Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Guest Reviewer: Yesterday's Dreams by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Posted by Simcha 4:58 PM, under , | 2 comments

Reviewed by Esther
(you can follow Esther's other reviews at Goodreads)

Kara O'Keefe is a talented violinist but her father has cancer and her parents are suffering financial difficulties. In order to help them she has given up a promising music career and now she is contemplating pawning her grandfather's violin Quicksilver.

In another part of New York Lucien Blank is using his magical talents to draw to himself every powerful magical object and person he encounters. He loves power for power's sake and he doesn't care what he has to do to get it.

When Kara finally makes the heartbreaking decision to pawn her beloved violin she discovers the pawn shop Yesterday's Dreams and while she is there realises that her family seems to already have some connections to the shop's mysteriously ageless owner.

My Thoughts:

Although I have read a lot of genre fiction it has mostly been scifi, urban fantasy or dystopian. I haven't read a great deal of fantasy based on magic or traditional myths and legends.
I really wasn't sure if I would like the genre and to be honest after reading this book I am still not sure.

I liked the descriptions of pulling in the feral magic as a spider's web to weave spells and create protections. I also enjoyed the recounting of the Irish faery tales and traditions and although the book was set in the streets of New York the writing frequently evoked mental images of the Emerald Isle.

I found the characterizations strong with many distinct personalities. However I was more than slightly disturbed by the fact that the characters were so quick to anger. There was little joy in their lives but on one wrong word they instantly raged from sad to furious.
I also had a problem with the main magical character. I do understand that magic has to cost something but with such a pivotal character constantly exhausted from casting spells the pace became slower than a snail. And although I was sure she was meant to seem in her 30s her constant fatigue left me with the impression of a woman in a her late 60s.
Over-use of adjectives and descriptive nouns also slowed the paced with everyone experiencing at least three emotions at one time. There were just too many words to read through.

On a more personal note, I was looking forward to a musical aspect to the story. Unfortunately Kara's music was mainly used as a connection to her grandfather and there was little about the joy of the music itself while the musical magic was little different from any other magic.

I did like characters of Demne and the henchman Tony and found the story strongest when told from their points of view. Though I did find it strange that I preferred the male characters of a female author.

The conclusion was well thought out and fitted smoothly with the rest of the story – no suddenly appearing supermen or people acting out of character. The ending was both believable and satisfying.

Although I found this book a slow read and repetitive I think it will be enjoyed by those who like well defined characters and stories based on Celtic magic and legends.


Ahem..bad cover, ok will try to look past it ;)

Something intersting there at least

I agree that it's not the best cover and the line on it that says "Revised and Expanded Edition" makes me nervous as well.

The story itself sounds like there is some promise to it. I don't think I would go on a hunt for this one, but if I ran across it I would probably give it a go.

Thanks for your review.

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