I read Fiona McGavin´s "A Dream and a Lie" Series some years ago and since my memory started to get a bit bleary I decided to reread the books to be able to write a review. I wondered if would like these books as much as I liked them when I read them for the first time. In advance: I was still fascinated by the world Fiona McGavin created and these books will stay on my keeper shelf!
Alix Reste lives in Zoelon, a Westerman city in the north of Kelvrecki. He´s a refugee who fled to Zoelon after he escaped a slaughter in his childhood. He works in a textile factory and shares a room with three other roommates because he earns very little money and could never afford a room of his own. There are different races in this world, the Westermen, who came across the sea and conquered the land of Kelvrecki and drove away the original inhabitants, the Alari and the enteri from their ancestral homes. And there are the Draels the enemies of the Westermen who live in Gel-Terridar and worship the Triple God, an evil power who wants to take over the world.
Alix is a mixture of Alari and Drael and as you can imagine not very popular even with the Alari. He has strange abilities like lightning a fire without matches which some may consider witchcraft, he has visions and is haunted by nightmares from his past. It´s a dangerous thing to be accused a witch because every Wintertide´s Eve witches are burned to cleanse the city from evil. Alix isn´t aware of all his powers and what he is able to do with it, it unfolds in the course of the book. He commits some questionable dark deeds, he´s not a hero without fault as aren´t the other protagonists of this story. He makes the acquaintance of Altair, a young Alari girl who is a refugee too, her home in Gwindor was destroyed and she doesn´t know where her parents are. Furthermore he meets the enteri and especially the enteri Midnight starts to play a prominent role in Alix life. Accused of being a witch and brought to prison, tortured and taken to the river to enforce a judgment of God, Alix activates in his fear his powers and is able to escape. Twilight, an enteri woman who he met before takes Alix to her home in the Slumlands of Zoelon where the enteri have built their hidden city. There he meets Midnight again and the strange fascination Alix always felt for him grows and when Midnight states Alix to be his, Alix doesn´t really put up a fight.
Enteri are not human, immortal and beautiful and know the art of spirit dancing, a way to call the spirits from the earth, air, water and fire to do their bidding. But now there aren´t many enteri left who are able to perform this kind of dance. Through spirit dancing enteri can change their gender when they have the wish to do so, so it can happen that a couple suddenly isn´t male/female anymore but male/male or female/female. The enteri don´t really care for gender issues. They don´t have children, being immortal they don´t need them but they often take children from other races as changelings. After driven out from their forest cities they became self-destructive and decadent, Midnight is often drunk and smokes silvertree a kind of drug.
The concept of this book is really fascinating and I liked the character of Alix and Midnight although they are far from being perfect.It´s interesting how the author explored the concept of elves being driven out of their forests and how they cope with their fate. They wait for their lost leader Flame who will bring back their former glory and will tell them what to do. Sometimes I thought them to be like children in their quarrels and behaviour. Alix is a lost young man who knows he´s different and is looking for a place or someone to belong to. This book isn´t about ethereal elves doing the good deed, it´s dark and full of religious fanaticism, repression and revenge.
Although this book is written in first person - Alix is the narrator of this story - we get glimpses through his dreams and visions what´s happening in other parts of Kelvrecki. I´m really looking forward to reread the next two books of this series and refresh my memory of this amazing story!