Uitvlugt has become mainstay in the pages of Cirsova, with offerings going all the way back to The Hour of the Rat in the inaugural issue. This time around he takes the reader on a journey to one small corner of the Dreamlands, a strange village whose inhabitants serve alien and eldritch beings. With The Dream Lords, it’s easy to see why he has become a regular. A wandering adventurer passes through Leng and confronts…well, in fine otherworldly form he confronts creatures that aren’t really evil. They are just different, and they provide a kind of service with a subtle cost. It’s a refreshingly different take on the usual town full of cultists.
The one drawback is that the story reads like, and unabashedly is, just one chapter in a larger tale. Our hero is tracking his brother down to avenge the murder of their shared mother, and The Dream Lands represents a brief side-quest in that larger journey. While this particular chapter works fine as a standalone tale complete with introduction to setting and protagonist, rising action, and full denouement, the references to the wanderer’s overall goal detract from the tale as presented. They feel a bit like a commercial for a larger work, tacked on extraneous details that intrude on the story. A lighter touch, a more mysterious explanation for his wanderings, would have allowed the story as presented to breathe on its own.
Still, this is a minor nitpick of an otherwise excellent story. And with a Kindle price of only $2.99, you’d be a sucker to pass up the issue. Only halfway through, it’s already a bargain at twice that price.