dark fantasy

Bad Dreams in The Dream Runner

dreamrunnerThe Dream Runner by Kerry Schafer
TKA Distribution, October 29th, 2013 (Contemporary Fantasy)*

My rating: Outstanding adventure!

Disclaimer: I didn’t know this was a novella until I saw the number of pages. I don’t read a lot of novellas, because I prefer more time to get sucked into a different world.

I loved this one.

The plot was fast-paced, and there were no lags or info-dumps. The novella starts with the Jesse Davison’s return to her hometown after she ran away ten years ago to escape a horrible accident. She has come back to sell her father’s house and resolve some of her longstanding issues. She is a Dream Runner, which means she takes dreams to people who need them. These are desperate people, willing to do anything to have a dream of redemption, revenge, love, hope… and they all must pay an unnamed price for their dreams.



Dirty Magic – a dark tale where magic is a drug

dirtymagicDirty Magic by Jaye Wells
Orbit, January 21st, 2014 (Urban Fantasy)

My rating: Outstanding adventure!

A volatile brew of magical alchemy, crime drama, and potential romance, this urban fantasy is a welcome change from the genre norms. Its premise of a “war on magic” really stands out among the other inter-species, supernatural conflicts in urban fantasy. Whether the methods used by law enforcement are any different or more effective than those used in the war on drugs doesn’t really matter – the comparison is still interesting. The world-building is convincing, the characters multi-dimensional, and the plot fast-paced right from the beginning.

The setting revolves around the slums of the city of Babylon on Lake Erie. Called the Cauldron, this neighborhood is home to magic addicts, the homeless, and the poor. “Dirty” magic, made on the streets and distributed as potions that purport to solve the same problems we use drugs to treat (Think you’re ugly? Get a vanity potion! Poor? Buy a greed potion. Need to win a bike race? Take a speed potion). “Clean” magic, dirty magic’s legal counterpart, works like legal medicines. People are divided into two generally antagonistic groups: Mundanes, who have no ability to cook potions or use magic and who usually end up the addicts, and Adepts, who have an affinity for magic and are able to use magic to cook, read, and transform potions. Magic use relies on alchemical processes.