Friday, September 23, 2011

REVIEW: Aisling Book Two: Dream by Carole Cummings

Much like the first volume in the Aisling saga, Guardian, this is a story that's firmly grounded in the magical fantasy genre, but this time it Carole trades the feel of a contemporary police procedural for that of a romantic adventure. Picking up right where the first installment left off, Dream takes us deeper into the world building and mythology, while carefully developing the romance between Wil and Dallin.

This is a much darker story than the first installment, with far more at stake than just the capture of an escaped fugitive. The tension has definitely been turned up a few notches, but it's not allowed to completely dominate the story. Fortunately, there are still moments of much-needed humour (most of them surrounding the budding romance), which work perfectly to balance out the story.

As for Wil and Dallin . . . well, what I can say about them that I didn't say before? They are the kind of polar opposites who should never share a room, much less an embrace, but they need one another. I know some readers have complained that they're a stereotypical masculine/feminine gay couple, but that simplifies things far too much. They are far too complex to be written off quite so easily. In fact, I rather suspect the roles may be reversed before the end, once Wil comes into his own. For now, they develop each other nicely, bringing out hidden aspects of their characters that soften Dallin and ground (to some extent) Wil. It's odd the way they seemingly never quite manage to be friends, yet can still become romantic, but it's also part of the charm of the story.

There's still some mystery here, and still a lot of questions to be answered in the final volume, but I think the pace of revelations is even more satisfying this time around. With the characters and the situation already introduced, the story is really able to move along, providing some tantalizing glimpses of the eventual conclusion.

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