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Queen of the Dark Things

(Dreams & Shadows #2)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,518 ratings  ·  183 reviews
Screenwriter and noted film critic C. Robert Cargill continues the story begun in his acclaimed debut Dreams and Shadows in this bold and brilliantly crafted tale involving fairies and humans, magic and monsters-a vivid phantasamagoria that combines the imaginative wonders of Neil Gaiman, the visual inventiveness of Guillermo Del Toro, and the shocking miasma of William S. ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 15th 2014 by Gollancz (first published May 13th 2014)
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Andy My understanding was that Colby didn't need to get on the horse to transport with Seere, he just had to have a hand or something touching the horse to…moreMy understanding was that Colby didn't need to get on the horse to transport with Seere, he just had to have a hand or something touching the horse to transport. Seere is basically saying that he got a kick out of Colby thinking he actually had to get on the horse to be able to move through time and space with Seere. (less)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book about Dreams and Shadows that is (mostly) set in Austin, Texas. After the heartbreaking events at the end of book 1, we are now looking at the devastation 6 months later.
Colby isn't doing so well. Guilt-ridden, he can't get over the fact that (view spoiler) despite his best efforts. It doesn't help that he is treated as the villain by almost everybody else.
Into this "relaxed" atmosphere comes a woman seeking his help
What can I say? I'm a HUGE FAN of Cargill.

The first book in the Dreams & Shadows was freaking brilliant, full of fae and magic, jinn and coyote. All the dark things were front and center. The eating and the eaten. Colby the little kid and Colby the adult was brilliant.

This second book carries Colby along his destiny. Extraordinary magician, keeper of Austin, TX, bane of the fae, drinker of the not quite great hooch. He does what he does for good reasons and yet he's proven himself one of the da
Angela R.
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fantasy
This is one of those times when I wish that I myself was an author, so that I could be better with words. I don't know that I can do justice to this amazing novel with my review. Queen of the Dark Things is book 2 in the series, which usually means a disappointing "blah" experience after a promising start in book 1. However, this author manages to top his previous excellence with an even more addicting experience. This is one of those books that I literally COULD NOT PUT DOWN until I reached the ...more
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 13th 2014 by Harper Voyager
I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“This is how it starts.”
“No. Hopefully this is how it ends.”

Queen of the Dark Things is the followup novel to Dreams and Shadows, a novel chock-full of magic and mystery in an alternate reality in the heart of Austin, Texas. The story picks up right where Shadows left off, w
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reality-based fantasy is a rough genre for me. When you have fairies and trolls and wizards and Keeblers operating in real-life places and interacting with "normal" people, the tropes that we accept in more fantasy-based fantasy look less like the fantastic and more like the lazy. Gandalf shows up in Lord of the Rings, casts some Deusicus Exicus Machinacus bullshit, and we just nod and turn the page, because the whole POINT of fantasy is that anything can happen. It's fantastic!

But in order to h
Jillian Mcclelland
I'll admit, this series holds a special little place in my heart. Is it the most prosaic of all fantasy books? No. Does it have the largest and most complex world? Nope. But are the characters well-developed and do they resonate emotionally? Oh, yes. Colby Stevens is one of my favourite tragic heroes for the simple reason that he believes he is doing the right thing. But in the world he's made himself part of, the right thing is not anything what he's trying to do.

I wrote a fairly complete revie
Natasha L.
While Dreams and Shadows was not a particularly good book, it was at least entertaining, a fun read. Queen of the Dark Things has a weaker plot, and about fifty percent of the text revolves around conversations that go in circles, with witty (and not so witty...) back and forths that provide little key information and even less pleasure. The dialogue is simply overinflated and weak. How many bar scenes with demons and other supernatural creatures do we need? Why does this magical world feel susp ...more
This book isn't as great as the first book of the series Dreams and Shadows but I like how it takes on faerie lore, myths and supernatural creatures. The author, Mr. Cargill really did build a world full of imagination whilst basing his world upon ancient folklore and myths.

Most of the characters are doing great, really; although by the middle of the book the story starts to get a bit dragged and losing a bit of its focus--too many sub-plots, too many supernatural creatures showing up, too many
Jessica Adams
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the 2nd book. Not sure if there’s to be another. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it as much as the first when I started reading , but this author really is a magician. The way everything gets introduced and wound together, only to be sling- shorted loose the last 150 pages or so. Completely brilliant. Loved it.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant - just brilliant. This is largely a placeholder review (which I will forget to ever change, so y'know, just read the first three words again.) ...more
Stephanie Griffin
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The sequel to DREAMS AND SHADOWS, this follows Colby as he engages with a young Dreamwalker in an otherworldly Australia. While not quite as good as the first book, it kept me interested.
May 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I want to preface this: I know C. Robert Cargill personally, I've worked with his wife on photo projects and I was a part of (I was a member of the League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen) and he does a podcast with a good friend of mine. So I'm not exactly unbiased here.

Plus: I live in Austin. I love seeing my town in fiction. Especially when the author captures the magic of it.

All that out of the way: this was kind of a mixed bag for me. Cargill is good at creating plots and chara
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are writers who make you look at the world a little differently, but there are vey few who actually help you see the world as a different place
after reading their stories. Colors are somehow brighter and the light falls a little bit differently. I once came across the question where does the light from dreams come from and now I know it's from writers like C. Robert Cargill. They see the light and then they write about it making it a little bit brighter every time. Like his character Colby
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The end of the first book Dreams and Shadows left me in a fury. I needed to know what was going to happen with Colby after the loss of his best friend, Ewan, but I had to wait a whole year to find out, however this one gave me everything I wanted and more. We find the wizard Colby wallowing in guilt, we meet the avatar for the city of Austin and a young Australian girl caught in the web of demons and blaming Colby for putting her there. It will take all of Colby’s wizard skills and a ton of tric ...more
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved the first book and this follow up definitely lived up to it. Cargill has a dark dark imagination. He has built a world filled with magical creatures and demons full of not just a well thought out mythology but a science system of sorts and sll this sitting alongside our own world. The evilness flowing through this world alongside an extremely interesting main character, Colby Stephens , coming together in a fantasticaly well planned plot results in a brilliant book. The new demons appear ...more
Could read it stand-alone, but lots of references to the events of Dreams and Shadows. If you liked Dreams and Shadows, you'll probably like this one as well. Some of the plot didn't make a lot of sense to me, but learning a bit of Australian mythology/folklore made it a worthwhile read ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this, which was a bit of a surprise, to be honest. I read and enjoyed CRC's Sea of Rust, which was a well-paced and occasionally thought-provoking action thriller in science fiction garb, so chanced my arm with this. I only realised afterwards that this is actually a sequel to the author's very first novel, but it stood on its own two feet very capably.
Fantasy written in a present-day setting is not normally my thing, as it has to utilise the invisible and dream worlds to s
Rebecca Brown
After reading his debut novel, ‘Dreams and Shadows’, I was very eager to jump back into the mystical world created by C. Robert Cargill. This sequel is perhaps not as strong as the previous entry but it does make up for it with its ambition.

Once again we follow Colby Stevens as he navigates the dangerous world of magic and monsters that hides in plain site in Austin, Texas. We also get to see one of Colby’s adventures he had with Djinn, Yashar when he was a child, taking him to Australia where w
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's funny that on my review of the first book, Dreams & Shadows, my main complaint was that there was a flash-forward and we missed out on the early years of Colby as a young wizard. Well, we get plenty of that in this book.

Well, what insight we get of a young Colby is mainly via flashbacks, but it was enough to give us a background as to what kind of things shaped Colby into the adult that he is for the majority of the two books. But, that's not the point of the book, though.

This book starts o
Judith Moore
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review (and more ) up on my blog:

This was such an odd moment for me. I actually liked the sequel more than I liked the first book? How often does that happen? I genuinely can’t think of an example…maybe let me know if you can.

Where the first book was tied into a lot of Irish and English folklore, this book actually looks a lot more at the folklore from the Aboriginal people of Australia. While this does obviously create some issues as to the sensitivity of the way thes
Olly Dixon
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back in 2017, my closest friend loaned me a copy of Dreams and Shadows and it was the book that changed my life. I had only ever read one book to completion before then. One book, in 21 years. Dreams and Shadows made me rediscover reading in a way that I never thought words on paper could do. And this, Queen of the Dark Things, is the work of wonder continued. When I finished Dreams and Shadows, I immediately placed an amazon order for Queen of The Dark Things. But I had to leave it a little whi ...more
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
I bought this ages ago and ummed and aahed about reading it...I just wasn't sure I was in the mood for a heavy dose of dystopian and bleak urban myth. In hindisight, I was denying myself an excellent read.

I've seen others write that this book is darker than Dreams & Shadows. I don't think it is any darker; if anything, the opposite, because it is not so bleak. You don't have any of the 'red caps' in this story - a faerie creation that oozes malice - or the changeling, an even more malicious crea
Annabelle Heath
I really enjoyed C. Robert Cargill's debut effort, Dreams and Shadows, with its creepy fairies and fascinating world building. To be honest, I thought it was a standalone work, so it was a pleasant surprise to find there was a book two.

The second book moves away from the fairies and into demons, and although I miss the creepy, horrible fairies, the multitude of demonic creatures more than fill the gap.

Everything that made the first book great is here again in spades - the world Colby lives in is
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this because the first book of the series was rather nice. And I figured what the hell, let's give this a try. And I am glad I did: I think this might actually be better than the first one. Or better than my memories of the first one (no, I did not check what sort of a review I wrote for that one). And yet... I felt like it was partly one of those "oh so that sold nicely, let's see what I can come up with" stories, with the references to time periods that were kind of mentioned in the ...more
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
It could have been a 4, it could also have been a 2. 3 is my compromise and here's why.

It is exquistly written in places, particularly the parts set in the Australian outback. It has a clever engrossing story and a stunning depth of landscape. So, what is the problem?

The female characters. It could well just be me but I found them two dimensional, no depth, very little heart and virtually no personality. Every one of them is decribed solely by their looks - in relation to how attractive they a
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with Dreams and Shadows (the first book in this series) a couple of years ago, and I can't believe it took me so long to get to the second.

The story of Colby Stevens is the perfect mix of brutal reality and dark fantasy. In a world where things can be dreamed into and out of existence, every choice made has serious consequences, and the culmination of Colby's choices draws together beings from a vast range of different countries and cultures.

I found the exploration into Australia
May 29, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I rarely, rarely DNF. But I got to about 3 hours to go, and listened to an hour that was like belly crawling forward on broken glass. I had to listen in tiny clips until I couldn't bear it, and turned it off, took a break to read two other books, came back to this one, still could not finish it. I do not care who kills who at this point. They can all die, I wouldn't care. I felt like he had a lot of folklore from very disparate places and traditions and tried to string it all together. You start ...more
Cameron Ward
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am loving the writing of C. Robert Cargill. I like the characters and I like the story. I did find a couple of times predicting what was happening next, but that didn't affect my enjoyment of the story. My only criticism of the story (maybe mild spoilers, if you haven't read the first book?) is that many times something needed to be explained to give the readers context, the main character (Colby) would say "I don't understand," and then another character would lay things out for him. This wor ...more
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was given to me generously by the author as part of a goodreads giveaway. I must first confess when I entered the giveaway I didn't know that it was the second book, so I had a very steep learning curve. This book was brilliant in my opinion, due to my own idiocy it took me time to put the pieces together having not read the first book. I loved Colby as a character as he seemed to have depth as he was haunted by the loss of his friend which gave me a connection to the character because of t ...more
Ethan Gorham
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the 1st book, readers of darker edged Fantasy, and
(I write this review for the audience that read Dreams And Shadows, as I simply don't feel concrete on an opinion for those that are coming into this novel blind)

So, 2013, Dreams And Shadows, Cargill's first novel in this series, was released. I read it and found myself immensely disappointed. It was a book with great potential that ultimately showed that it had a reach that exceeded its grasp. Chiefly bogged down by excessive character introduction in the beginning, excessive stopping of the pl
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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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