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Dreams and Shadows

(Dreams & Shadows #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  5,127 ratings  ·  797 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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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,127 ratings  ·  797 reviews

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Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁
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
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-paranormal
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. ...more
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think I came into this with high hopes only because I knew the writer from the Doctor Strange movie and having really enjoyed Sea of Rust, but nothing quite prepared me for a full-out novel of the Sidhe. The fae folk. Changelings, a nasty Tithe, and the tricksy Coyote.

Oh, and let's not forget the other main story. Young Coby and his Jinn.

This is a very atmospheric and darkly delicious novel that really gives us the heave-ho into the whole storyline of poorly thought-out wishes, curses, and the
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a modern fairytale. A fairytale that incorporates tropes and motives well-known to any lover of folktales and myths. And yet it has that little extra that makes you not forget the familiarity of the tale, but which makes you recognize it like a long-missed friend or relative finally coming for a visit.

Set in Austin, Texas, in the here and now, we start with a love as pure as freshly fallen snow. The only problem is that such things are fragile and never last. In this case, it's not the t
Loren Dearborn
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
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
Christal (Badass Book Reviews)
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
Jul 19, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fairies, changelings, angels, djinni, and Coyote the trickster, at times it's a bit of character jumble. Improves when the author chooses a couple or three to flesh out. ...more
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 b
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
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. =__= ...more
Victoria Yang
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
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.

Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was ok
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
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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
Cold Medina
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
enjoyably haunting, refreshingly different, quite annoying at times, with fantastic prose but no real satisfying story arc or characters.
overall a hard book to rate. at times it annoyed the hell out of me and at others I absolutely loved it.
overall its probably somewhere in between a 3 or 4 stars. one that I might keep on my shelf to loan out to fabtasy fans looking for something less formulaic
J.W. Griebel
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
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
*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
Maya Panika
Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I have seriously mixed feelings about this book. When I first started it I loved it, it was full of magic and adventure, it was everything I love. Unfortunately about half way through, it decided​ to skip ahead 10 years. I really hate it when books do this. Suddenly the character I knew as an adventurous boy is all grown up. He's miserable and boring and it made me miserable reading about him. The magical​ world I loved was gone and again I was bored stiff. I tried to finish it a few times but j ...more
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
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a really great start to a fantasy series. It had so many elements combining different elements of fantasy. There are fairies, angels, jinn, and wizards. I will definitely be reading the next.
Venus Maneater
Okay so first I wanted to give this book three stars for the worldbuilding, but then again it wasn't that good. Taking folklore and planting it in a modern setting isn't new and should really be presented in a more polished way than it's presented in this book.

The dialogues are clunky and boring, unnecessary smalltalk mixed with overly detailed conversations.

Most characters are described once and spend the rest of the book behaving very OOC to their first description. They all talk the same, th
Rich Stoehr
Feb 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: amazon-vine
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
Apr 16, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Beth (bibliobeth)
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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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

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