Autodidact: self-taught


The Waking Dream 1: Devlin by Michael Hibbard

by V. L. Craven

Devlin Book Cover

There is a town in the foothills of Virginia that, if you’re a certain sort of person–a special sort of person–you may feel yourself drawn to. You won’t know why, but once you arrive you’ll feel at home. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone there. Well, most everyone. Some people are born there. But most people find their way. And once they arrive they issue a sigh of relief to finally be home.

That place is Devlin. In Devlin everyone is a little odd. A little weird. But in a good way. All the best people are weird, right?

Take Auber Weir, for example. He’s one of the lucky ones who’s known of his Weirdness (a Dreamer) his entire life. He runs the local alchemy shop, among other things. Auber is going to be called upon to lead the town of Devlin in an ultimate battle against nefarious forces whose only wish is to cause chaos and ruin.

Luckily, Auber has several very good (and very powerful) friends on his side. Including a voodoo queen and a mysterious man named Xy with a very unusual ability. There are people on his side he hasn’t met yet, either, but who are working to stop the destruction coming.

Eye of One Stump on Hibbard's property

Welcome home

There’s a bit of Poe and quite a bit of Lovecraft about the thing. A compelling plot, multiple inventive characters and situations and some rather gross moments (in a good way) made this one a winner. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of dark fantasy.

Devlin itself put me in mind of a grown up version of Hogsmeade. Just because you didn’t get your letter from Hogwarts doesn’t mean you can’t be Awakened to your particular ability–that can happen at any time in your life. So take heart!

The events of the book take place in the autumn and there’s magic and the lifting of the veil in a very big way so it’s the perfect book for this time of year.

Overall it was a very enjoyable, quick read. There were a few typos and missing words, especially towards the end (I read the Kindle version, I don’t know if this is true of the print version) and the epilogue felt a bit tacked on, but that could resolve itself with the next book in the series, which I will definitely read. The next book that will be coming out will be a collection of short stories that expand on some of the character’s lives in this novel.

For more information about the universe the series takes place in, check out the interview I did with the author last June, which includes links to Hibbard’s sites.

[Full disclosure: I was given a copy of the book for free but I was under no obligation to give a positive review.]

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