knowing where a path will lead is invaluable knowledge. This version of Austin is where we pick up the story of Ewan Thatcher and Colby Stevens, two children who meet at the fairy court in the Limestone Kingdom and whose lives are forever changed by a wish Colby made.

Ewan Thatcher was the perfect baby, wished for and loved like no other — his doting parents wanting only the best for him. When Ewan is kidnapped and replaced with a magical child doppelganger, his parents’ lives come to a dramatic close on Earth. Ewan, safely stolen away and cared for in the fairy realm, is meant to live out his fate as a sacrifice for the everlasting lives of the fairies that rule in the Limestone Kingdom.

Colby Stevens is a forgotten child of an alcoholic mother and long gone father. With no friends to speak of and little family life, he spends his days playing by himself in the nearby woods. It’s in these same woods that he meets a djinn named Yashar, and a cursed djinn at that, and makes a wish to see all there is to see. After much discussion and unsuccessful convincing by Yashar that another wish would be better, Colby gets his way and a whole torrent of problems rain down.

Colby wants to meet a fairy and as it turns out Ewan is that fairy. When the powers that be in the Limestone Kingdom find out about Yashar and Colby’s visit, they ban them from the realm but not before Colby finds out that Ewan is to be sacrificed. Going back to rescue Ewan sets off a battle that will be played out long in the future on the street of Austin. A time in the future when Colby is a hardened 22 year-old wizard working in a vintage bookstore and drinking his evenings away with fallen angels in a basement bar and shortly after Ewan finally meets the girl of his dreams and becomes the rock star he always wanted to be.

Colby starts off so innocent, but with a cursed wish, all that is gone and he spends the rest of days attempting to protect Ewan from a fate he doesn’t know about. The mythical world fears Colby not only for what he knows but what he can do and has done. Those fears have kept Austin, Texas and the Limestone Kingdom separate but that could all change with thought and a bit of meddling. And Ewan, he’s a shadow of his former magical fairy self, a self he didn’t even know existed until he was told about it. The intersection of these two lives becomes a battleground where no one is willing to concede.

To readers of fantasy I say, read this now. If you don’t think you like fantasy, read this because it will change your mind. Dreams and Shadows is thoroughly engrossing. It’s fantasy full of all the gritty details you want and need from a story like this. The setting, which seems ordinary on the surface, is perfect because it allows reality to seep into a story that brings together so many mythical elements and characters that it feels grounded. That might sound odd, but I happen to like my fantasy mixed with reality. It makes it more enticing for me as a reader. Really, I want to tell you all about this story, but this is one you need to read to see how brilliant it is.

Dreams and Shadows
C. Robert Cargill
Harper Voyager
ISBN: 9780062190420

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