A Midnight Dreary (The DeChance Chronicles, Vol. 5) by David Niall Wilson
Crossroad Press (January 2019)
218 pages; $25.99 hardcover; $12.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
A novel that features Edgar Allan Poe is always something worth reading, especially as a character who is larger than life, shedding light into his mysterious past and sad fate. Add in dimensional and time travel, creatures of all sorts, the Brothers Grimm, and classic mythology, and the reader is in for a treat.
David Niall Wilson concludes his DeChance Chronicles with this tale that whisks the reader from the Great Dismal Swamp to New Orleans to the Black Forest of Germany. His writing is sheer poetry in this dark fantasy that invokes visions of many great thrillers, horror novels, and the retelling of many classics. Be prepared to lose a few hours as the entrancing story has a rhythm and melody to it that seduces as much as it darkens the mood.
Wilson suggests reading Nevermore, the novel prior to A Midnight Dreary; while it helps with some backstory, it’s not necessary at all. However, it’s a great read as well.
The skinny on the plot: Donovan DeChance takes the reader (and his strange team) on yet another adventure. He’s a sorcerer of sorts who teams up with the famed author (who also has some skills that readers never knew about), which results in a fine camaraderie that’s a bit mind-bending for fans. The storyline varies in time and dimension as he travels back to retrieve Poe for the sake of rescuing Lenore, who has been trapped in a tree via an evil spell.
The stories of Poe come to life here, with Grimm as a real life raven and nods to other tales woven within the fabric of this book. In current times, Thomas Bullfinch (yes, that one, author of the famed book on mythology) seeks to aid the mission with a pair of beautiful vampires. Bullfinch has quite the backstory himself, which further darkens the story but also gives the novel a bit of levity.
For those who have followed Wilson’s travels, A Midnight Dreary encompasses the O.C.L.T. and other stories and characters, which lends itself to some great Easter eggs hidden between the surface. The story begins akin to a Poe tale, drawn out and full of atmosphere, allowing the characters to breathe and develop before Wilson launches them on a wild ride that doesn’t relent until the final page.
A great read, recommended for readers who love Poe—or just enjoy a tale well-told. Pick up the other volumes in this series—it’s worth the read.