In The Dark Of Dreams (A Dirk & Steele Novel #10) by Marjorie M. Liu
November 30, 2010
Paperback, 384 Pages
Reviewed by Tori
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Jenny. She lived on an island with her grandparents. One day, when walking the beach, she came across a young boy who was injured. But this was no ordinary boy for he was silver. Jenny tried to help the boy but he was taken from her and she never saw him again. Except in her dreams.
Perrin, the boy whom Jenny befriended so long ago, is now full grown and has never forgotten Jenny either. When certain events point towards a world wide catastrophic event, fate re unites Perrin and Jenny in a race towards preventing the destruction of mankind.
The 10th Dirk & Steele Novel, In The Dark Of Dreams, is a thought provoking dark romantic fantasy that put me through the emotional ringer. Ms. Liu’s continued rich world building and dynamic characters explode to life as we are taken on a journey through a past and present filled with tragedy, remorse, and redemption. I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Marjorie M. Liu is the QUEEN of writing stories filled with tortured individuals who’s essence grab your heart and bruise your soul.
Jenny is at sea on a mission and comes across a woman who teases her memory. When they bring her aboard ship and investigate, Jenny realizes two things. The woman was murdered and someone on her ship did it. When the murderer commandeers the ship and Jenny, she escapes with the help of a mysterious and heart stopping man. As Jenny and her mysterious rescuer flee for their lives, Jenny soon discovers that it’s Perrin-the boy she found so long ago.
Perrin who is a Krackeni (merman), has a parentage that bestowed on him a special gift. But his dreams of a human were not tolerated and that caused him to be exiled from the sea. For the past 8 years Perrin has lived as a surface dweller on land-dying a little bit each day.
When Jenny and Perrin realize they have both shared the same dreams and their connection has a direct result on the the catastrophic horrors happening all over the world, they race against time to find the source of the disturbances and halt it’s deadly path.
Jenny and Perrin are to emotionally flawed characters who will capture your heart from page one. Both have suffered horribly at the hands of their families yet their inner strength and loyalties don’t allow them to wallow in self pity or give up. Even from the beginning you see their only shells-neither of them are whole. Both, unknowingly, waiting for the one person who completes them.
Jenny is a strong heroine who’s trials through life have forged her into a deceptively fragile pillar of steel. Yet buried beneath her strength is a vulnerability that speaks to you. Physically and emotionally drawn to Perrin, she shies away from what he silently offers due to fear. Because of her family’s work, she is extremely open minded to the wonders of the unknown. But she fears what she will lose when Perrin finds out exactly who she is.
Perrin is remarkably sane considering what his family had done to him-all because of Jenny. Banished from the ocean, he has suffered unimaginably for the crime of wanting someone he shouldn’t. He is filled with extreme pain, rage, and resentment towards his people yet when he knows he must return to the ocean at the risk of death, he courageously throws it all aside in attempts to save his world. His emotional bond to Jenny is so strong that it dictates the very air he breathes. But he too has secrets that he fears will drive Jenny from him.
Ms. Liu does a fantastic job of blending the suspense of the story with the emotional journey of Jenny and Perrin. Non stop action speeds the story along as you frantically absorb all the nuances and shifts. The plot was remarkable in it’s unique synopsis and I found myself riveted as it revealed itself. While there is a lot going on, Ms. Liu’s clear and concise writing style leaves little confusion. With each scene we watch Jenny and Perrin face their fears and over come obstacles while dealing with external factors that try to stop them. Nether plot nor romance is sacrificed. They balance and complement each other through the entire arc; merging together towards the end.
The romance evolves slowly as they rediscover each other on an adult level. Both have some extreme issues and Ms. Liu requires them to deal with those issues. The chemistry between Perrin and Jenny is electrifying and satisfying. Even though the physical aspects are very low key; the dialog and undercurrents are so emotionally charged you can feel it leaping off the pages.
The supporting cast is written strong and imposing. Complex and convoluted; the good and bad here are merely defined by degrees of separation and much plays out behind the scene. Everyone here has an agenda and does not always play by the rules. We see some old faces along with some new ones. I found each one to be a satisfying addition to the story. There are plenty here to cheer and hate with abundance.
As we headed towards the ending I found myself gripping the book with tension. Ms. Liu plays it close to the vest and I found myself praying the story would end the way I wanted. The ending IS phenomenal and leaves enough open end questions to assure us we haven’t seen the last of these players. Even though this could be read as a stand alone in the terms of the romance, you lose a lot in comprehension of character and arc development by not starting from the beginning of the series-Tiger Eyes.
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