Fantasy author J. A. Garland visited our blog in August to talk about trends in her genre. Her novel, Dysus Dreamer, was one of my summer reads. Here’s my report on this urban fantasy tale…
Urban Fantasy Goodness
Gripping action, riveting plot, vibrant characters, Dysus Dreamer, the second book in the Halfling Chronicles series, has it all.
Meet Slade, demon warrior and elite, special operative. We spend the majority of the time in his point of view as he strives to complete his mission — save Amber, his half-human, half-demon ex-partner and cousin, from the wolf and demon factions seeking to use her unique powers for their own benefit. Slade is smart, tough, and brave and yet vulnerable and lonely, a compelling blend for an alpha male protagonist. What puts him over the top is his utter loyalty to his loved ones, the driving force behind his actions.
The story serves up two parallel storylines with interesting intersections (sorry, no spoilers here). When we’re not hanging with Slade on his mission to save Amber, we’re visiting another planet with Khallie, daughter of the demon ruler. In the book opening, we meet a spoiled, self-centered princess. Her planet is dying yet she’s plotting how to dominate and manipulate circumstances to ease her boredom. We’re set up to dislike her, but her journey of self-discovery invites the reader to reconsider that stance.
We experience the point of view of other characters, too. Though briefer than our time with Slade and Khallie, these sojourns add depth and dimension to the storyline, showing us the motivation for some key characters, by they “good guys” or “bad.”
One note: We do not spend any time in dark elf Annwyn’s head. As Slade’s potential new partner and a character with a strong and interesting storyline of her own, I’m hoping the Garland is saving it for the next book in the series. Slade and Annwyn have great chemistry and it would be a real treat to see the progression of their personal and professional relationship from both perspectives.
Along with compelling characters, Garland provides an intricate plot with some enjoyable twists. I thought the plot was moving one way, then it shifted in directions I didn’t predict. I love it when a story surprises me like that.
Garland deserves kudos for her excellent worldbuilding skills. I haven’t yet read the first book in the series, but thanks to her talent for drawing her world and presenting its rules, I had no problem understanding and immersing myself in it.
Though this is the 2nd book in a series, it stands alone. Bottom line: Dysus Dreamer is Grade A, urban fantasy goodness.
About J. A. Garland
J. A. Garland is a professional firefighter in California. She is married and has two children. A graduate of Cogswell Polytechnical with a degree in Fire Administration, Jennifer always knew she wanted to be an author. (Except for a brief two-month period after watching the movie “Top Gun,” when she wanted to be a fighter pilot). She admits she’s an addicted trail runner, mostly because she’s a devout consumer of all things cheese puff. If she misses you at the next mud run, please visit her Web site to see what’s new in the world “where fantasy becomes reality.”
Urban fantasy by J. A. – Dysus Dreamer
“A powerful half-demon is kidnapped, bloodthirsty werewolves are on the rise, and a planet is dying. A demon warrior and dark elf joining forces are the least of their worries.”
Demon warrior, Slade Aesus, is determined to destroy the werewolves controlling his cousin. But a beautiful elf, consumed by her own vengeance, finds the wolves first. Botching her assassination attempt, Annwyn has the most powerful Packs in the world biting at her heels. Both fiercely independent, can the two join forces long enough to fulfill their missions and stay alive?