REVIEW: QUEEN OF THE DARK THINGS / AUTHOR: C. ROBERT CARGILL / PUBLISHER: GOLLANCZ / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
One of the common publishing clichés is the way that up and coming authors are constantly compared to the leaders in their field. For example, it’s practically impossible to pick up an urban fantasy novel without the blurb on the back telling you that the author is the next Neil Gaiman, and in most cases this is very much hyperbole. Robert Cargill’s debut urban fantasy novel, Dreams and Shadows was heavily compared to Gaiman’s earlier work (such as American Gods) when it came out and you’ll be forgiven for dismissing the comparison as advertising nonsense, but in this case, the blurb writers got it right.
Queen of the Dark Things is a direct sequel to the Dreams and Shadows and is as fresh, original and exciting as Neverwhere or Anansi Boys. The action begins six months after the events of the first book and is more character focused. The world’s most powerful wizard Colby Stevens is still dealing with the consequences of his actions as well as getting used to his powers. The last book established the rules of the world and in this follow-on we get to know Colby and friends a little better ,which is good as he is likeable and flawed.
This time round, a dark force is rising and despite his powerful friends and great potential, Colby is still in over his head and unable to stop it on his own. This means getting demons to help out and Colby doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to making sensible deals. The supporting cast is as entertaining as ever and the dialogue continues to be witty, clever and never too knowing. A series of flashbacks, tied into manic current events, keeps the pace constant and Cargill’s style is as friendly and engaging as ever.
High quality urban fantasy is always hard to find and Cargill has proven that he can deliver time and time again. If he carries on like this then all the other urban fantasy blurbs will be telling us that their book is written by the next Robert Cargill.