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The Lairdbalor is a fascinating examination of the nature of anxiety

The Lairdbalor Kathleen Kaufman

SciFi & Fantasy Pub Date October 10, 2017


We live in a world filled with nightmares, some of our own making and others beyond our control. Coping with anxiety, and moving forward despite our fears can often seem impossible- particularly in today's volatile social and political climate.

The Lairdbalor is the story of a child, but it is not a children's story. When Jamie falls down a hill, he discovers a world where nightmares are very real and very dangerous. It is at once a fantasy and a fable, reminding readers they are not alone. At the same time it points out clearly that many of our fears are based on ignorance, and despite having the ability to dispel them, we instead welcome those fears. (Very pertinent today). Jamie’s journey is surreal, much like Alice’s journey through Wonderland. Nightmares take a variety of physical forms which Jamie must face in order to return home.

The ending left me bewildered rather than uplifted. Jamie returns but to a world where he has no place, a very different world. Rather than being able to cope in his own life, he starts a new one. I didn't expect a “happy” ending but I did expect more of a strategic resolution.

The Lairdbalor is unusual, and its premise is unique and thought provoking. Its aim is impressive, but it doesn't achieve all it sets out to. Considered on the whole, The Lairdbalor is a good novel with niche appeal.

4 /5

The Lairdbalor is available for preorder and will be released October 10, 2017.

I received a copy of The Lairdbalor from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



“I am the stuff of your nightmares . . . you have been writing my name on the walls of your fear your entire life.” When seven-year-old Jamie falls down a very long hill, he finds himself trapped in a world of strange creatures, harsh landscapes, and near-perpetual darkness. Lost and confused, Jamie is desperate to get home. The nightmares, fears, and all manner of what-ifs that inhabit this shadow world are unfamiliar to him—all except one: the Lairdbalor, Jamie’s personal nightmare, once relegated to his dreams. In this fantastical land, however, the Lairdbalor and all the fears and nightmares of children are very real. But Jamie’s nightmare is different. It is the sum total of the anger and anxiety that imprisoned him in his former life, and it threatens to consume and rule the nightmare realm, a place where time passes differently. With each slumber, Jamie finds himself inexorably changed. The farther he travels through this terrifying world, the better he understands the one he left behind

Crossing genres of folklore, horror, fantasy, and magical realism, The Lairdbalor is a story for anyone who lives with anxiety and fear and has ever wondered “what if?” It is the story of a child not meant for children and a darkly imaginative meditation on life, death, fear, and the nature of reality.

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