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Into the Dreaming by Karen Marie Moning

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Into the Dreaming (novella)
Highlander #8

Karen Marie Moning
Medieval Romance/Time Travel/Fantasy/Paranormal/Contemporary
Published in 2006

H/h - Aedan MacKinnon, the Laird of MacKinnon/Jane Sillee
Setting: Indiana/The Isle of Skye, Scotland, 1528/present day.

Read in Aug, 2011.
My rating:

                                                                        [spoiler alert]

Hmm, this was a good novella. I liked it but as usual (with any novella) finished it with lots of questions buzzing in my mind. This really doesn’t connect with any other book in the series except the Fey meddling with peoples’ lives, again. This novella has time travel, also can be found in the Anthology Tapestry (2002), which was published before book 6 and 7.

Poor Aedan! He was imprisoned by the Unseelie king (yah, first real appearance of the Mr. Creepy!) who made him his Vengeance. Vengeance is basically a mortal who does dirty jobs for the Unseelie king. He is trained in everything bad possible and tortured to forget himself for several centuries by the Unseelie king, who later grants him some power and uses his own formidable magic to use this Vengeance to create mayhem into the world. A Vengeance can do anything, kill people, create wars...  just about anything the Unseele king wishes is the Vengeance’s command. He doesn’t think back at all. Anyway, I was a bit confused as to how could Aedan, who has the Royal Scottish blood of the Kenneth MacAlpin in him, fell into this mess. It was because he was forced to ‘serve’ the Unseelie king for ‘5 years’, otherwise his own clan would’ve been in mortal danger (as far as I understood). Aedan had no idea what the king had in his mind and forgot that 5 Fey years equals to 500 mortal years. He was then imprisoned in an icy prison, tortured to forget about himself, his past and then, trained, as I’ve already mentioned to become the king’s latest means to ‘play’ with mortals. Yah, once the king deems that the Vengeance has run his course; he kills him, then goes on to train another.

In the Seelie realm, queen Aoibheal is made aware of this situation. She is a bit distressed (as far as an exulted Tuatha Dé Danaan can be) and plans something to resolve this. It seems like the Unseelie king made sort of a promise to Aedan that after his ‘5 years’, he’ll give him a month in the mortal realm, to find someone to love and be loved in return. The queen plans that there’d be a mortal woman who’d help bring Aedan back from his cold and bleak existence because like it or not, Unseelie king has gone too far this time. We also get to know that Aoibheal knows 1st hand about Unseelie kings deadly and seductive powers because she has already shared his bed, once (not much on this is revealed) and afterwards, gave him wide berth. But, she’ll have to save this mortal to keep the peace between the mortals and the Fey intact. And maybe, in doing so, she’ll get an upper hand on her long ago lover... So she sings, from which a tapestry is woven with Aedan’s likeness in it and Dun Haakon (his home) in the Isle of Skye behind him.

Jane is an aspiring romance writer but life hasn’t been kind to her in this regard. So far she’d been rejected more than she cares to count. But, she writes real life love stories... well, sort of, because her dreams are so very real- about this tall, hunky Highlander; her one true love. Even in dream, it seems like they know each-other in everyway possible. There’s no problem in thinking that they’re soulmates, well if one can count out the fact that it all happens in her dreams. Jane writes about her Highland lover in her stories. She also loves the simple, country life preferring it to the fast, modern one. Oneday, while leaving for the job in some bar, she finds a big crate waiting at her door. She assumes it must be the romance books she ordered so she brings it in. Later that night, before going to bed, she opens it and just stares at the tapestry in shock. She has no idea who sent it but the man in it... oh, there’s no denying it’s her Aedan. Then, when she fell asleep on top of it, she hears a lilting female voice singing to her about a man she has to love and rescue from an eternity of darkness, in only a month to spare.

When Jane wakes up, she finds herself in the shores of a sea, with a kitten wrapped around her neck and naked. She is stunned, can’t believe it. Soon, she finds Aedan in the ruins of a castle nearby. Aedan sees her too, in all her glory but being under the Unseelie king’s rule, he’s forgotten how to be a human in every sense; even how to be a lover. He’ll be living in this unknown place for a month because his king has asked him to, nothing else. He’s pissed that his king hasn’t given him any task or orders. Afterwards, it was how Jane made herself at home (now believing that this is indeed 1528 Scotland) in Dun Haakon and took it onto herself to bring Aedan back to life.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. Very interesting! I was confused about how Jane was selected or how Aeden actually came to be in her dreams but understood that it happened when he was imprisoned. I was confused about the time framing (like how Jane’s time and Aedan’s time corresponded together). As this is a novella, lots of things felt unfinished in the story. I usually don’t like this feeling, if things aren’t clarified and so on. Even then, it was fun to see the way Jane conquered a very, I mean VERY reluctant Aedan through her persistence and later on her love, then brought back his memory. He remembered that he’s a laird with Royal blood flowing in his veins and not a servant to Mr. Creepy, that he and Jane knew and loved each-other in their dreams. The villagers of Kyleakin were very eager to welcome them and helped them take care of the castle. The ‘almost seduction parts’ by Jane were pretty amusing and admirable; though it set my eyes rolling, I liked it nonetheless. Aedan, before remembering himself, was adorable since Jane had to ‘teach’ him a few things about kissing and stuff; funny because she herself learned those things from him. As Aedan kept remembering his past, he pushed Jane away more than once (with me pretty frustrated) because of all the confusions and conflicts he was having with his life as the Vengeance. But ultimately, love won over.

The ending was odd IMO. Jane keeps her writing career going, for the villagers, with her captivating stories and steamy love scenes. She’s now pregnant, her every dream fulfilled. There is this part about Aoibheal going to visit the Unseelie king (really, I’ve lost count of this woman’s lovers; what about that Fey king from Beyond the Highland Mist? Where the heck is he?). Their exchanges were quite intriguing, with their past and all that. I really wanted to know more. It seems (and not very surprising IMO) she gives into the temptation of sleeping with Mr. Creepy once again. And then, Jane and Aedan talking about the latest issue of her serial novel for the villagers- about Duncan and Beth! Wha...? Huh? Where did these two come from? [read The Highlanders Touch to know about them] Are you kidding me Ms. Moning? I hate such teasing! But let me tell you, the wee excerpt from Jane’s ‘supposed’ novel, whatever I read, I envisioned Beth and Duncan’s story in just the way. I really did! Oh how I wish, again, that KMM would write the book. Argh!

Anyway, for this novella, 4 stars; because I truly enjoyed it, even with all those questions clattering me wee brain. I believe, this could’ve been another great full-length novel.

Into the Dreaminghas 15 chapters and an epilogue, with a few sweet love scenes in it.

Favorite Quote:
Finally, he knew the kind of loving that made two one and understood Jane was his world. His ocean, his country, his sun, his rain, his very heart.

For this one, a picture of the beautiful Isle of Skye...

Neist Point Lighthouse, The Isle of Skye


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