Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum

Dreams of Shreds and Tatters

Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum

Acquired: ARC via Netgalley

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Published: 12 May 2015 by Solaris


Lovecraftian urban fantasy, but it’s Lovecraft with all the worst excesses taken out.

When Liz Drake’s best friend vanishes, nothing can stop her nightmares. Driven by the certainty he needs her help, she crosses a continent to search for him.

She finds Blake comatose in a Vancouver hospital, victim of a mysterious accident that claimed his lover’s life–in her dreams he drowns. Blake’s new circle of artists and mystics draws her in, but all of them are lying or keeping dangerous secrets. Soon nightmare creatures stalk the waking city, and Liz can’t fight a dream from the daylight world: to rescue Blake she must brave the darkest depths of the dreamlands. Even the attempt could kill her, or leave her mind trapped or broken.

And if she succeeds, she must face the monstrous Yellow King, whose slave Blake is on the verge of becoming forever.


I don’t read enough stories that follow people in their 20s. I enjoy urban fantasy because magic, choices and life often collide in a realistic way. I found Liz’ sense of loss, isolation and confusion to be so relatable but I also really wanted to provide a safety net for some of these characters as they spiralled inwardly.

Dreams of Shreds and Tatters is a grim urban fantasy with mythological beings and atmospheric writing. The dream world reminded me of a very grown up take on the Labyrinth. The rescue mission is heartfelt and slow. These flawed characters stumbled into a strange world of power and unequal exchanges.

I found the story shone the most when Liz and Blake were the main narrating voices among the multiple narrators. (Although Lailah was an intriguing character. I’d be happy to read a novel/novella that explores her back story.) The characters’ relationships are mature and complicated with a heady dose of angst. There are many LGBT characters in the main cast but everyone’s romantic relationships took on a gritty or grim route. There’s a sense of elitism and snobbery among the art student/gallery crowd but Alex’s occasional wry humour was the saving grace in those scenes.

I encountered (and googled) some unfamiliar words. Eg. Apoxia, susurru, cilice etc. However, I have a fondness for words so I’m always up for a challenge. This is definitely a haunting story. I hope the characters discover more hope beyond the ending.


7 thoughts on “Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum

  1. I’m completely in love with that cover! I NEED TO LOOK THIS BOOK UP ASAP! I don’t think I read any books about people in their twenties. >.> Geesh, and since now I’m in my 20s, maybe I should start this! Although I love me some heartwrenching YA. xD
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!


    1. It suits the story perfectly too! There’s a lot of angst in this one (I’ve yet to encounter a happy book about people in their 20s, I need to do look into that more) but I loved the writing and the fantasy aspect of it.


  2. Amazing review, Glazia. This was beautifully done. I wasn’t sure what to expect from your review of this book- I very rarely read the synopsis of books in reviews, and if I do it’s after reading the review itself, so I had no idea what I was in for (and don’t tend to!), but this sounds really unique, interesting and… I’m adding it to my tbr. I’m not sure I’d classify it as “totally my thing” but you say it felt, at times, like a grown up version of Labyrinth and that is ALL I needed. Seriously and very honestly. I think from the moment I read that, I was sold on this. I can’t wait to find out what I think about it as a whole! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I always love reading unique books and I’m glad it’s on your TBR. Dreams of Shreds and Tatters has a Gothic/dark vibe but it does share the Labyrinth’s charm of being taken into an enchanted and dangerous world.


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