“Afraid goes away after a fright, but terror lingers. It gets into your head, builds a nest, continues to work on you. It pulls stuff out to feed its young.”
This quote from Matt Holgate’s epic horror/fantasy/action/thriller The Dim Realm Volume I, speaks volumes for the chilling and brilliantly written story Mr. Holgate has created. I’m not normally a fan of the horror genre, but this book is so much more than that. It’s also a mystery mixed with fantasy that felt a little Lord of the Rings like, and I can’t say enough about the writing. In my opinion, it’s one of the most well-written, gripping indie books I’ve read. The plot is unique and obviously well thought out with dialogue that is spot-on and quips that had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. It’s also tense, a little gory at times (but not overly so), and left me wanting for more after finishing it as it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger (wherein I immediately purchased Volume II).
As far as the plot is concerned, The Dim Realm takes place in the small town of Arrow’s Flight where mysterious disappearances are occurring among the townsfolk as well as grisly slaughters, including those of many of the King’s men. What evil has possessed Arrow’s Flight? Who can be trusted? Where is the dark house of Kara Kinfolk’s (one of the main character’s) nightmares, and why has she been chosen to receive these visions? These are just some of the many questions plaguing the inhabitants and visitors of Arrow’s Flight, who find themselves trapped within its confines, unable to leave.
Although there are several very likeable, very well-written characters in The Dim Realm, the one who stands out the most for me is Kara Kinfolk. Kara, though only seventeen, is wise beyond her years, strong, and a complete smart ass -- in short, she’s my kind of girl. She also seems to be one of the more important characters in the book as it’s through her dreams that the rest of the characters, including ranger Tal Stormgren, who I also liked a great deal, are able to unravel the source of the evil that has invaded their town. Keeping in the fantasy genre, The Dim Realm also includes orcs, dwarves, and ogres interspersed with the main human characters. One of my favorite characters, the orc Rinn, was thoroughly entertaining, and I gained a newfound appreciation for the fantasy genre through Mr. Holgate‘s book.
In short, The Dim Realm Volume I is the start of an epic, edge of your seat, horror/fantasy with a solid, brilliantly constructed plot, well-written dialogue, and loveable (for the most part), well-written and unforgettable characters. It’s clear that Mr. Holgate put a lot of work into this book and it has surely paid off. In fact, I’m not much for highlighting passages in novels, but I found myself highlighting numerous quotes, thinking to myself that I’d wish I’d written them.
I highly recommend Mr. Holgate’s The Dim Realm Volume I and will be delving into Volume II soon.