Title: A Market of Dreams and Destiny
Author: Trip Galey
Publisher: Titan Books
Length: 432 Pages
Category: Fantasy, Teen Fantasy
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: A Market of Dreams and Destiny is bewitching, enchanting, extraordinary, and is one of the most imaginative books I’ve read this year. What makes it an original isn’t its themes but its environment and the alchemy that makes the Untermarkt a thoroughly charmed and charming place.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Below Covent Garden lies the Untermarkt, where anything and everything has a price: a lover’s first blush, a month of honesty, a wisp of fortune. As a child, Deri was sold to one of the Market’s most powerful merchants. Now, after years of watchful servitude, Deri finally spots a chance to buy not only his freedom but also his place amongst the Market’s elite when he stumbles into the path of a runaway princess desperate to sell her royal destiny.
But news of the missing princess and her wayward destiny spreads. Royal enforcers and Master Merchants alike are after it. Outmanoeuvring them all would all be hard enough had Deri not just also met the love of his life, a young man called Owain, whose employers are using the Market for their own nefarious schemes.
Deri soon finds that the price of selling the royal destiny, making a name for himself, and saving the man he loves is dear. The cost of it all might just change the destiny of London forever.
Review: If Roald Dahl had imagined an underground London market and Charles Dickens had collaborated to populate the story with orphaned child laborers indentured to the slyest and most unsavory of adults, they might have crafted something like Trip Galey’s splendiferous A Market of Dreams and Destiny.
This novel is bewitching, enchanting, extraordinary, and is one of the most imaginative books I’ve read this year. It’s fantasy (with a touch of realism) and loads of magic as the world-building draws readers into a London of long ago, when orphaned or otherwise abandoned children were forced into labor at workhouses while some were sold into indentured servitude—in this case in the Untermarkt below the streets of the city, where any- and everything is for sale, and the negotiators are adept at spell-crafting words to their advantage.
These transactions and their graceful choreography, of course, are only as successful as Trip Galey’s skill at casting the incantations, perfecting the rhythms, and weaving rhymes throughout the story that can mean success or failure in a transaction. At this, he is proficient to the point of wonderment at young Deri’s mental and verbal calisthenics which prove that his master has not only taught Deri exceedingly well—unintentionally, no doubt—but Master Maurlocke underestimates his servant as well. There are a number of reasons Deri wants to turn the tables on the status quo, but none he’s willing to sacrifice so much for than Owain, the boy with whom Deri has fallen in love.
This is a Down with the miscreants, give the power back to the people story at its heart, but its soul is the joy Deri and Owain found in each other under the direst of circumstances. The stakes are high and the emotions run sweet as they scheme with friends and allies to set the world right. They wish to control their own destinies, a theme that carries through the story via another character as well. What makes this book an original isn’t its themes but its environment and the alchemy that makes the Untermarkt a thoroughly charmed and charming place.
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