THE DREAMER AND THE MARKED
(BOOK 1 OF THE ARAI CHRONICLES)
The Dreamer and the Marked by Airic Fenn is a beautifully written fantasy novel with an expansive world, creative story, and such in-depth characters (…) Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it.Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review
Fenn’s prose is both descriptive and stimulating, painting an alternate fae world with unknown creatures that never leave readers disengaged.The BookLife Prize
A crafty, twist-laden tale that effectively introduces a complex fantasy series.Kirkus Reviews
In the wake of her Mam’s death, Krystal Monarain has turned to escapism, throwing herself into the fantastic stories she was told as a child and the strange, recurring dreams she has at night. But she never quite believed her Mam’s tales that her birth mother wasn’t human—That is until Draqa, a stranger from one of her dreams, appears in her life and tells her she’s part fae. So she does the unthinkable and risks following him into Arai, the realm where the fae have lived unbothered for hundreds of years. For Draqa, however, Krystal’s arrival in his world could mean his execution, and he must do everything he can to get her off his hands before they’re caught.
Meanwhile, unrest is growing between the fae and those they deem a threat to the safety of their realm, and when someone from Draqa’s past comes to him seeking aid, he and Krystal may have no choice but to get involved.
Arai is a realm where magic is combined with technology and is home to the beings humans have told tales about for centuries. Some, ah, inaccuracies may have developed over the years. Adjacent to Arai is Taevalear, which translates roughly to “the Other Realm.” Humans just call it earth. Arai and Taevalear were traveled between frequently before humans grew fearful and dangerous. The fae have not forgotten this betrayal and have looked to humans with scrutiny ever since.
Book 1 primarily takes place in Erothel, one of the twelve nations united under the guidance of the High Council of Arai. Erothel is by far the most powerful and excels in sea and air trade. Its only true rival is the neighboring country of Adonis.
Krystal is a perky and confident young woman who was raised on fairytales. She has developed a fascination for all things whimsical and unknown, unaware that she herself has Faerish blood running through her veins. Spontaneous in nature, she is driven by her unashamed curiosity.
Fun Facts: In the first draft of the book, Krystal was forcibly taken to Arai, and was also much more skeptical of the magical world around her. She was also originally meant to be part drād (dragon person), and was to learn how to transform into a dragon by the end of the book.
Draqa is a man with a secret affinity for the lives and cultures in the realm of Taevalear. He works as a servant for Sius Mavell Evi, the governor of Erothel’s Western province. He sustained a terrible injury from an accident in his youth, and is quiet and quick to anger.
Fun Facts: An early version of Draqa involved him being possessed by a demon, and he would often lose control, Jekyll-Hyde style. This was originally a major plot point, but the idea was later scrapped.
Javis is an earnest, albeit impatient, ambassador for Erothel’s government. He’s well-versed in the magic of holy-men, although he has little use for it anymore. Much to his shame, he’s picked up some of his father’s old habits and refuses to admit it.
Fun Facts: Javis’ job has changed many times over many drafts, first being a wizard-magician, then later a professor at a school for magic. His final profession as an ambassador was decided after he came to have a more integral role in the story.
Talara is a drenen woman whom Javis met when he first became ambassador to the drād clans south of Erothel. A reserved personality but a loyal friend, she has taken to acting the one voice of reason to counter Javis’ rash ideas. She owns an apothecary in the port city of Talnoq-Vyn.
Fun Facts: In the early stages of TDATM, Talara didn’t exist apart from an idea for Javis to have a childhood friend who was also a healer. She has since taken her own shape, and remains one of my favorite characters despite her smaller role in the story.
Averil is Javis’ fastidious best friend. The pair have known each other for most of Javis’ life and are as close as brothers. Averil is very concerned with the government’s poor treatment of the yilura and the half humans in Arai.
Fun Facts: Averil is the only character based on anyone I’ve met in real life, at least as far as his appearance goes. His inspiration was a bouncy Walmart employee with a visible passion for steampunk. The author will forever remember his name and the words he spoke as he lead them to the video game aisle: “Skip with me!”
Zalé is Averil’s ten-year-old son. He’s a tad shy and distrusting of those apart from his father and Javis, but for the few who earn his trust, he’s talkative and is quite mischievous in nature.
Fun Facts: A relatively new character, Zalé started as nothing more than a sly, pixie-like fox that Krystal was supposed to meet while travelling Arai. His name, though also a Greek name meaning “sea-strength,” was based on zāle, the Latvian word for grass, because the author thought that was the perfect name for a fox.
Sius Mavell Evi is the governor of Erothel’s Western province. He’s a calculating old man whose cruelty is well-hidden behind his charming smile. Still, most in the port city of Talnoq-Vyn know better than to cross him, or they may just find Draqa on their doorstep…
Fun Facts: Every good antagonist has to start out with a cheesy name, and his was Celsius. Like the measurement of temperature.
Tolas Ruv Aen is a traitor to Sius Mavell Evi and now works for the underground organization known as the Ard’a. He goes out of his way to act a bit cheeky, but his humorous attitude can shift in a heartbeat, especially where Draqa is concerned.
Fun Facts: This man’s entire personality and appearance was created from a series of “what ifs…” (and the author thinking they were being incredibly “funny” and “clever”). It is of utmost importance that you imagine this man with a Texan accent. The author only commissions TDATM art of him.
General Content Warning:
This book contains depictions of physical and emotional abuse, suicidal ideation, alcoholism, and general violence. If you have questions about other potential content, feel free to ask via the author’s contact page.