Title: Into the Dreaming (Bonus Edition)
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Publication: Random House , 2012
Genre: Time-Travel Romance, Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 Stars
A really, really great little book highly recommended to all fans of Karen Marie Moning. Despite its small size, quite a lot is crammed in here, and it’s definitely not to be missed.
The first section is a simple re-print of Karen’s novella Into the Dreaming. It’s just under 120 pages and tells the story of Jane, a modern-day romance author, and Aedan, a cursed Highlander from 10th Century Scotland. With the help of the Faerie Queen, Jane and Aedan meet and fall in love in the Dreaming, a realm between worlds. When Jane is transported to medieval Scotland to save Aedan from being forever cursed by the Unseelie King, she uses her dream memories to bring him back from the brink. Obviously, not a whole lot can happen in such a short story, but Karen still works her magic and makes me fall in love with her characters.
At the end of the novella, Karen adds a truly heartfelt Afterward that talks about her own struggles as an author, and how the pressure to write what’s “popular” can be completely overwhelming, especially when you’re just beginning. She encourages writers to stay true to their own stories, no matter what the cost, because there will always be someone to take a risk on you. It might just take a little longer. I find Karen to be an extremely inspirational woman, and she’s VERY open with her fans in general about her writing process, so thoughts like these are always really great to read.
The next section includes a formal proposal for a novel that was never written, entitled Ghost of a Chance. I was actually a little nervous about reading this, because I was afraid it would sound SO GOOD, and I’d be dying to read it even though it didn’t exist. However, even though it DID sound interesting, and I’m sure I would have loved it had she written it, I can kind of see why she abandoned it. The characters didn’t grab me the way they normally do, and the plot didn’t seem as strong, at least in the conceptual stage.
The third section contains a deleted scene from Karen’s third book, Kiss of the Highlander, which won’t make much sense if you haven’t read that novel. Fans, however, will appreciate this alternate look at the relationship between the main characters, Drustan and Gwen, two of my personal favorites. While I completely agree that the published version was better, I’ll never say no to more of these two! Plus, it was really interesting to follow Karen’s thought process and see what other roads she was considering during the initial draft. It’s a bit like watching bloopers for a movie, though obviously less funny.
My personal favorite section was the next part, entitled Dark Highlander Lite. Apparently, Karen was two-thirds of the way through her fourth novel – a month before it was due to her publisher – when she realized she was writing, as she called it, the wrong book. It hadn’t come out in any way, shape or form the way she wanted, and she was determined to start over. Her publisher had a meltdown, but they compromised. Karen would start over, and send the first 50 pages of each book for editing, and if the second version was better, she’d get an extension. Karen agreed, but then burned all but those first 50 pages of the original book to ensure she’d be able to write her new version. Luckily, the publisher agreed the second version was much better, so she got her extension anyway. But can you imagine the nerve it took to literally burn her bridges??? All because she knew her own story and this wasn’t it.
Reading these first 50 pages, I have to agree. It’s a perfectly fine book, one I’d definitely want to read, but it wasn’t right for the story she wanted to tell. My respect for her pretty much doubled after reading this, if such a thing is possible.
The next section includes the first chapter of Darkfever, the first in her latest five-book urban fantasy romance series, which is really nice for those of her fans who adore her traditional Highlander romances and just aren’t sure about making the jump to something darker. (That would have been me five years ago, by the way!) And finally, she includes both black and white and full color illustrations from her upcoming graphic novel Fever Moon. I’m still on the fence about this, as I really REALLY dislike Western comic animation, but I’ve never NOT bought something written by Karen, so….
In any case, highly recommended to both old and new KMM fans! This little book packs quite a punch!