GENRE: Romantic Fantasy
Lots of kids have imaginary friends, but Kate had an entire imaginary world to visit when she was a girl. When she keeps insisting that her friends are real, she ends up in an institution, where she is forced to put that part of her life behind her. Shortly after Kate turns eighteen and leaves Bayshore Psychiatric to start a normal life, her old friend Cor returns, transformed from the boy she loved into a handsome but guarded stranger. His world is darker than the fun and games she remembers from childhood and he warns her that the monsters there can hunt her now that she lives on her own. If she’ll come back to his world long enough to learn the magic she needs to defend herself, he’ll agree to stay out of her life. He’s only imaginary, but it gets harder and harder for Kate to think of saying goodbye.
The sun set without any trouble. For the second night in a row, I didn’t see anything I wasn’t supposed to. I pushed the cold cup of coffee away, relieved.
Then Cor walked through the door of the diner.
After everything I’d gone through, part of me still wanted to rationalize why no one stared as he walked to my table despite his tangerine hair and his long, black coat. Maybe he stood out less in my sketchy neighborhood. Maybe people assumed his impossibly bright hair came out of a bottle.
No. No one else could see Cor because he didn’t exist. I couldn’t make excuses for him anymore. By now, I knew better than to think imaginary friends were harmless.
I didn’t want to see him, but I couldn’t quite ignore him, either. He stopped just outside the range of comfortable conversation, his golden eyes not quite meeting mine.
If I’d meant to ignore him, I should have stayed in my apartment, taken my sleeping pill like usual, and been out like a light before the sun had slipped beneath the horizon.
“Cor,” I said, his name familiar on my tongue, though I’d sworn I’d never say it again. His narrow shoulders relaxed just a bit at the fact I didn’t say his full name, as a stranger might have.
“Kate.” He spoke so softly, the name almost sank beneath the level of diner chatter. Or the sound of the blood pounding in my ears. He slid in to the opposite side of the booth.
He’d never been shy like this as a child.
The last time I’d seen him, five years ago, he’d been hardly more than a kid, spindly with sudden growth, stricken by my disbelief. It unsettled me to see him recast as this nervous stranger. His face was long and lean, his features angular and stark, handsome but subtly inhuman. His alien eyes, yellow-hazel with a vertical pupil like a cat’s, had changed the most. I didn’t recognize the hardness in them at all.
I was not prepared to have him sitting here, real as real, toying with the salt shaker.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Dana Ardis grew up surrounded by books and decided she likes it that way, pursuing a career in public libraries. Now she writes her own books, creating the rich worlds and vibrant characters that tugged at her imagination as a child.
In addition to writing, she loves art, board games, travel, and anything to do with dogs.
To connect on social media, find me at:
4.5 out of 5 stars
In Daylight and Darkness by Dana Ardis is the first book in the ‘Worldwalkers’ series and centers around Kate (Katen), who is finally trying to live independently after dealing with the aftermath of being hospitalized to “cure” her of the fantasy world that she spent much of her childhood playing in. Unfortunately, Cor (Coraven), one of the figments of her childhood imagination, insists on warning her that she’s in danger, so she has to find a way to distinguish truth from fiction before the monsters become all too real.
This exciting and enthralling fantasy romance with urban fantasy elements was such a fun story that I hated to get to the end. The world-building was intricate and believable, and I definitely want more stories that feature all of the intriguing characters and types of beings that populate this tale. I connected with the heroine quickly, and I ached at her confusion as she dealt with the challenges that were worsened by the treatments for her supposed condition.
The tension continues to ramp up as gradually more and more of the world called Kuyen is revealed, but just enough to whet one’s appetite for more in-depth glimpses. I look forward to getting to know some of the secondary characters better and seeing more of the dangling threads tied up, especially because of the “happy for now” ending. I appreciate the author’s revelations at the end, and thought she did a deft job of weaving some of her experiences into the tale and providing realism. I’m delighted to find a new fantasy author to follow and anxiously await more tales featuring this fascinating couple.
A copy of this story was provided for review