Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Orbit (Time Warner UK)
Release Date: June 2004
ISBN: 1841491594
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre:   Comic Fantasy [Present Day, London, England]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:  

In Your Dreams
By Tom Holt

     I confess to feelings of joy when I discovered that Tom Holt had written a sequel to the utterly delightful The Portable Door (also reviewed on this site). Readers of my reviews might know that I am not normally a fan of Mr. Holt in particular, nor comic fantasy in general but I did rather go overboard for this one.

   Why? Because surely there are few literary treasures more to be coveted than a jolly good comedy, and when this sort of thing works, it is a joy. Paul Carpenter is back anyway, still amazed that Sophie appears to still love him and still tied to his eventful and peculiar job at H W Wells & Co. It appears that he has been promoted to the position of Hero, but as he knows that he is not one this job description must surely be in error. Paul is also going to meet his old uncle, discover various other things about himself and a whole lot more things about his job. If he guesses that they aren’t going to fill him with joy, then at least he won’t be disappointed.

    I can’t really tell you a lot more about the story, or it would give the game away. You will have to read it to find out more about the plot, and the fact that a comic fantasy actually has a plot surely counts very much in its favor. This is quite a fat book, but somehow all those pages get filled. Slaying dragons, scary banks, cars who used to be people, magic doors all play their part in a strangely uplifting story that shows how Paul goes from being a failure, to, well, not being one. The strange world of the Fey is imaginative and compelling, and the plot twists and turns in ways I couldn’t have guessed. There is a real story in here, and the feeling that it is the jumping-off point for many, many more.

    Terry Pratchett delights his readers by demonstrating how a fantasy world can resemble modern Britain; Tom Holt does the opposite. He shows how modern Britain can contain a fantasy world, rather akin to Rowlings’ tales of parallel places for magic users and Muggles. As he does in The Portable Door, Holt keeps the suspense up throughout the book, rather in the way a whodunit does (and this is a sort of whodunit) and keeps the humor rolling along as well, though in a restrained way that fits the story rather than wild flights of silliness. The characters themselves come to life in a satisfying way, even if Paul’s non-stop feelings of inadequacy do pall a bit after a time. If you like this book, then I won’t spoil it for you by mentioning that it looks as though there might be another sequel. I do hope so, as this seems to be what all Mr. Holt’s earlier books have been a rehearsal for.