Emerald City Dreamer is an interesting book. While borrowing heavily from traditional folk and fairytales, it is not by any means a traditional story. The author has set up three factions at the beginning of the book. The fae hunters, led by Jina and Sandy, believe all the fae are monsters who should be eradicated, and the seelie fae, led by Jett, seem mostly benevolent but have no problem placing geases or implanting false memories in humans. They also feed on the creative energy from special humans, known as “dreamers.” The third faction is a religious cult that attracts people who have been forgotten or abandoned by society, which a small street waif named Ezra belongs to.
Not shockingly the three factions don’t get along, and the characters become trapped by their own decisions and the world view of their own factions. Because the author has so much to set up in each of these world views, it does take a little bit for the book to get rolling, but once it does, the latter half of the book takes place at a break-neck pace.
No one is blameless in this book, and there are definitely no clear “white hats”, although there are one or two unredeemable characters. The book takes a long look at the unending cycle of pain and hatred that springs up between feuding houses, and the danger of becoming trapped in your assumptions. It even has a star-crossed relationship thrown in there for kicks.
All that being said, I didn’t really like anyone in either of the main factions, and so I had a hard time being invested in the eventual grudging peace between the two sides by the end of the book. I also felt some of the betrayals inflicted on each other by the lovers were actually down played a bit too much, so they could stay together. Especially since, whether intentionally or not, those actions ended up in people being callously and almost casually killed. I think that would be a very difficult thing to overcome in a relationship, and yet these two clear that hurdle in less than a week. Which doesn’t make anyone any less dead.
This may be a little bitterness speaking on my part though, because my favorite viewpoint character in the story was one of the casualties in the middle of the book. (I won’t tell you who, though- spoilers.)
Still, the story is very worth reading, and a bit on the dark side. Think Grimm’s fairytales with a modern twist, not the white-washed and sparkly princess fairytale version.
posted by Esther Jones
on December, 24