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The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume One

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Here begins an extraordinary alliance—and a brutal and tender, shocking, and electrifying adventure to end all adventures. It starts with a simple note. Roger Bascombe regretfully wishes to inform Celeste Temple that their engagement is forthwith terminated. Determined to find out why, Miss Temple takes the first step in a journey that will propel her into a dizzyingly seduct Here begins an extraordinary alliance—and a brutal and tender, shocking, and electrifying adventure to end all adventures. It starts with a simple note. Roger Bascombe regretfully wishes to inform Celeste Temple that their engagement is forthwith terminated. Determined to find out why, Miss Temple takes the first step in a journey that will propel her into a dizzyingly seductive, utterly shocking world beyond her imagining—and set her on a collision course with a killer and a spy—in a bodice-ripping, action-packed roller-coaster ride of suspense, betrayal, and richly fevered dreams.


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Here begins an extraordinary alliance—and a brutal and tender, shocking, and electrifying adventure to end all adventures. It starts with a simple note. Roger Bascombe regretfully wishes to inform Celeste Temple that their engagement is forthwith terminated. Determined to find out why, Miss Temple takes the first step in a journey that will propel her into a dizzyingly seduct Here begins an extraordinary alliance—and a brutal and tender, shocking, and electrifying adventure to end all adventures. It starts with a simple note. Roger Bascombe regretfully wishes to inform Celeste Temple that their engagement is forthwith terminated. Determined to find out why, Miss Temple takes the first step in a journey that will propel her into a dizzyingly seductive, utterly shocking world beyond her imagining—and set her on a collision course with a killer and a spy—in a bodice-ripping, action-packed roller-coaster ride of suspense, betrayal, and richly fevered dreams.

30 review for The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume One

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Note: The following covers both volumes of the book. Before I go into some minutia about this book I should say straight out that overall it was a ripping good yarn. I'm a very happy I found it to curl up with on the dark and rainy weekend that culminated the summer that never was. Now here are some pointed observations: A) Seriously why is this being sold in two volumes? It's not two books, it's ONE book that they've simply chopped in half. The second volume starts exactly where the last one stop Note: The following covers both volumes of the book. Before I go into some minutia about this book I should say straight out that overall it was a ripping good yarn. I'm a very happy I found it to curl up with on the dark and rainy weekend that culminated the summer that never was. Now here are some pointed observations: A) Seriously why is this being sold in two volumes? It's not two books, it's ONE book that they've simply chopped in half. The second volume starts exactly where the last one stops, no little intro or reminder where you are, which is a crappy idea because it's a fairly complex piece of plotting and if I hadn't gotten both volumes at once thanks to store credit and coupons, I would have ended the first one angry to be cut off and started the second one resentful that I had to re-read the first to remember what was going on. Also, I see that it has been published as one book in the past so the motivation for this seems to be nothing more then greed on the part of the publisher. BAD PUBLISHER! B) Why wasn't this book in the science fiction/fantasy section? It has magic (okay, alchemy) and zeppelins. Ergo steampunk, ergo fantasy. Do they WANT their major audience to not find it? Plus fantasy readers are trained from birth to accept multiple books. Trilogies are de rigeur! They wouldn't bitch like I just did about the two books deal! [Note: it's completely disingenuous for me to use the word "they" here since I totally read fantasy books] Given the crappy tactics they've employed to make double the money on this thing why are they making this blunder? C) It would have been nice to have a proper sense on how "The Process" changed people. I never could get a sense of that, which considering how fighting the process is the main motivator for everything, would have been nice. Nice things now: D) As I read this book I realized how much work must have gone into writing it. It's just so carefully plotted and structured, it's honestly rather amazing. What's more amazing is that he doesn't stint on the characters either, the author's created them so they're more then just pushed by the story. There's real depth to his characterizations, most notably Ms. Temple, who was a wonderful heroine. E) At the end I felt sort of sad for this book. All that effort and it's just sort of lost on the shelves, out of place and weirdly set up. It's better then I could have imagined going into it and it's because of that I have a feeling that it's just going to be lost after while. They'll stop printing it, copies will end up in used bookstores, people (me?) will forget they've read it. It's good enough that it doesn't deserve this fate. It should end up some kind of little cult where obsessives keep it alive for non-obsessives to stumble on and enjoy. Meh. Sigh.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    i alternated between loving this book and HATING THIS BOOK. i'm a firm believer in the idea that you haven't really read until you've held your breath for three full pages. in that regard, this book didn't disappoint. the action scenes were stunning--the author managed to make them fast-paced without sacrificing any of the beauty of the language or details. i found two of the three main characters intriguing, and can forgive the third because it was her heartbreak that set the whole escapade i i alternated between loving this book and HATING THIS BOOK. i'm a firm believer in the idea that you haven't really read until you've held your breath for three full pages. in that regard, this book didn't disappoint. the action scenes were stunning--the author managed to make them fast-paced without sacrificing any of the beauty of the language or details. i found two of the three main characters intriguing, and can forgive the third because it was her heartbreak that set the whole escapade in motion. HOWEVER. there were either waaaaay too many characters or waaaaay too little time was spent describing them. a character would make their first appearance on one page, say a couple (inane) things, then disappear for 100 more pages. at which point we would discover...that they are an integral part of the enemy camp? working for this other person who we should totally know about? and they both did this horrible thing to this other chick who we were introduced to on page five? but really the first person is the most important person to focus on, because they're the most evil? unless they're not bad at all, just misunderstood? at which point the reader (especially those with a stoners memory) wants to throw the book against the wall because reading is hard and you have to remember lots of things. and such. also, the whole theme of the book (the "glass dream eating book" thing) is never really satisfactorily explained. it's kind of danced around, then in the final ten pages the dance gets a little more intense and about 2.5 questions are answered, but i still feel like i don't really know what the deal is with them. and quite honestly, after 460ish pages, i should know what the "glass dream eating book" thing means. also, although i really enjoyed the cliffhanger ending, i really HATED the cliffhanger ending.

  3. 5 out of 5

    StarMan

    REVIEW: Fantasy/mystery with steampunk-ish elements. Imaginative at times, but seemed 20% too stretched-out to me. I would've preferred sticking with Miss Temple's viewpoint only; she was the most interesting character. VERDICT: 2.75 stars, but bumping up to 3 for originality in mixed genres. For something similar but far more hilarious, check out Soulless by Gail Carriger REVIEW: Fantasy/mystery with steampunk-ish elements. Imaginative at times, but seemed 20% too stretched-out to me. I would've preferred sticking with Miss Temple's viewpoint only; she was the most interesting character. VERDICT: 2.75 stars, but bumping up to 3 for originality in mixed genres. For something similar but far more hilarious, check out Soulless by Gail Carriger

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bob Redmond

    This is one of the most imaginative books I've ever read. Dahlquist has created a total fantasy environment that resides somewhere in time around 1895, and thematically between Dickens, Robertson Davies, Philip Pullman, Robert Ludlum and, say, Serge Gainsbourg. The story is about a cabal of court members, aristocrats, military leaders, and mad scientists who have developed a plan to control the world. To reveal the details of this plan would spoil the book. On the other side, we have a jilted lov This is one of the most imaginative books I've ever read. Dahlquist has created a total fantasy environment that resides somewhere in time around 1895, and thematically between Dickens, Robertson Davies, Philip Pullman, Robert Ludlum and, say, Serge Gainsbourg. The story is about a cabal of court members, aristocrats, military leaders, and mad scientists who have developed a plan to control the world. To reveal the details of this plan would spoil the book. On the other side, we have a jilted lover who decides (on page one) to investigate her ex. Along the way she meets Men of Mystery and Adventure, while scenes scandalous and suspenseful play out over the 500 pages of this book (and another 500 in the next!). The unanimous praise on the cover (and inside half-dozen pages) said "bodice ripper" -- and yes, bodices were ripped. It also said sci-fi, fantasy, detective story, and evocative period piece... all this could not be true, but it is. Dahlquist has broken stylistic ground, even after almost 300 years of novel-writing. My quibbles--which become objections in Volume 2--are these: Dahlquist is TOO in love with words: some scenes and descriptions, and eventually, entire plot devices, are just too much, like a surfeit of chase scenes in a James Bond movie (if it were 4 hours long). It gets confusing. Characters don't develop much. Relationships remain mostly static throughout the two books. Dahlquist spends so much time on action scenes he has little space to develop the implications of his central plot device: the theft of dreams (and minds). And so on: the mechanics of this story overshadow everything else--it's a stunning effect, but like too many fireworks, the smoke from all the pyrotechnics risks obscuring the colors, shapes and overall artistic design. Still, it's a satisfying and provocative read. It's as least as entertaining, and compelling to read, as Philip Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS, with a metaphysical universe almost--almost--as inventive and clearly drawn. WHY I READ THIS BOOK: I saw it got good reviews from the booksellers at Bailey-Coy, and I picked it up there. Also, the author has Pacific Northwest roots, which also interested me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The first two hundred pages or so of this novel captivated me. The character of Celeste Temple was fun, albeit a somewhat stereotypical "plucky heroine". Cardinal Chang, as the hit man with a heart of gold, is also a click or two away from charicature. The third member of the triumvirate, Dr. Whatshisname, is less compelling. The story is told in chapters that alternate between those three points of view. Within a very few pages, Miss Temple finds herself in a situation that is both bizarre and The first two hundred pages or so of this novel captivated me. The character of Celeste Temple was fun, albeit a somewhat stereotypical "plucky heroine". Cardinal Chang, as the hit man with a heart of gold, is also a click or two away from charicature. The third member of the triumvirate, Dr. Whatshisname, is less compelling. The story is told in chapters that alternate between those three points of view. Within a very few pages, Miss Temple finds herself in a situation that is both bizarre and dangerous. The opening chapters are so full of twists and turns that you can't imagine what will happen next. Unfortunately, by about the middle of volume 1, you don't care as much what will happen next. Or that was my experience. And I deeply resent having to pay for two books to get one story. As many others have commented, this book would have been much stronger (and would have fit between 2 covers instead of four) if the events of the middle had been greatly compressed.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Probably my favourite steampunk novel - and I've only just read the first volume! Dahlquist creates a beautiful, intriguing world with plot reveals that actually surprise and good pacing. Not a conscious attempt to hit upon every steampunk trope and archetype the way so many modern fictions are. His use of language delights, especially the writing style, which emulates a Victorian mood without being dense and boring. I am excited to dive into Volume II and see how he brings everything to a concl Probably my favourite steampunk novel - and I've only just read the first volume! Dahlquist creates a beautiful, intriguing world with plot reveals that actually surprise and good pacing. Not a conscious attempt to hit upon every steampunk trope and archetype the way so many modern fictions are. His use of language delights, especially the writing style, which emulates a Victorian mood without being dense and boring. I am excited to dive into Volume II and see how he brings everything to a conclusion.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Awww, my first steampunk read. Aren't I adorably late to the party? I have to admit if I hadn't been browsing in a rush and determined to pick up at least one book that looked like an easy page-turner, I might have passed this up on closer examination. A Diana Gabaldon blurb on the cover is not likely to endear me, but luckily I didn't notice it and thus didn't miss out on this bit of page-turney fun. Well-written, blurringly fast-paced, and excellently balanced between three main protagonists ( Awww, my first steampunk read. Aren't I adorably late to the party? I have to admit if I hadn't been browsing in a rush and determined to pick up at least one book that looked like an easy page-turner, I might have passed this up on closer examination. A Diana Gabaldon blurb on the cover is not likely to endear me, but luckily I didn't notice it and thus didn't miss out on this bit of page-turney fun. Well-written, blurringly fast-paced, and excellently balanced between three main protagonists (though Doctor Svenson quickly became my clear favorite.) It is quite literally a bodice-ripper, in that a bodice gets ripped within the first 35 pages, though not with the outcome you might expect. The plot machinations are many and complexity seems to continuously build, even to the extent that the characters have to remark aloud to one another about how many details they cannot yet explain. The reader is occasionally left to wonder whether a particular situation or series of decisions is really likely, considering the goals and incentives of the villians (poorly understood though they admittedly remain for most of the book), or whether Dahlquist is just taking fiendish delight in delineating a particular setpiece he has constructed in his sleep the night before without much regard for cool logic. Volume One ends abruptly, and now I feel I have to seek out the second book in the series so I can find out both 1) what happens and 2) whether all of those situations and decisions really did make sense within an internal logic that was not yet clear in the first volume.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Loren

    This was an amazing ride. The bookseller who recommended it to me described it at a steampunk Perils of Pauline, with a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter. She didn't tell me how much I would come to enjoy the company of the characters. The blossoming young lady who grew up on a plantation in the islands, the nearly blind assassin in his crimson coat, and the German doctor-spy were all fully drawn, completely believable, and great fun to be around. The ever-expanding conspiracy fascinated m This was an amazing ride. The bookseller who recommended it to me described it at a steampunk Perils of Pauline, with a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter. She didn't tell me how much I would come to enjoy the company of the characters. The blossoming young lady who grew up on a plantation in the islands, the nearly blind assassin in his crimson coat, and the German doctor-spy were all fully drawn, completely believable, and great fun to be around. The ever-expanding conspiracy fascinated me, too. The only drawback is that the story stops in the middle, so that I'm obliged to trek back to the bookstore to pick up volume 2. It had better be in stock! I'm thoroughly hooked.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alana

    My review for The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters spans both Volume One and Volume Two, because really, I figure if you're committing yourself to the first, you should probably accept the second... after all, the book was originally printed as one large hardcover, and it only split into two volumes in paperback. That said, my big issue was this. Generally, I think one can assume that the period of time in which it takes the events of a book to unfold will be greater than the time it takes one to My review for The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters spans both Volume One and Volume Two, because really, I figure if you're committing yourself to the first, you should probably accept the second... after all, the book was originally printed as one large hardcover, and it only split into two volumes in paperback. That said, my big issue was this. Generally, I think one can assume that the period of time in which it takes the events of a book to unfold will be greater than the time it takes one to read it. That might be *barely* true here... but only if one factors in the extra day that passes in the first five pages where Miss Temple absorbs the news that Roger Bascombe has ended their engagement. *Including that*, everything takes place in three days. Three days! That's a lot of pages to chart the course of three days. And sure, we're moving quickly, but I actually found this to be a book rich in detail, perfectly willing to linger over descriptions of people and locations... and the action scenes certainly took double the time to read than they would to actually occur (and oftentimes, you have certain scenes repeated at least twice, as we bounce between the perspectives of three main characters). All that aside, I did enjoy these books and since I read them in the space of five days, I can reasonably say that they do captivate one's attention. Of course, they do this by such a ridiculous amount of suspense that I didn't feel as though I was eagerly devouring the book so much as I was being forcibly pushed through everything, with the knowledge that if I stopped, I would surely find something amiss and so I had no choice but to power through. There was never a moment of pause as we barreled headlong into an incredibly complicated plot with a long list of characters. The simple description is ridiculously broad. Three unlikely compatriots find themselves banding together against a sinister group of persons who have a plot to take over the world by mind-manipulation. But that only scratches the surface. The book opens upon Miss Temple reading a note from her fiancee, informing her in a rather terse note that he is terminating their engagement. She resolves to discover exactly why he has ended things (not out of deep love to get him back, but more with a need for closure), and of course, the most logical way to do that is not to ask him, but to follow him. This propels her (and the reader) into a world that is more and more complicated by the minute, with a "Cabal" of personalities bound tightly together by a fracturing partnership. But she isn't alone -- Celeste Temple forms a strange alliance with two other men as they seek to thwart the evil-doings of the Cabal. Cardinal Chang is a deadly assassin so named for his trademark red jacket and scarring on his eyes that gives him the appearance of being Oriental. Originally hired to kill a man (who turns out to be deeply involved in the Cabal's goings-on), Chang is unable to follow-through on that assignment when he finds the man has been killed for him, but his involvement hardly ends there. Doctor Svenson is a chain-smoking diplomat/doctor who is essentially baby-sitting a prince of Macklenburg (a German duchy) that has become engaged to a wealthy Lord's daughter, and then discovers that the Lord, the daughter, and his own prince all have their roles in this sinister plot. And lest you think this is some simple "take over the world" plot by hypnotising people, the means for mind-manipulation rest in the mysterious properties of "indigo clay" and the amazing glass that can be formed by it as a repository for memories. Such fantastic ideas have a darker side, too -- and the adherents to this "Process" might very well be selling their souls (or at least their free will) over to the leaders of the Cabal. The fantasy elements are certainly interesting... I was introduced to the phrase "steampunk" by way of this book, and if you know that at all, it certainly applies. It's chocked full of dirigibles and trains, as well as masquerade balls and erotic undertones (without venturing into anything really romantic). It's certainly a wild ride, but I must admit that with the two volumes and all, I was a little peeved to note that there's a sequel that was just published. You'd think that it would at least have the courtesy to conclude its business within those two volumes, but ah well. I'll certainly go on to the sequel, but I predict that it might be trying my patience to do so. But if "steampunk" seems up your alley, then by all means, seek out The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters because it certainly is a creative epic, the likes of which you rarely stumble across on the pure fiction shelves (rather than that of fantasy or sci-fi).

  10. 5 out of 5

    colleen the convivial curmudgeon

    2.5 I'm not really sure what to say about this book, which is part 1 of a story and so sort of just ends in the middle. I've ordered part 2 and should have it sometimes next week, so maybe I'll be able to wrap my head around it then. Thus far, it's been a very slow build, and I'm not sure I'm quite a fan of the way the shifting perspectives are handled. See, in the first part of the book we follow Miss Temple, a woman who can be seen as strong-willed and independent, but who also can be seen as ra 2.5 I'm not really sure what to say about this book, which is part 1 of a story and so sort of just ends in the middle. I've ordered part 2 and should have it sometimes next week, so maybe I'll be able to wrap my head around it then. Thus far, it's been a very slow build, and I'm not sure I'm quite a fan of the way the shifting perspectives are handled. See, in the first part of the book we follow Miss Temple, a woman who can be seen as strong-willed and independent, but who also can be seen as rather silly, getting herself wrapped up in an adventure because she gets on a train to follow her former fiance who has just ended it without explanation. I mean, really - surely there are better ways and times to confront him without hopping on a 2 hour train when you have no idea where you're going or what you're getting involved in. But I digress. So it started off slow, but then I had finally settled into the story, and it was getting quite interesting - and then we drop Miss Temple and start following protagonist number two, Cardinal Chang. Not only does the perspective shift, but we now have to go back and capture what Chang was doing during the same time period we had just spent with Miss Temple. Chang is an interesting character, and the sort I usually like - though, once again, things are a bit slow going in the set-up. And then we drop him and end up with the third protagonist, Svenson, and, once again, go back in time to see what he did during the same time period, and Svensson isn't really remotely interesting at all. So, finally, we've covered the three and how they got involved in the story thus far, and they come together in a puff of coincidence that would shame Rowling. (Yes, I love Harry Potter, but the whole running across people with the exact information you need in the middle of a forest while running for your lives was absurd.) But, now, our protags are all together, filling each other in on their own pieces (which were blessedly summarized, because I'd forgotten some bits as my eyes glazed over) - and things start picking up and being interesting, and the pace quickens and things are coming together... But then Miss Temple, in a fit of pique, runs off to prove herself to, well, herself, which causes the other two to split up, and we're back to following their solo progress, which should be much more interesting than it is, but is constantly protracted by things that don't make much sense. (For instance, Svenson's constant reminiscings in the middle of the goings on is silly and odious.) All in all it's an interesting story, the Dream Eaters, the "cabal" (that word is used far too often), the blue glass and the Process which takes people's wills and their dreams for others to experience, the various villians (of whom there are far too many and it's taken me quite this long just to figure out who's who, and I'm still not sure I have all the names straight), and who's working together and who has their own agenda. And it could be a marvelous story, but the writing is just kind of belabored and the pace is far too slow. And there are too many convenient coincidences, and our heroes seem to be generally blundering around - including Chang who should know better, being an assassin/spy/their guy - and they end up in one life-threatening scenario after another, to just barely survive by luck or chance (and almost never by anything they actually do), only to continue blundering on. I'm hoping the second volume picks up pace and brings things together a bit more, and as less meandering side points. Oh, as a side bit - what the hell is with everyone falling in love with people in, like, 5 minutes. Bah! Oh, yes - on that note, this story is set in Victorian, England, I think, but it doesn't really feel like it. There are times, especially with Celeste, when issues of propriety and whatnot come up, but them seem like tidbits that the author sort of threw in after the fact. It feels more like it's an alternate universe, like Lies of Locke Lamore sort of thing - and I wish they'd've kept it that way, to be honest, because the lack of historical feeling of it is somewhat jarring, but if they'd just made it purely alt, then it wouldn't be an issue. (The names are one thing which don't feel right. Xonck and Lacquer-Sforza, and I think it's supposed to be in England, but they keep referring to the one guy as Comte, which is French, and I thought the only foreigners were the ones in Svenson's party, but maybe I missed some details, 'cause my mind keeps drifting while I'm reading - so who knows?) It could be really good, and I hope it gets better, but, mostly, the writing gets in the way of both the characters and the story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Linda Isakson

    This story was certainly imaginative and full of action, however I never found myself fully engaged. Bits and pieces were thrilling to read, but overall it didn't capture my attention as much as I had hoped. The writing is superb and a bit reminiscent of Wilde. The story comes from the points of view of the three main characters, often allowing the story to backtrack in order to understand each character's involvement at certain points in the narrative. Miss Celeste Temple discovers her engageme This story was certainly imaginative and full of action, however I never found myself fully engaged. Bits and pieces were thrilling to read, but overall it didn't capture my attention as much as I had hoped. The writing is superb and a bit reminiscent of Wilde. The story comes from the points of view of the three main characters, often allowing the story to backtrack in order to understand each character's involvement at certain points in the narrative. Miss Celeste Temple discovers her engagement to Roger Bascombe, an up-and-coming Ministry official, abruptly ended by a simple note. A bit peeved and more than curious as to why Roger's feelings have changed so quickly, she follows him aboard a train and plunges head-first into a conspiracy that is not fully revealed in the first volume. However, what Celeste discovers includes a conspiracy where sadistic acts of corporeal multilation occur in an effort to transcend the body beyond the limits of biology. Some information about the elusive Glass Book and the Glass Cards are provided, but not fully understood by the reader. After Miss Temple's rendezvous with the secret society, she barely escapes with her life but is everafter hunted by those who wish to protect their secret. Enter Cardinal Chang, an assassin of renown hired to track and kill Miss Temple, and Dr. Svenson, a German physician who discovers his Prince has become involved with this mysterious society. Chang, Svenson and Miss Temple eventually form an alliance as mercenaries are now after all three of them. However, Miss Temple, in a fit of unreasonable anger, leaves the men only to be abducted. End of volume one.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Yen Ooi

    It has repeatedly been said that Mr Dahlquist was paid USD 2,000,000 for a two book deal; this being the first book. I don’t know how true it is, but I can actually believe it. From the opening line of the book until the closing, the tension of the book did not slacken, not even for a second. The actual timeframe of the storyline is, how should I say it.... short. Considering the amount of adventure it goes through, it does put 24 (the TV series) to shame, I think. Based around three main charac It has repeatedly been said that Mr Dahlquist was paid USD 2,000,000 for a two book deal; this being the first book. I don’t know how true it is, but I can actually believe it. From the opening line of the book until the closing, the tension of the book did not slacken, not even for a second. The actual timeframe of the storyline is, how should I say it.... short. Considering the amount of adventure it goes through, it does put 24 (the TV series) to shame, I think. Based around three main characters, and boy are they REAL characters, the book goes through a roller-coaster of plots, characters, settings and information. One of the papers called it “a gothic roller-coaster ride” or something of the sort, which describes it exactly. The setting reminded me of Pullman’s Dark Materials, but yet, the science is very modern and mystical at the same time. As for the mystery plot, it is like three mystery books put into one, but weaved together carefully and artistically. I mustn’t forget the sexiness of the book. It is a very rare occasion that one actually gets to call a book sexy. The second book, the Dark Volume is on my shopping list. Hopefully it will not disappoint, but until then, if you are looking for an exciting and different book, read this. If you are one who judges your book by its cover (in today’s world, I think there is no shame in that), visit the book’s website. If you like what you see, I think you will love what you will read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    October

    I will admit that I didn't make it page 150 of this book. But, honestly, if it hasn't caught my interest by 150 pages, the book becomes a waste of time--as this one was. Furthermore, I had to keep flipping back so I could remember the name of the female protagonist; constantly forgetting her name because she's such a stock character is never a sign of good quality. I'd like to add that anyone who says the characters aren't the basest of common tropes needs shaken--hard. They've clearly never seen I will admit that I didn't make it page 150 of this book. But, honestly, if it hasn't caught my interest by 150 pages, the book becomes a waste of time--as this one was. Furthermore, I had to keep flipping back so I could remember the name of the female protagonist; constantly forgetting her name because she's such a stock character is never a sign of good quality. I'd like to add that anyone who says the characters aren't the basest of common tropes needs shaken--hard. They've clearly never seen well-rounded characters and shouldn't be allowed to comment on such a thing. Of course, part of the reason I didn't like what I read was because the story is completely plot driven. While the painfully stereotypical Miss Temple and 'Cardinal Chang' were so woefully forgettable, I found myself quickly interested in what the antagonists were doing. Of course, a lot of it didn't seem particularly realistic (because the FIRST thing I do when I'm in a strange house is masturbate...yes. And because after some strange man beats me, a little fingering from him really makes me feel better; at least the latter woman was on drugs at that point), but I was still curious. I don't recommend it, though I commend anyone who made it past Miss Temple's sickening temper tantrum in the beginning.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Singer

    I was putting books away and came across volume 3 and it looked interesting. After bypassing the series for a few months on a whim I decided to pick up the first book to read on my day off. I'm not a fan of victorian writing or writing styles so I was a bit put off on the first page or two as I had to adjust to the writing style but the character was intriguing enough for me to give it a shot. The next thing I knew I was 100 pages in. It's been a while since I was able to immerse myself wholehea I was putting books away and came across volume 3 and it looked interesting. After bypassing the series for a few months on a whim I decided to pick up the first book to read on my day off. I'm not a fan of victorian writing or writing styles so I was a bit put off on the first page or two as I had to adjust to the writing style but the character was intriguing enough for me to give it a shot. The next thing I knew I was 100 pages in. It's been a while since I was able to immerse myself wholeheartly into a book for hours on end, and it was a wonderful feeling. At times I found the narrative dry or my attention wanning and I'd have to find something else to do but it didn't last long before I was thinking about the book again and had to pick it back up. I'll pick up volume 2 as soon as I can but I hope that this doesn't turn into something like LOST or X-Files where more questions are raised than are answered. And I found the surgen's sudden comprehention of things towards the end a bit out of place without much to prompt it. There were a few things towards the end that seemed a little out of place that had no provication but all in all it was quite enjoyable.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Sadly, I just haven't been able to get into this book so I've given up and set it aside to perhaps come back to later. The writing is laborous for me - when I sit down to read, I like my books to flow rather than to read and re-read to make sure I'm on the same page with the author. Too much description and lots of (subtext) throughout the writing just made this too clumsy for me to get into. Sadly, I just haven't been able to get into this book so I've given up and set it aside to perhaps come back to later. The writing is laborous for me - when I sit down to read, I like my books to flow rather than to read and re-read to make sure I'm on the same page with the author. Too much description and lots of (subtext) throughout the writing just made this too clumsy for me to get into.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Natazzz

    I stopped reading after 200 pages because It was just too boring to continue..

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    There were two main problems with this book (I read the version that put the whole thing in one 700+ volume) and a whole bunch of smaller problems that would have been easy to set aside save for the two big problems. I'll start off by saying that this book drew me in immediately. It starts with Celeste attempting to master her reaction to being thrown over by her fiancée by thinking logically through what could have made him so suddenly change his mind. She decides to spy on him which leads to s There were two main problems with this book (I read the version that put the whole thing in one 700+ volume) and a whole bunch of smaller problems that would have been easy to set aside save for the two big problems. I'll start off by saying that this book drew me in immediately. It starts with Celeste attempting to master her reaction to being thrown over by her fiancée by thinking logically through what could have made him so suddenly change his mind. She decides to spy on him which leads to some very perilous situations where she must think quickly and react in ways that she normally would not in order to stay safe. She thwarts her attackers very thoroughly and satisfyingly at one point and saves herself. This was a fabulous, mysterious, weird start and I loved it. It took a while for those initial high feelings to fade. And now on to why they did fade... 1. This book was in dire need of massive editing. There are a lot of running around scenes. A metric ton of running around. I cannot emphasize the sheer volume of running around through labyrinthine buildings. Some of the running around led to interesting discoveries but it became a very tired method of revealing information. 2. The sexual component of the book. This is spoilery and uncomfortable. (view spoiler)[So the process is to either open your mind to a greater purpose and allow you to shake off any provincial and childish desires you may have had or its a way to turn people into obedient zombies. Depends on whether you're one of the evil masterminds or the exploited victim. Part of what the process frees you from is any desire to protect yourself from sexual assault. Instead you supposedly enjoy the sexual assault. HOWEVER if you are slapped or hit, then you react defensively. The author is either completely blind to the experience of women (and I would argue that even the most open-minded man would automatically and instinctively defend himself from a desirable stranger suddenly grasping his penis and the person doing the grabbing in this book is not described as desirable to anyone) or has decided to indulge his sexual fantasies to the detriment of his story. If these people affected by the process would experience a slap as something to defend against, then they will also defend against a grasp of a breast or a finger thrust into their vagina. It is even more offensive to be sexually assaulted than to be physically assaulted. Moreover, both men and women go through the process but the author only chooses to show the women go through it in the book. They wear skimpy clothing for no good reason except to make it easier to sexually assault them and demonstrated their docility to that versus being slapped. It's rather disgusting. (hide spoiler)] I had high hopes of recommending this book. It was original and the ideas were very new to me. It has a hint of delicious steampunk and a female character who rises to great feats who also makes a ridiculous decision (view spoiler)[to abandon her compatriots and go it alone to prove her worth?!!? (hide spoiler)] that also works to lengthen the book and introduce a level of fatigue in our heroes that fatigued me greatly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Im a bit mystified by the genre this series of books falls into. It is the only book of its kind I’ve ever read. If you get over the gratuitous sex it’s a stomping good yarn. The author conjures an amazing totally imagined land where all things seem possible, but man is not displayed well! It’s set around about the 18th century otherwise it could be confused with a futuristic dystopian novel. This is the first of the series.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Some parts of this book were really good and others were not my style. The writing was strong in the sections with Mrs. Temple but I wasn't a fan of the others. This was a very strange fantasy book that holds potential for those that are a bit more patient than me. Overall, I'd recommend it to someone looking to start a series that has the vibe of a detective myserty novel with the intensity of a suspense and a slight drop of fantasy. Some parts of this book were really good and others were not my style. The writing was strong in the sections with Mrs. Temple but I wasn't a fan of the others. This was a very strange fantasy book that holds potential for those that are a bit more patient than me. Overall, I'd recommend it to someone looking to start a series that has the vibe of a detective myserty novel with the intensity of a suspense and a slight drop of fantasy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rich Redman

    I read the first third of this volume, and was overwhelmed by misogyny and racism. I realize the Victorians saw things differently than we do, but this author wasn't up to treading the thin line between showing that outlook and embracing it. Could not continue. I read the first third of this volume, and was overwhelmed by misogyny and racism. I realize the Victorians saw things differently than we do, but this author wasn't up to treading the thin line between showing that outlook and embracing it. Could not continue.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Well aside from it ending with everything unfinished, I thoroughly enjoyed this mysterious period adventure!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    My daughter was reading this book while visiting this summer. She left it behind & I gave her a book I had just finished. This book leaves you hanging...now, how do I find Volume Two?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Towton1461

    A bit wordy in places but a jolly good romp....

  24. 5 out of 5

    Florin Pitea

    Not sure if I will bother with the sequels.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Viki Holmes

    ***December 2019*** This glorious steampunk fantasy is a perennial favourite, and I love its being broken down into ten chapters, the better to replicate penny dreadful serial releases of the Victorian era that inspire so much of this wonderful book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    This is a review of both Volume One and Two, since they are meant to be read together as a single novel, the first, in the trilogy. I, however, read them four years apart. I read Volume One in 2014, and just finished Volume Two. I do not recommend this. There is no recap/prologue in Volume Two to remind you of what happened in the first volume. There is also no summary online, or at least that I could find. Combined, this two part novel is more than twice the length I usually take on. https://www This is a review of both Volume One and Two, since they are meant to be read together as a single novel, the first, in the trilogy. I, however, read them four years apart. I read Volume One in 2014, and just finished Volume Two. I do not recommend this. There is no recap/prologue in Volume Two to remind you of what happened in the first volume. There is also no summary online, or at least that I could find. Combined, this two part novel is more than twice the length I usually take on. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... This is the first steampunk novel I have ever read. I am eager to read more of this genre. It is quite entertaining. Though before I continue with this series, I think I want to read something in this genre by a female author. Dahlquist writes beautifully complicated characters, including women, but I felt a bit put off by the fact that all the women are seen as, and, to a certain extent, behave seductively. Female characters are definitely objectified (quite literally in the excessively long final chapter), whereas no male character is, although many are used. This might not have been a detail I noticed in 2014, but I certainly did in 2018. It could be an element of the Victorian time period, but it does go a bit too far at times, and becomes uncomfortable. Perhaps that's the intent? Not sure. This novel, though wordy at times, was intriguing and engaging. Be warned, however, it is graphic in nature, both in terms of physical violence as well as sexual content. I am not a prude, but I probably blushed a few times. Most of the sexual content is either rape or molestation, and just as violent and graphically described as the combat and dismemberment content. This is not a story for the faint of heart, nor is it a casual read. The plot is complex, and there are a great number of players. It is difficult to keep track of all the details and keep the characters straight, as all are important. So, you may want to take notes. I wish I had. That being said, the story really sucks you in. I found myself wanting to know more about the principal three protagonists, and intrigued by the mystery of the cabal`s many alliances and betrayals. Dalquist also adeptly builds suspense around the "science" and alchemy of the secret experiments, revealing just little at a time along with pieces of the cabal's conspiracies. All becomes clear in the end, but it seems even the characters aren't sure of what's going on until the last few pages. Each chapter alternates between the perspectives of the three protagonists, Miss Temple, Cardinal Chang, and Dr. Svenson. Sometimes together, but often separately, they each pick up clues to the puzzle that are pieced together at the climatic end. Till then, no one person knows all the details except the reader. There are details even each of the villains are unaware of. Dalquist's character development was delicious, and for the most part quite even. Though a bit predictable in regards to the cliche of a prim lady thrust into a ridiculously horrific adventure and discovering her own strength and purpose, she was not the only one driven by her emotions. Miss Temple's two male companions were equally consumed by their emotions, even the assassin succumbed to grief at one point. Likewise, both male and female villians were evenly sinister. Even minor and secondary characters were richly developed. I enjoyed reading this more than I thought I would, given how graphically violent it was. The story of this unlikely trio of heroes (another cliche, I know) continues in "The Dark Volume," which I will be adding to be my TBR presently. As you can tell, my feelings on this novel are complicated and conflicted, but there is no denying that despite a few things that made me uncomfortable, I rather enjoyed reading this novel, and look forward to the next in the series.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    This book was incredibly frustrating. I started out absolutely loving it. I went so far as to make comparisons to Harry Potter--the opening lines of the first chapter, playfully proper, reminded me of "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number Four, Privet Drive..." The first protagonist, Miss Temple, goes on a quest with unmatched determination to figure out why her boyfriend broke up with her--and as she has lived a rather sheltered life she is not used to adventures, but finds she matches the task well. This book was incredibly frustrating. I started out absolutely loving it. I went so far as to make comparisons to Harry Potter--the opening lines of the first chapter, playfully proper, reminded me of "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number Four, Privet Drive..." The first protagonist, Miss Temple, goes on a quest with unmatched determination to figure out why her boyfriend broke up with her--and as she has lived a rather sheltered life she is not used to adventures, but finds she matches the task well. I really enjoyed reading along with her, trying to figure out what was going on as her quest led her to stranger and stranger places. But then her chapter was over. And I had to get used to another narrator. And he wasn't as interesting. And suddenly the book was all about the physical fights and swashbuckling and not the character development. They kept running into new villains everywhere they went and I couldn't keep track of them all or differentiate them from each other. Finally the second narrator's chapter was over and I got a new narrator. But quite unfortunately I didn't like this one either. He was clearly a distinct character from Narrator #2 with different hackneyed personality traits and quirks. But the sorts of activities they engaged in, in terms of all the swashbuckling, were very much the same. Again, too much swashbuckling, not enough character development, and I couldn't keep track of all the villainous characters who weren't particularly distinct from each other anyway. Chapter 4 rolled around and I was so happy to be reunited with my favorite narrator, Miss Temple. It was such a treat to read things from her point of view again and I thought maybe things would be okay as long as she stuck around. But quite irritatingly, she didn't, leading narrators #2 and #3 to spend the rest of the book (Chapters 5 and 6) narrating without her. Narrators 2 and 3 were not without their good points. But really I spent most of the book hoping to get back to the first narrator and slogging through to get back to her. I did like some of the science fiction parts of it. I was really intrigued by the glass cards and wanted to learn more about the books. But by the time they started to explain what the books were about I really just didn't care anymore. I can see a world in which I would listen to the sequel on audio or see the movie, because there is part of me that wants to know what happens next, especially to Miss Temple. But I'm not sure it's worth it. Two stars for Miss Temple.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    This was a completely unexpected read - one that I expected to enjoy but not one that I expected to love! What was especially surprising to me was that after reading the first 2 chapters...I didn't like the book at all. But it sucked me in and I loved it! I liken it to the first time I watched Moulin Rouge. I spend 1/2 the movie thinking - what the heck is this? What the heck is going on? But by the end I was crying my eyes out absolutely loving every minute of the movie. It was sort of like tha This was a completely unexpected read - one that I expected to enjoy but not one that I expected to love! What was especially surprising to me was that after reading the first 2 chapters...I didn't like the book at all. But it sucked me in and I loved it! I liken it to the first time I watched Moulin Rouge. I spend 1/2 the movie thinking - what the heck is this? What the heck is going on? But by the end I was crying my eyes out absolutely loving every minute of the movie. It was sort of like that with this book - except the book ended so abruptly in the middle of the story I wasn't crying but dying to find out more. (I now know it ended so abruptly b/c the initial publication wasn't put out in 2 volumes but one...so volume 1 and vol 2 were part of the same book.) Okay, into the book. First of all, I don't even know how to classify this book. It seems like historical fiction and it reads like a Victorian novel should. However, it's not really as there are no discernible dates nor recognizable historical figures. It's part scifi/fantasy and part mystery suspense. It all starts when Celeste Temple receives a note from her finance breaking off the engagement without any word of explanation. Rather than acting like a scorned woman (although she does for a day or two) she decides to discover the reason why and uncovers a sinister plot. The most unusual thing about this book is it's organization. Rather than chapters it's organized into parts and told from the perspectives of the 3 main characters. The first part by Celeste Temple, the second by Cardinal Change (an assassin who also stumbles into the plot) and the third part by "The Surgeon" (who - you guessed it also stumbles into the plot). By the last part of this book, all three converge and begin working together. What is so unusual is that each part picks up where the other left off not bothering with tedious rehashing or retelling to same exact story but from another point of view. It took me a little while to adapt to this flow - BUT I loved it. One downfall of this book is the sheer amount of characters beyond the main three. There are so many on the periphery that it's hard to keep them all straight (and to be honest, even at the end I'm not sure I have straight who is who). I'm looking forward to reading the 2nd volume. In fact I'm heading to the library right now to pick it up!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I just finished this book and I have rarely been so angry. When I bought this book I did not really acknowledge that this is Volume One. This book should come with a huge admonition: WARNING! Do NOT buy or read this book unless you also buy and read Volume 2!!!! I really enjoyed the first quarter of this book when the 3 main characters are individually introduced, and are then brought together. I loved the Victorian setting. I liked each of these characters. And the story to that point was compe I just finished this book and I have rarely been so angry. When I bought this book I did not really acknowledge that this is Volume One. This book should come with a huge admonition: WARNING! Do NOT buy or read this book unless you also buy and read Volume 2!!!! I really enjoyed the first quarter of this book when the 3 main characters are individually introduced, and are then brought together. I loved the Victorian setting. I liked each of these characters. And the story to that point was compelling. Had I rated the book at that moment I would have given it 4 stars. I was excited to keep reading. And then, for completely inexplicable reasons, the author again separates these 3 characters. Celeste Temple, Cardinal Chang, and Doctor Svenson are each intriguing but together they are so much more interesting and their individual stories so much more powerful. But once on their own again the story starts to fall apart. Chang pursues one lead that contributes little to our understanding and actually complicates it even more. Then we pick up with Svenson's story never to hear about Chang again. Svenson goes off in another direction and along with him we discover more pieces to the puzzle, but there is never any real explanation for the blue glass and its effect on people. And Miss Temple - we never hear from her again at all, and never know what happens to her. The book ends leaving the reader hanging. In fact it leaves the characters hanging too. The last we see of Chang he is hanging from some sort of pipe that may or may not lead to more information. The Doctor is left hanging from a dirigible - yes a blimp that appears in the story in the last pages and just makes everything to that point even more ridiculous. A blimp - really? Apparently a story based on people 'eating' glass and becoming completely submissive to those who have force-fed them that glass was not bizarre enough. I believe that this story was originally written and sold as a single book. Apparently the publishers decided they could dupe readers into buying 2 books because who could finish Volume 1 without running to buy Volume 2. The answer to that question is me. I will not spend the money to get Volume 2. Chang and Svenson will remain hanging forever. And poor Miss Temple? Who cares.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wise_owl

    I had read this book years ago, and meant to always come back to it to read the subsequent volumes when they came out. Now they are out, and now I'm re-reading and it remains as fantastic as the first time I read it. I've a predilection for Victorian-esque fiction in general, and Dahlquist does not disappoint. His narrative is fascinating; split into three POV characters, the recently Jilted but indomitable Celeste Temple, the Poetic Criminal Cardinal Chang, and the respressed, yet eminently rati I had read this book years ago, and meant to always come back to it to read the subsequent volumes when they came out. Now they are out, and now I'm re-reading and it remains as fantastic as the first time I read it. I've a predilection for Victorian-esque fiction in general, and Dahlquist does not disappoint. His narrative is fascinating; split into three POV characters, the recently Jilted but indomitable Celeste Temple, the Poetic Criminal Cardinal Chang, and the respressed, yet eminently rational german Dr. Svenson. The tale hinges around how these three people, from very different social backgrounds and situations are drawn together to confront a conspiracy of a dasterdly and fantastical nature. I won't go too deeply into it, but it's clear from early on that strange and wondrous tings are afoot, but also dastardly and nefarious plots by figures with shadowy motives. Dahlquist does a wonderful job of providing each of his characters with background, depth, and character arcs. One watches Miss Temple start out as the heriess to a measure of money by way of the Caribean, following up on her ex-fiance who dumped her for no apparent reason. Into a center of action whose initial rather emotional decision leads to her becoming something of an 'adventuress' and committed to being more than her middle-class upbringing would first suggest. We witness Dr. Svensons emergence from his shell, his envy of Cardinal Chang's ruthlessness and physicality, his longing for female contact even as the presence of such contact makes him profoundly uncomfortable. The villians here are also varied and interesting. I won't give much about them away, but there are layers within layers, a conspiracy with competing conspiracies within it, And while it's clear our heroes are opposed to it, it's not very clear what that 'it' is. So in general, those who like Victorian fiction, fantasy, Steampunk, or frankly, just an excellent read in terms of both character and plot should check this out. It gets my highest recommendation.

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