Queen of the Dark Things, C. Robert Cargill

When I read Dreams and Shadows I will confess I did very little research, so I had no idea there was actually a sequel. But here it is, published in 2014 Queen of the Dark things follows on from C. Robert Cargill’s first book that I quite enjoyed, if I found it a bit odd. Well I’m on a sequels binge at the moment, trying to catch up on a lot of the series I have loved or that piqued my interest. But how did this particular sequel pan out?

Goodreads Summary (Spoilers for Dreams and Shadows):

 Six months have passed since the wizard Colby lost his best friend to an army of fairies from the Limestone Kingdom, a realm of mystery and darkness beyond our own. But in vanquishing these creatures and banning them from Austin, Colby sacrificed the anonymity that protected him. Now, word of his deeds has spread, and powerful enemies from the past—including one Colby considered a friend—have resurfaced to exact their revenge.

As darkness gathers around the city, Colby sifts through his memories desperate to find answers that might save him. With time running out, and few of his old allies and enemies willing to help, he is forced to turn for aid to forces even darker than those he once battled.

Following such masters as Lev Grossman, Erin Morgenstern, Richard Kadrey, and Kim Harrison, C. Robert Cargill takes us deeper into an extraordinary universe of darkness and wonder, despair and hope to reveal the magic and monsters around us . . . and inside us.

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 these cultures are handled and portrayed I didn’t notice anything that made me think that these stories were dealt with in an insensitive way (as ever please do correct me if I am wrong).

Much like the first book, this story is interrupted at various points by excerpts from fictional academic works. I really liked the use of this in this particular book because, unlike the first novel, I didn’t feel like I was being bashed over the head with how clever and well researched the author is. Rather I felt like it was saying ‘look how interesting this is don’t you want to learn what I have learned’ which is much nicer.

What I think really made this book better than the first is that the focus was on Colby, a character I grew to care about a lot more than Ewan in the first book, it also adds more characters who fascinated me and drew me in. This is how you do a second book people! You improve upon the things that were perhaps not perfect in the first.

I actually think I might recommend reading this book first before reading Dreams and Shadows. Both of them work as standalone novels and you could certainly only read this one if you wanted. But I do think this is worth reading if you’re interested in exploring a new avenue of folklore.

My rating: 4/5 stars (for reference, I gave Dreams and Shadows 3/5 stars)

I still can’t think of any sequels I have preferred to first novels, any ideas? Tweet me (@judithcmoore) or let me know in the comments below!

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