The Lord of Dreams by C. J. Brightley
When a fairy king grants a human wish, there’s more at stake than dreams.
Claire Delaney has a good life, despite her adolescent angst. But she wants more. In a moment of frustration, she wishes to be “the hero.”
What she actually wants is to be the center of attention, but what she gets is a terrifying Fae king demanding that she rescue an imprisoned fairy, facing fantastical dangers and hardships she could not have imagined.
Yet the dreams–and the rescue–are only the beginning of her journey. She is at the center of the king’s audacious gamble to end the war that has raged in Faerie for half a century.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of books about fairyland filled with mythical creatures that end up being essentially human with just minor variations. If the author left off their physical description, they would be mistaken for someone you might pass on the street.
In CJ Brightley’s newest novel, The Lord of Dreams, this is not the kind of fairyland we find. When Claire Delaney is brought into the land of the Fae, not a single creature she encounters can be mistaken for a human.
What we step into, with Claire, is a world that feels like the land of the Fae should—alien, irrational and tinged with danger. The colors are brighter, sharper. The darkness is more foreboding. The creatures are wild and fierce, savage and undiluted. Things like distance and reason aren’t as true as desire and intention. The creatures she encounters act in unpredictable ways and say things that are both cryptic and deeply true.
The reader joins Claire in trying to decipher the world, the creatures she meets, and most of all, the mesmerizing Lord of Dreams who begins as a villain, and ends up as something so much more. And, like all good fairy stories, there are dreams which are as real, and as important, as waking actions.
The reader is carried along with Claire, disoriented and often confused, but Brightley brings it all together for a satisfying, rewarding conclusion.
Highly recommended for immersion into a captivating, surprising, living world that is just how the land of the Fae should feel.
Tone: Hopeful. Even in the darker passages, there are still glimpses of goodness and courage
Rating: PG for mild fantasy violence.