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Kagama -The Literaturevixen

I love reading everything from fantasy to historical romances. On a constant quest for more books to read.






ARC review of Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum.

Dreams of Shreds and Tatters - Amanda Downum

I recieved this ARC from Netgalley and this is my honest review of it.


Liz Drake wakes up from a dream,no a nightmare about her friend Blake She convinces her partner Alex that they need to go to Vancouver and see him. Her dreams are not like other peoples dreams,they are so vivid she sometimes finds them more real than the waking world.


Blake and his boyfriend Alain were found washed ashore on a beach. Alain died. Blake ended up in a coma and has been that way ever since.

After visiting his apartment they discover Blake had ties to the Morgenstern gallery run by the charismatic Rainer and his partner Antja.


Liz goes to the beach where Blake was found and finds the Triskelion ring she gave him as a gift once. Its found at a house owned by Rainer. He is looking more and more like he knows more than he is letting out.


When Liz sees a painting of Blakes at the exhibition Rainer brings them to,featuring a door through wich can be seen a strange city she faints and as she is catched by Rainer she asks without thinking if it makes any sense...


She swallowed, scrambling for an excuse. Dizziness. Too much champagne. But when she opened her mouth, what came out was, "What is that place?" She felt curious stares as other people drifted into the room, but couldn’t pull away.

His electric eyes narrowed, calculating. "Carcosa."


She now understands that Blake is not just in a coma. His spirit is lost,gone to Carcosa and its up to her to bring him back from the clutches of the city and the Yellow King.


There is also drug called Mania loose in the city.It is changing the people who use it into something...other


This is the first book I have read by Amanda Downum and the reason I wanted to read it so badly because it involves a fascinating literary creation called the King in Yellow or The Yellow King.


The Yellow King is a character or maybe I should say concept first created by the author Robert W Chambers in a book of connected stories named "The King in Yellow". The title also being the name of a play in the book that drives people to madness if they continue reading it beyond the first act.


It drew inspiration from the works of Edgar Allan Poe ,Oscar Wilde and Ambrose Bierce and it has in its turn inspired (or at least appeared in their works)authors like Lovecraft,Stephen King and many more. It has also featured in tv series and Music


I am just sad I didnt find it as a thrilling read as I imagined it would be.


I felt that the strongest bits in the book where when we were following Liz. There were way too many other viewpoints from other characters when I just wanted to stay with Liz and find out more about who she was and more importantly about what she was.

As for the supporting characters. From Liz partner Alex to Rainer Morgenstern...well they are all a bit pretentious to be honest. Liz has her moments of pretentiousness but while I found them a bit endearing in her I found them offputting when others were wallowing in it.

There is a particular scene where a toll is asked and one of the things Liz is asked to give up is one of her favorite Words.She spends a moment thinking about all the long and complicated words she loves and that she would hate not being able to use.


Liz froze. She loved so many words: sesquipedelian, penultimate, numinous, liminal, spleen, cellar door—did that count as one word?—incandescent...

Pick one, the bridgekeeper said with a sigh, or we’ll be here all night. And nights in Carcosa are very long. It might have taken her that long to choose, but far in the distance she heard the waves of the black sea breaking against the shore, their rhythmic hiss and rush— Susurrus, she said.


A word. Not your firstborn. Just a word.


I found Blake to be a little bit of a cliche, the sensitive and handsome young artist who is also gay.


And speaking of that is Liz asexual ,or does she just has crippling anxieties about intimacy? we are left with no answers.


She’d spent years thinking she would sleep alone for the rest of her life, after she outgrew childhood slumber parties and realized that the heat of lust and sex that drove the world was something she would never experience. To have found someone willing to look past that, to settle for the negotiation and compromise of a relationship without the haze of pheromones, felt like a dream from which she was constantly afraid of waking.


For this reason I didnt understand the relationship between Liz and Alex oh I can understand the convenience of it but not the reasoning. To me it seems they would have been better off just being friends and roomates.


Liz is happiest when she dreams.Her dreams are so real She is also full of guilt because of a tragic incident in her past wich ended up claiming a friends life. Wich makes it believable she would go to great lenghts to keep another friend from danger.


This book made me feel confused and more than a little stupid, like I was not getting how brilliant it was.


As for the writing I did find it to be occassionally evocative but it often descended into something I would like to call "word porn". How many interesting words can we cram in to describe something anything. It just felt very excessive.


I also noticed what I believe to be some formatting issues, in the beginning of sentences would be a mix of capital and lower case letters also there were some slight spelling mistakes.