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Dreams and Shadows (Dreams & Shadows #1)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  2,481 ratings  ·  486 reviews
A brilliantly crafted modern tale from acclaimed film critic and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill—part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Toro, part William S. Burroughs—that charts the lives of two boys from their star-crossed childhood in the realm of magic and mystery to their anguished adulthoods

There is another world than our own—one no closer than a kiss and one no furthe
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Harper Voyager (first published February 1st 2013)
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Jessica (Rabid Reads)
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

The first thing that the blurb for this book tells you is that Dreams and Shadows is written by an acclaimed film critic and screenwriter . . .

And you can tell.

Okay . . . But what does that mean?

Well, it means that the book is written like a TV series. Maybe even an entire season of a TV series, and b/c of that, I think I’ve figured out a quick way to test whether or not you’d like this book.

Did you like Lost? B/c Lost is:

1. Dark and twisty.

If you want to know what kind o
I did not love this book. And I've been trying to figure out why, aside from the obvious geek factor it seems like it should have been something I'd be in to, an every day world opened to magic, the grit of the streets hiding the sidhe and other creatures of the night.

The more I think about the book, however, the more I realize that I have no idea who the characters are and why I should care about them. Take Ewan (or should I say "the boy Ewan") although he is one of the main focuses of the book
Loren Dearborn
Comparing this novel to anything written by Neil Gaiman just sets you up for disappointment. Yes, the novel deals with fairy tale elements, as many of Gaiman's stories do, but this novel lacks all the delicacy and beauty of language that fans of Gaiman have come to expect. While there are some interesting characters and ideas in Dreams and Shadows, it falls far short of the high hopes one gets when hearing it compared to something Gaiman might have written.
This was like a really spooky Harry Potter tale. Quite bleak and dark, but really interesting. Two lead boys, set in Austin. I had a hard time rooting for the main characters but the world building was great and very eerie/spooky settings. A screenwriter wrote it, so it's probably gonna be a TV series, it's definitely laid out like one! Good for spooky urban fantasy enthusiasts.
Liz (The Bookish Liz)
First off, I want to say the positives first before I go into everything that went wrong with this book.

The Positives
1. One of the main characters is named Ewan...after Ewan McGregor the actor. He is so named because one of his parent's favorite nights was when they saw Trainspotting. This made me extremely happy since I am a fan of Mr. McGregor.

2. The writing is descriptive, which is nice. It does paint a fine picture in a person's head. The writing isn't what is bad with this book, but there
I’ve been mulling this book over in my head for a few hours now, trying to decide whether I like the book, or whether it is simply ‘okay’. After some deliberation, I’ve settled on the 2/5 rating.

This book is divided into two parts, and follows two protagonists, Colby and Ewan (yes, like Ewan McGregor). Commencing the unfulfilled promise of a fairy tale with “once upon a time”, the author quickly snatches the reader’s attention by ruthlessly shattering a perfect family. This is the beginning of E
When I learned that there was a modern faerie story set in Austin, TX, I was there. I love faeries and I love my former home. I certainly enjoyed reading DREAMS AND SHADOWS. It was much more fast-paced than I expected. Also, it centered around the Tithe, which is always a good bit of mythology to play with.

While DREAMS AND SHADOWS was an entertaining novel, it could be better written. Now, it's probably paling in comparison to the other adult fantasy novels I've read recently, all of which were
See this review and others like it at!

Dreams and Shadows was a surprisingly complex novel. What starts as a twisted fairytale becomes a story about one young man realizing his destiny and changing the fabric of the world. This is definitely adult fiction as it is filled with violence and death, but at its heart, it’s about growing up and how the fantasies we cling to break down as we experience the real world.

The story alternates between multiple viewpoints, most notably Co
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Library Checkout

‘If you remember one thing, even above remembering me, remember that there is not a monster dreamt that hasn’t walked withing the soul of man.’

Dreams and Shadows tells the tale of two young boys: Ewan, who was stolen from his family by fairies when he was a baby, and Colby, who befriended a djinn that granted wishes which changed his life forever. The fates of both become entwined the second they meet and a battle between magical forces ensues.

4.5 Stars I loved this story.

One of my favorite sayings is, “Be careful what you wish for.” And that saying seemed to be the overall theme of this book.

The story and plot were awesome, but the kicker was the prose. The lyrical writing style of the author was magnificent. There are moments of exposition that were better than some of the action.

From the onset this book was like “The Neverending Story” or “The Princess Bride” only with a “Twlight Zone” twist.

I felt like it was being told to me by
I loved Dreams and Shadows. I need to start reading more fantasy. It is always the imaginative reads that blow me away. I must have highlighted and wrote things down about a bajillion times while reading Dreams and Shadows, but I'm still having trouble finding the right words to describe all of my emotions toward this book.

Dreams and Shadows had a beautiful beginning that turned very dark very fast. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt when I laid my head down to sleep that first night I was going
Shelley aka Gizmo's Reviews
*Genre* Urban Fantasy
*Rating* 4.0

*I received this book as part of the Harper Voyager Super Reader program. All thoughts are my own, and no monetary compensation was offered in return for reading this book.*

*My Thoughts*

"The sum of a man isn't the things he's done, it is the world he leaves behind." Quote from Fallen Angel Bertrand to Colby.

Dreams and Shadows is one of the better books that I have had the pleasure of reading this year (2014) and I thank Harper Voyager for sharing a copy of this b
Wow, wow, wow. If this is what I have to look forward to as a Harper Voyager Super Reader, man, I have hit the jackpot. Harper Voyager can keep sending me free books in return for reviews, because this one was fantastic.

SO! This book was one of my first batch as a HVSR, and it's only random chance that I read it before any of the others. Again, wow. The jacket blurb compares it to Gaiman, and that is a -very- apt comparison. Folklore and Magic blended seamlessly with action and a flowing plot, t
Mar 09, 2013 Michael rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like being talked down to
Remember when you were six years old and you were sitting on the cold, high table in the doctor's office and the doctor came up to you with a big, insincere-looking smile, scrunched down to your level, and then asked, with greatly exaggerated inflections, "So, how are we doing today?"

That's how C. Robert Cargill sounds in most of his first novel, "Dreams and Shadows." He's talking down to you and he's speaking in kiddie language because that's how he thinks fairy tales are supposed to sound. Peo
Maya Panika
A modern day fairytale come urban fantasy set in both the solid, everyday world, and an un-seen, parallel place of supernatural creatures from a broad mix of folklores, who live, half-hidden, alongside the humans. It gets off to an explosive start, the opening is stark and tragic - though I found the childhood chapters less interesting than what followed. The childhood-in-fairyland story is fine in its way, but more conventional, less original, less intriguing than the unique vision of the secon ...more
This books does remind me of Neil Gaiman's novels, and I'm saying it in a good way. The fairy lore in the story is finely done, and the plot twists can keep you turning pages till the end. The friendship among the three main characters is finely done as well. Although I must complain that one of the MCs' awesome magical power and the reason why the faeries are all so fearful of him is never clearly explained. =__=
Wrote this as a comment but I guess it qualifies as my review -

This book was disappointing. I was pretty excited about it based on the blurb but comparing this book to the work of Gaiman or Del Toro is absurd. While there was a somewhat interesting premise it was poorly executed. The first half is entirely world building. It's disjointed and not very engaging. The second half does have a plot but its basically a mash up of a bunch of familiar story elements. I'm only going with two stars becaus
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

*Beware of Spoilers*

This book was such an interesting mix of things, I’m not even sure how to explain, but I will definitely give it my best attempt, which I hope will make sense.

This tale starts out with a wonderful little love story as we are ran through a little montage of how young Jared and Tiffany met, fell in love, got married, and went on to have a beautiful little boy that they named Ewan. But their lives are shattered when a fairy kidnaps their preci
Rating: 2.0 stars

While reading "Dreams and Shadows," I pictured this GIF over and over again:


Why? I will get to that shortly. But first, a brief message:

I was not aware that C. Robert Cargill was the writer behind the movie "Sinister" when I pre-ordered this novel. If I had been, I most likely would not have given this book a chance, as the movie was terrible. I would also like to note that claiming a writer is part Neil Gaiman and part William S. Burroughs on the blurb of the dust jacket flap m
Oct 30, 2013 heidi marked it as bored-with  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I can't. I just can't.

I have a friend who does slush reading for a horror magazine, and she says she categorically rejects stories by men that involve demon pregnancy or bad seed or demon baby stories, because they are usually horrifying in the wrong way. That's how I feel about the first five percent of this book.

First, it's a story of a weird and unnaturally good baby. Who is, of course, stolen by fairies and replaced by a changeling. The changeling is So Evil (view spoiler)
La Espada en la Tinta
La premisa es atractiva: fantasía urbana en torno al mundo feérico, con dos niños envueltos en uno de esos enredos con las hadas que tan bien saben tratar Neil Gaiman o Raymond E. Feist en su fantástico –y descatalogado– Cuento de hadas, o incluso Terry Pratchett en Lores y damas y Jack Vance en su “Trilogía de Lyonesse”. En todos estos casos nuestro mundo choca con el mundo invisible, el olvidado bestiario del folclore popular. Cargill se suma así al barco de los escritores de fantasía urbana q ...more
Aug 10, 2014 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: Kate
Dreams and Shadows, by C. Robert Cargill, is a paranormal fantasy that is worth reading. It definitely has problems, but it doesn’t deserve having the first few reviews on Goodreads being so incredibly negative.

I suspect the author has stumbled into a trap: some of those that might like this book are going to not like it with a passion — enough to write a scathing review — while those that enjoy it will struggle to put into words just why. That is because the many attributes that make this a goo
Elizabeth Moffat
I had never heard of this book until I visited the wonderful Mr B's Emporium in Bath and it was one of the recommendations as part of my Reading Spa. As soon as I saw the cover I was instantly excited, ever more so when I read the synopsis of the novel. There are many weird and wonderful fairy-tale and magical characters but beware, this is definitely not a story for younger readers. The book maps the journey of two young boys, Ewan and Colby from their childhood where the magic first begins to ...more
Disclaimer: if you have any intention of reading this and are convinced I'm a curmudgeon who wouldn't know a good book if it bit her in the ass you might not want to read this half-assed review until after you've read it yourself. But you're going to miss a great last sentence.

Anyway other than going by some dialogue towards the very end it's difficult for me to sort out what the author was trying to say with this novel in terms of themes and shit in part because of its pacing and structure.

I liked this book before I even read it, just going by description, name and cover. It seemed...magical somehow. And, sure enough, it was. I'm not a huge fantasy fan, but this book was absolutely irresistable and thoroughly spellbinding from the very beginning. A good writer will tell you a story, a great writer will create a world and let you have a peak. Cargill definitely has the makings of a great writer, his style is cinematically vivid, which is understandable due to his background with fi ...more
Rich Stoehr
I attended a jazz concert while I was reading Dreams and Shadows and it reminded me of the book - there were a lot of notes, some beautiful, some dissonant, but they didn't always make sense when played together.

Dreams and Shadows is ambitious in its scope. It opens on a tragedy - a loving couple whose infant child is kidnapped and replaced with a changeling, a twisted shadow of the human baby. Years later, a different child meets and befriends a djinn and embarks on a journey to see all the mag
Dreams and wishes can be magical and hopeful, irreversible and life changing.
One boy in this story has himself been given a choice and he chooses a path that puts himself amidst another realm, a realm of dark, mysterious and unkind creatures a world where the eye have not beheld before.
He is pitted against death, Wild Hunts and mysterious mystic ceremonies.
He finds himself in this new terrain not that of the natural world one of the supernatural and teamed up with another boy of a similar age fo
3 stars

So, I picked up "Dreams and Shadows" after the book's marketing campaign finally wormed its way into my brain. Whenever I looked up a book I enjoyed or wanted to read, there was an ad for "Dreams and Shadows".

As a children's librarian, the majority of what I read is, well, children's novels. This is not to say they are juvenile, most are quite sophisticated. Sometimes even more sophisticated than adult novels. And that is because children, tweens, teens, young adults, whatever you may c
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 meet a Jinn in the forest and makes his wish to see every miracle, every monster and every hidden creature in this world. The weary, c
This is certainly a unique sort of fantasy novel. Blending together a surprising amount of mythologies - from Irish to Native American to Arabic - gives this novel a very different and almost epic sort of feel. Broken into two parts, the first half of the novel with its young protagonists takes a long time to hit a consistent stride and pacing. Almost every chapter in this section alternates with a brief, explanatory essay on key supernatural qualities, creatures, etc. This really impacts the pa ...more
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RAOA Bibliophiles: Went to my friend's book release last night! 2 12 Mar 02, 2013 04:36AM  
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A veteran of the web, C. Robert Cargill wrote as a film critic for over ten years at Ain't it Cool News under the name Massawyrm, served as animated reviewer Carlyle on and freelanced for a host of other sites including tenures at and He is the co-writer of the motion picture SINISTER, and lives and works in Austin, Texas.
More about C. Robert Cargill...

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“If you remember one thing, even above remembering me, remember that there is not a monster dreamt that hasn't walked withing the soul of man.” 8 likes
“Monsters are very real. But they're not just creatures. Monsters are everywhere. They're people. They're nightmares...They are the things that we harbor within ourselves. If you remember one thing, even above remembering me, remember that there is not a monster dreamt that hasn't walked once within the soul of a man.” 6 likes
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