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Dreams of Shreds and Tatters

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  386 ratings  ·  106 reviews
When Liz Drake's best friend vanishes, nothing can stop her nightmares. Driven by the certainty he needs her help, she crosses a continent to search for him.

She finds Blake comatose in a Vancouver hospital, victim of a mysterious accident that claimed his lover's life--in her dreams he drowns. Blake's new circle of artists and mystics draws her in, but all of them are lyin
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Solaris (first published May 7th 2015)
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3.22  · 
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 ·  386 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Mar 14, 2015 marked it as to-read
from netgalley page:

Lovecraftian urban fantasy, but it's Lovecraft with all the worst exceses taken out.

typo aside, i am definitely intrigued by lovecraft minus the things i don't like about lovecraft.
Aug 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Flashes of brilliance, but I think there's at once too much and too little here.

The story is that reality appears to be a thin veneer over a darker more horrific world of magic and demonic creatures from the dark realities that underpin our own. We're introduced to a group of people who are exposed to this, and then we're following a woman with a loose connection to that group who is drawn in by her own nascent powers as a dreamer.

We follow the dreamer, Liz and her partner Alex as they try and r
Althea Ann
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm writing this review a little while after actually finishing the book, but I felt I had to get around to actually reading all of Robert W. Chambers' 'King in Yellow' stories before giving this a fair review, since the book is an homage to that mythos.

Having now read both, I'll say - it's not really necessary, but it's certainly fun to compare.

Chambers' 'King in Yellow' posits a work of art - a play - which drives the reader mad, possibly by showing them a glimpse of horrific realities beyond
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 31, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-read
I wanted to like this more than I actually did. The writing itself is quite lovely for the most part, and Downum does a spot on job of portraying Vancouver as the setting for this mystical tale. However, throughout most of the book I felt like I was watching an indie art film filled with interesting scenes that unfortunately never quite came together at the end in any kind of a satisfying way.
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
An ambitious, if uneven update of the King in Yellow set in modern Vancouver. The plot has echoes of Orpheus and Eurydice, with the ‘underworld’ being the surreal, doomed dreamscape kingdom ruled by an eldritch abomination. Graduate student and lucid dreamer Liz and her boyfriend Alex search for her missing friend, the artist Blake in Vancouver. They find themselves enmeshed in a sinister drug and magic fueled underworld.

Pros: The characters are for the most part, skillfully drawn. Kudos to the
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Read all my reviews on

I should really learn to read at least part of a blurb before deciding I want to read a book based on the pretty cover and awesome title. Perhaps in that case I would have had different expectation. Because although the cover screamed Urban Fantasy to me, it was a completely different kind of Urban Fantasy I got.

Liz has powerful dreams, together with the mystics she encounters on the search for her friend Blake that's the fantasy you ge
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exists in that tenebrous and debatable border region between urban fantasy, horror and dark fantasy. I'm reminded of nothing so much as some of Clive Barker's more fantastickal works -- Imajica, say, or Weaveworld.

Liz Drake finds herself, with her friend Alex, flying across the continent to Vancouver after her friend Blake suffered an ... incident ... that left him in a coma and his boyfriend Alain dead. There she finds herself caught up in inexplicable events that tie together members of the Va
Richard Cardenas
May 24, 2015 rated it liked it
The writing is beautiful as hell... but it had its ups and downs. It was boring. It was interesting. It was boring. It was interesting. It was boring. I still enjoyed the story through it all.
May 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I am not really sure why I finished this - I certainly didn't care for any of the characters and never engaged with the plot.
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

Granted, I took my sweet time in reading it... so by now the book has been out for quite a few months.

Overall an interesting experience, though I expected more out of it. I've been fascinated by the original work behind this, The King in Yellow, for a couple of decades, from the weight it bore in Lovecraft's works to the stories by Robert Chambers that actually inspired it. Simply suggest one nightmar
Stevie Nelson
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To join the ranks among my favorite books, a novel will need to meet the following criteria:

1. After putting it down, I continue to think about it.
2. The central plot moves at a good pace.
3. The characters are three-dimensional.
4. The world within the book is also three-dimensional.
5. It will either change the way I see the world, or it will teach me something new.

I am happy to say that Amanda Downum's upcoming novel, Dreams of Shreds and Tatters, exceeded all of my expectations. I absolutely lo
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Dreams of sheds and tatters is an interestingly titled and eye catchingly covered book written by Amanda Downum containing the story of Liz as she tries to rescue her friend Blake from something she doesn’t quite understand in a place she can only visit in her dreams.
I picked this up randomly after amazon suggested I’d read it and as it was on offer for 99p and as I said the title and cover intrigued. As usual, I didn’t read the blurb past the first sentence so I was not prepared for this book.
Sep 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
This was a quick fun read but it felt overdone to me. I never really connected with the story or the characters.
Ingrid Hildreth
Aug 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I rarely put books away without finishing them and even when I do I have a feeling of guilt for taking longer than I should have, especially for the length of this novel which normally should've been done in a couple of days tops. Like the general atmosphere in the entire book, it left me feeling rather cold and extremely unsatisfied. I think it started off rather well and even accomplished hooking me with the first couple of pages but then after that it's just a bunch of jumping around from cha ...more
Jeff Raymond
I'm probably at the point right now where if a book is described as Lovecraftian in any way, I'll probably take a flier on it. Dreams of Shreds and Tatters is a book that's been on my radar for a while, and, while it's more Lovecraft-adjacent than anything (given the Chalmers/King in Yellow inspiration), it does do one thing exceptionally well, and that's instill the sense of dread that Lovecraft was so good at and modern Mythos literature often forgets.

The plot is fairly straightforward, with a
Orrin Grey
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Imagine the best World of Darkness game you can think of. Now strip out the mythology and replace it with equal doses of Lovecraft and Chambers, as filtered through the delightful kaleidoscope of Amanda Downum's own personal vision, and what you're left with is an urban fantasy that owes more to Clive Barker than to Kim Harrison.

The best parts of Dreams of Shreds and Tatters are probably when the novel is repurposing Lovecraft and Chambers, mixing them with Greek myth to create a cocktail that'
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Most of this book was very "meh" for me, which I know is a highly articulate statement. The writing was functional but rather boring, the characters were insipid and vague, though points for attempting to portray non-heteronormative relationships (emphasis on the plural). The plot felt fairly convoluted due to a lack of appropriate world-building or at least fleshing out what is going on. I don't need an info-dump explanation, but I do need a coherent sense of the world in the story and this jus ...more
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kinda torn on this one. It's a solid contemporary dark fantasy with occasionally truly lovely language; I couldn't really give it less than three stars. At the same time, it's a King In Yellow NOVEL, which is a rare and wondrous thing; I can think of one other. One. That's really hard to pull off, especially (I think) with the supernatural as a pervasive influence rather than as a final-conflict-big-bad.

And I know the King In Yellow is fairly obscure, so I feel a bit odd rating it in the context
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of HP Lovecraft or Freda Warrington.
Raina Liu
May 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
hmm i think i would have liked this more if i??? knew what the fuck was going on???? like really i kept waiting for the worldbuilding to happen so that all the magic and demons and shit would make sense but it...never did...the writing was really nice, the characters were interesting, it’s the first time i’ve seen asexuality depicted really well (even though she called it something weird like oneiromancy, is that a word? never heard that before), there were lots of references to greek shit that ...more
Talitha (Victorian Soul)
This is a genuinely dark urban fantasy that flirts with horror at points. It reminded me of several books I've read before: Tithe by Holly Black, which is a YA favorite of mine, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman, which held greater similarity due to the inclusion of mythology. Although I was led to believe I may have accidentally stumbled onto a YA book by requesting this, it turns out all the characters are mid-twenties and the other content suggests this would be more suitable for adults.

It isn
For some reason, I was under the impression this book was YA, turns out it isn't, which actually surprised me and, in a way, raised my expectations.

I wasn't wrong in doing so, this is an intriguing book that very easily pulls you into its world, which isn't a small feat, but the author succeeds in mixing this magical/obscure atmosphere with a realistic setting without losing the reader in the procees, be it to over exposure or lack of it.

However, it wasn't the story itself that made me like the
Matt Fimbulwinter
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Urban Fantasy in the tradition of Charles De Lint, but older and darker, with a heavy dose of Lovecraft mixed in. While Downum didn't literally write this book for me, personally, it feels that way. The people all feel like people I know, or knew. Except that none of the sorcerers I've known were German.

The characters are all the sort of people who probably hung out at goth clubs when they were younger, though for some of them it was because there wasn't anywhere else to go, rather than actuall
May 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
A very average urban fantasy adventure. Not too long and not overly verbose. Most of the character beats and plot structure you'll recognise along with very worn out tropes. I would probably have given it a 3* rating and enjoyed it more if it wasn't for one thing. It is so smug!

The whole book shows off constantly with unnecessary vocabulary splurges and references to elements that aren't in the plot, whilst having characters mock other existing books. I could recognise the passages of the origin
May 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
Very lyrical and moody, but only skimming the surface of characters, and really just not a whole lot going on. Probably good for "dread mood"-enthusiasts who are into the whole King in yellow thing? Maybe? To me, this was really more That-Portishead-album-from-the-90s-esque than Lovecraftian.
Nov 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a solid two stars until "Because I've fought my way here through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered." I've seen Labyrinth enough times to know one of the most popular lines. Plagiarism is not okay.
Meg (fairy.bookmother)
Couldn't finish it. It was more druggy-urban horror than the urban fantasy I was hoping for.
Spencer Hughes
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is a book that gets better by the page.

Dreams of Shreds and Tatters starts off on the weak side: character archetypes suggest themselves easily, the prose seems to want to go places it can't yet, and not every sentence is quite what it could be. But it succeeds in making a strong promise, saying "this will get good and you'll want to be here when it does." The rest of the book upholds that promise.

Though characters seem archetypal early in the book, their layers and complications develop na
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