C Robert Cargill - Dreams and Shadows (2 stars)

A twisted mix of Grimm horror, fairy folklore and clichéd dialogue from the screenwriter and critic

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C Robert Cargill - Dreams and Shadows

Opening with a chapter in which a sweetly romantic couple are brutally disposed of mere pages after their introduction, this is a dark fairy tale in the truest sense of the word, and distinctly not for kids. But prod beneath its blackly imaginative surface, and it becomes clear that screenwriter and critic Cargill’s first novel has little substance to offer readers of any age.

The story centres on Ewan, the child of the aforementioned doomed couple, stolen from his Texas crib by some otherworldly creature, and Colby, an unloved human child who has his eyes opened to the supernatural goings-on behind the veil separating human and fairy worlds. It’s a twisted mix of Grimm horror, fairy folklore and clichéd dialogue, with Cargill layering up ideas through stories-within-the-story, excerpts from fictional textbooks and chapters told from new characters’ perspectives. But in amongst the tricksiness Cargill fails to establish his characters as people that readers can care about, and their ensuing adventures are all blood-soaked surface and no feeling.

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