In a world of dwindling light… you’re a bonfire in the night.
‘Anna Undreaming’ is the first book in The Metiks Fade Trilogy by Thomas Welsh, a fantasy author and games writer. Thomas is the winner of the Elbow Room fiction prize and has been published in 404 Ink and Leicester Writes. He received an honourable mention in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Award, and his story ‘Suicide Vending Machine’ is featured on the Pseudopod Podcast.
His work has qualified him for induction into the Fellowship of BAFTA, and he has been published on major sites like Kotaku, Unwinnable Magazine and Glitch Free Gaming. He loves Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny and dark fantasy stories where women save themselves! He lives in Scotland with his wife Nana.
Anna is a student surviving the city, and she lives by a simple credo, Never play their game; their game is always rigged. For every man she has ever known, it’s a saying that has served her well.Especially when Anna becomes lost to the dark heart of the city. She finds herself hunted by Dreamers–artists, both good and evil, who construct new worlds–within a complex community that threatens to undermine reality itself. When Anna learns that she’s an Undreamer with powers she cannot yet comprehend, she must travel through their strange and treacherous creations to discover that there’s as much beauty in life as there is darkness. As her existence spirals into wonder and danger, Anna must look deep within herself and face the horrors of her own past, to save her old world as well as her new one.
This book is described as an Urban Fantasy, and Welsh creates a detailed and inventive world where our protagonist, Anna, learns the reality of who she actually is alongside the reader. The world-building is detailed, so it takes time to understand and adjust; it’s all okay, as we are learning and experiencing with Anna, and there’s also a helpful glossary in the back of the book.
Anna is a likeable character, who has both vulnerabilities and strength, she is also an Undreamer, a powerful Metik, a person who can manipulate the Hazes, (a space that changes the rules of reality) that are created by dreamers – these are aesthetics. Anna finds out that the alternate reality is a dangerous place with characters like the Midnight Man, who creates using imagery of macabre poetry about murdering women. There is certainly a darkness here, with suffocating monsters and Anna, with some help, learns control of her abilities and brings in the light. Okay, so this may sound confusing, and at first it is, but as the story develops we learn more about this world, and can begin to concentrate on the characters and their adventure.
It’s a book about understanding who we are, our capabilities, our grief and ability to repair. It’s about faith and trust in others, resilience and survival. If you like films like the Matrix and Inception, when you may enjoy this. Despite being quite heavily layered with new words and worlds, this is an entertaining urban fantasy read with a strong female lead.
Anna and the Moonlight Road (The Metiks Fade Trilogy Book 2) is also out now, so you won’t have to wait to continue the adventure.