A Market of Dreams and Destiny
By Trip Galey
- A Market of Dreams and Destiny
Author: Trip Galey
Publisher: Titan Books
- ISBN: 9781803363684
- Published: September 2023
- Pages: 424
- Format reviewed: Paperback
- Review date: 12/09/2023
- Language: English
There are two ways to treat fairy folk in a fantasy novel. You can hide them, only the protagonist knowing that there is a secret world in the forest. Or you can embrace them. Make the likes of goblins and fairies' part of everyday life. In A Market of Dreams and Destiny by Trip Galey, an accord has been struck between the humans and fairy folk during the Victorian era. Whilst humans may not all mix with the magical beings, they all know that there is a market they can visit for all their needs. The problem may be getting out again.
Deri is a human but knows more than most about the Goblin Market having lived there all his life. He is indentured to a powerful merchant, but between tasks has been saving up to buy his freedom. One day the opportunity of a lifetime drops in Deri’s lap, but can he take advantage of it? His attention has been distracted by a young man, Owain – poor in materials, but noble of heart. Will Deri focus on his own freedom, or on freeing this young man and all his friends who are forced to work in a dangerous factory for inscrutable bosses?
Blending the world of the real and magical is popular in Urban Fantasy, but I caution any writer planning it, as it is not easy to get right. Too often there is no sense of stability in the magical world, anything can happen and that undermines anything that does happen. What is the point when magic can just fix it all? Galey has avoided these pitfalls perfectly by focussing on the Goblin Market early.
The start of the book is all about Deri and his relationship with the market. We learn so much about how the place works, it is its own character. We also learn a lot about Deri, about his upbringing and his ability to hear the voice of the bells. A skill that will become increasingly important as the book progresses. It is only after the rules of the Market have been established that the story is able to progress. This gives the book a grounded feel, despite it being filled with Goblins and magical exchanges.
Setting the book during an alternative Industrial Revolution works well as it allows for all faces of humanity to exert themselves. This is the London of Dickins, of the rich taking advantage of the poor. Deri is not against taking advantage of people who wander into the Goblin Market, but even he eventually becomes aware that the treatment of the poor up top is not acceptable. Deri could do something about it. The latter part of the book takes on a heist feel, a sense of heightened tension as the stakes become higher, not just for Deri but Owain too.
The stakes become so high because Galey builds the relationship between Deri and Owain. Two lovers who are kept apart by their circumstances. It has the ingredients of a good romance and Galey follows through. There are lots of other characters that also stand out from Owain’s friends to Deri’s boss. Galey has created a rich tapestry of character and place.
The relationship elements of Market will please those that like character interactions, but the highlight for me is the impressive way that Galey was able to put across the complex world of the Goblin Market to the reader. It could have been a confused mess, but instead the Market itself becomes an integral part of the story. Any fan of Urban Fantasy will enjoy this story for the world building, setting and characters.
Written on 12th September 2023 by Sam Tyler .