Wednesday, August 1, 2012

INTO THE DREAMING (Highlander #8) by Karen Marie Moning

Hardcover, 253 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Random House Publishing Group 
Genre: paranormal romance novel
Rating: 5 stars

From the dust cover:
Free him from his ice-borne hell . . .

Stolen from his beloved home in the Highlands of Scotland, imprisoned in the Unseelie king’s dark, frosty kingdom, Aedan MacKinnon endured centuries of torture before becoming the icy, emotionless Vengeance, the dark king’s dispatcher of death and destruction in the mortal realm.

And in his century you both may dwell . . .

Aspiring romance novelist Jane Sillee has always believed that she was born in the wrong century, but she’s managed to make a decent enough life for herself—if only she could stop having those recurring dreams about a man too perfect to exist.

In the Dreaming you have loved him . . .

Haunted every night of her life by a devastatingly sexy Highlander who comes to her while she sleeps, Jane tries to write him out of her head and heart. As a child he protected her, as a woman he loves her.

Now in the Waking you must save him . . .

When an ancient tapestry bearing the likeness of her beloved Highlander arrives on her doorstep, Jane is whisked back in time to fifteenth-century Scotland, to the castle of Dun Haakon on the isle of Skye, where she is given one chance to save her dream lover . . . or lose him forever to the Unseelie king.

Caught in a deadly game between the light and dark courts of the Fae, Jane must find a way through the ice to the heart of her Highander. But will the love of one mortal woman be enough to defeat such ancient and ruthless immortal enemies?”

I honestly cannot imagine the world of paranormal romance novels without Karen Marie Moning, because she’s simply one of the most distinguished narratorial voices of this genre, and her tales are among the most gratifying I have ever read. Just look at the fantastic job she’s doing  with the marvelous adaptation of FEVER MOON into a full-color graphic novel!

What I am reviewing today is a novella  (installment # 8 in the Highlander series) that was originally published as part of the Tapestry Anthology  in 2002, and has been recently released in a new edition that includes some exclusive bonus material. This is not one of the most popular or most representative titles of this #1 New York Times best-selling and RWA award winning author, but it could be a great place to start for  readers at their first “Karen Marie Moning experience”. The shorter format (enjoyable in a matter of few hours) is an enticing invitation to discover and appreciate the trademark qualities of her work. I will say more: this novella may be less acclaimed than the most popular SHADOWFEVER or THE DARK HIGHLANDER,  but it’s to be appreciated because it works as a perfect and in some ways illuminating interlude between the more complex worlds of Moning’s FEVER and HIGHLAND lenghty series.
Few authors have the ability to deliver a solid tale within the limited space of a novella, without falling short of intensity and  emotional impact, or without rushing the narration through a poor world and character building. In INTO THE DREAMING not only this master story-teller avoided this trap, she also succeeded in embellishing the canvas of extensively exploited tropes such as time travel and magic   with her signature touches of riveting adventure, scorching sensuality, larger than life heroes, and that delicious mix of fluid narration, humor and romance that makes of this novella a perfectly delightful read. A guilty pleasure you definitely want to indulge in.


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