Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Book notes No. 22 : The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, G.W. Dahlquist

Three degrees at 9:30. Hazy sunshine and a little breeze to keep us all on our toes.

Finally finished! The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Victorian pseudo-Gothic adventure, door-stopper, sapper of my strength. And patience.

Here's the blurb on the inside front cover:

"Three most unlikely but nevertheless extraordinary heroes become inadvertently involved in the diabolical machinations of a cabal bent upon enslaving thousands through a diabolical 'process'. Miss Temple is a feisty young woman with corkscrew curls who wishes only to learn why her fiance Roger broke off their engagament. Cardinal Chang was asked to kill a man but finding his quarry already dead he is determined to learn who beat him to it and why. And Dr Svenson is chaperone to a dissolute prince who has become involved with some most unsavoury individuals." (Has the Penguin blurb unit decided that the comma is no longer de rigeur, I wonder?)

Sherlock Holmes meets Rider Haggard. A tremendous act of imagination - and stamina - on the part of the author. A rollercoaster of an adventure from end to end. The Guardian called it "a page-turner", the Daily Telegraph called it "a feat of literary imagination", Time Out (that bastion of literary awareness) found it "genuinely exciting and intriguing".

For a while I thought this book had something important to say to me. Apart, that is, from numerous twists and turns, endless close shaves and extraordinary escapes, and endless interior ramblings from our three heroes. I thought I detected musings on the nature of self. I thought I felt an undercurrent of social comment in the descriptions of the supefying effect of the 'glass books' (read 'computers' if you will).

For a while the book shoved me along as I tried to work out where I was in the cavernous and diabolical Harschmort House, or the Escher-esque back corridors of The Ministry. For a long while, I was prepared to suspend disbelief as my male heroes took what to mere mortals would have been a physically intolerable bashing and still came up fighting. For a long while I read and read and read, feeling like I was ensnared in some strange Myst-like story without any idea which part of the landscape to click, what book in the library to choose, how to tune in the secret video message obscured by interference. For a long while I tried to remember the objects each hero was still carrying and which had been discarded in this Victorian version of Dungeons and Dragons. For a surprisingly long while I continued to care about who was dead, who was cunningly alive and who was injured and trailing blood all over the place.

And when I finally reached page 753. Oh yes, seven hundred and fifty pages - while the delightful (and very much shorter) Grazia Deledda languished on the shelf - when I finally reached page 753 I expected, nay required, a reward for my efforts. And I felt my heroes expected, nay required, a reward for their efforts too. (By that time, my heroine for one hadn't had a cup of tea for more than 24 hours, and I felt for her.)

But the reward didn't come. And, dear G.W. Dahlquist, I feel cheated. I feel somehow as if I've been tricked, hoodwinked, taken for a fool. There is obviously a sequel to this book, but this reader in Carmine Superiore won't be buying it.






13 comments:

Braja said...

I'm sorry Louise but I cannot stop laughing. You're priceless :)) Page 753???!!! I love you. Now I know you'll read my entire book before you hurl it :)) loll...

CathM said...

Hee... hee... I love the way you end with 'If you still want to buy this book, click here' - me thinks 'NOT' after your less than favourable review (lol)!

Bella@That damn expat said...

Thanks for posting this. That blurb would have drawn me in too but now I think I'll be able to resist it.

Cairo Typ0 said...

Great review. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion - i often wonder about bloggers or book reviewers who never have anything negative to say. LOL

Joy in the Burbs... said...

753 Pages! You're a trooper to make it to the end. I enjoyed reading your review.
Our storybook park is permanent. The books are made of concrete. (I think) But it definitely is meant to cater to a preschool or young elementary age children. There is a small amphitheater at the end of the path for group storytelling I guess.

Caution Flag said...

Thank-you! What a pleasure to finally read a "Nope. Don't read it," review. For once, I don't have to feel guilty knowing that tome won't make it to my house.

Betty said...

Wow! That is a lot of pages of waiting to be rewarded! Good to know that I don´t have to buy it!

Miss Attica said...

Funny and honest review of a must-not-read! LOL.

po said...

Hi, I am hosting the next round of Strange Shores. If you want to join in, you can post the links to this blog post: http://southafricanseamonkey.blogspot.com/2009/02/strange-shores-unbunged.html

And I will include you.

ladyfi said...

Oh la la.. I love a door-stopper.. but not if it has a bad ending and leaves one unsatisfied...

Who is the author - a Swede by the name?

Louise said...

@ All : glad you approved of my saying what I thought.

@LadyFi : Don't know who the author is - there's no biography. It strikes me it's a pseudonym - sounds like something out of Rider Haggard. First published in the States by Bantam, and there are a few Americanisms in there, so I guess American.

karin said...

Your comment about the commas brought back a memory. Just 16, starting out as a secretary, days of the IBM typewriters, I obviously didn't put in enough commas in the article for Dr. Boss. He typed me a whole page of commas and told me to use them just where they were needed!!! I should have kept that sheet of paper!LOL

Aren O. Týr said...

Louise, you have evidently either much more patience or time than I have :-) I have become rather cynical with my reading over the years, particularly when it comes to fiction. And by that, I mean, if the book does not grab me with brilliance within the first 20 pages or so, I generally will stop reading it.

Suffice to say I put a lot of fiction books down these days!

There was a time when I would plough on till the grim end once I'd started a book, but I feel that life is too short now! :-D

By the way, have you read any of Haruki Murakami's books? One of the few modern authors I really do love.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Book notes No. 22 : The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, G.W. Dahlquist

Three degrees at 9:30. Hazy sunshine and a little breeze to keep us all on our toes.

Finally finished! The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Victorian pseudo-Gothic adventure, door-stopper, sapper of my strength. And patience.

Here's the blurb on the inside front cover:

"Three most unlikely but nevertheless extraordinary heroes become inadvertently involved in the diabolical machinations of a cabal bent upon enslaving thousands through a diabolical 'process'. Miss Temple is a feisty young woman with corkscrew curls who wishes only to learn why her fiance Roger broke off their engagament. Cardinal Chang was asked to kill a man but finding his quarry already dead he is determined to learn who beat him to it and why. And Dr Svenson is chaperone to a dissolute prince who has become involved with some most unsavoury individuals." (Has the Penguin blurb unit decided that the comma is no longer de rigeur, I wonder?)

Sherlock Holmes meets Rider Haggard. A tremendous act of imagination - and stamina - on the part of the author. A rollercoaster of an adventure from end to end. The Guardian called it "a page-turner", the Daily Telegraph called it "a feat of literary imagination", Time Out (that bastion of literary awareness) found it "genuinely exciting and intriguing".

For a while I thought this book had something important to say to me. Apart, that is, from numerous twists and turns, endless close shaves and extraordinary escapes, and endless interior ramblings from our three heroes. I thought I detected musings on the nature of self. I thought I felt an undercurrent of social comment in the descriptions of the supefying effect of the 'glass books' (read 'computers' if you will).

For a while the book shoved me along as I tried to work out where I was in the cavernous and diabolical Harschmort House, or the Escher-esque back corridors of The Ministry. For a long while, I was prepared to suspend disbelief as my male heroes took what to mere mortals would have been a physically intolerable bashing and still came up fighting. For a long while I read and read and read, feeling like I was ensnared in some strange Myst-like story without any idea which part of the landscape to click, what book in the library to choose, how to tune in the secret video message obscured by interference. For a long while I tried to remember the objects each hero was still carrying and which had been discarded in this Victorian version of Dungeons and Dragons. For a surprisingly long while I continued to care about who was dead, who was cunningly alive and who was injured and trailing blood all over the place.

And when I finally reached page 753. Oh yes, seven hundred and fifty pages - while the delightful (and very much shorter) Grazia Deledda languished on the shelf - when I finally reached page 753 I expected, nay required, a reward for my efforts. And I felt my heroes expected, nay required, a reward for their efforts too. (By that time, my heroine for one hadn't had a cup of tea for more than 24 hours, and I felt for her.)

But the reward didn't come. And, dear G.W. Dahlquist, I feel cheated. I feel somehow as if I've been tricked, hoodwinked, taken for a fool. There is obviously a sequel to this book, but this reader in Carmine Superiore won't be buying it.






13 comments:

Braja said...

I'm sorry Louise but I cannot stop laughing. You're priceless :)) Page 753???!!! I love you. Now I know you'll read my entire book before you hurl it :)) loll...

CathM said...

Hee... hee... I love the way you end with 'If you still want to buy this book, click here' - me thinks 'NOT' after your less than favourable review (lol)!

Bella@That damn expat said...

Thanks for posting this. That blurb would have drawn me in too but now I think I'll be able to resist it.

Cairo Typ0 said...

Great review. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion - i often wonder about bloggers or book reviewers who never have anything negative to say. LOL

Joy in the Burbs... said...

753 Pages! You're a trooper to make it to the end. I enjoyed reading your review.
Our storybook park is permanent. The books are made of concrete. (I think) But it definitely is meant to cater to a preschool or young elementary age children. There is a small amphitheater at the end of the path for group storytelling I guess.

Caution Flag said...

Thank-you! What a pleasure to finally read a "Nope. Don't read it," review. For once, I don't have to feel guilty knowing that tome won't make it to my house.

Betty said...

Wow! That is a lot of pages of waiting to be rewarded! Good to know that I don´t have to buy it!

Miss Attica said...

Funny and honest review of a must-not-read! LOL.

po said...

Hi, I am hosting the next round of Strange Shores. If you want to join in, you can post the links to this blog post: http://southafricanseamonkey.blogspot.com/2009/02/strange-shores-unbunged.html

And I will include you.

ladyfi said...

Oh la la.. I love a door-stopper.. but not if it has a bad ending and leaves one unsatisfied...

Who is the author - a Swede by the name?

Louise said...

@ All : glad you approved of my saying what I thought.

@LadyFi : Don't know who the author is - there's no biography. It strikes me it's a pseudonym - sounds like something out of Rider Haggard. First published in the States by Bantam, and there are a few Americanisms in there, so I guess American.

karin said...

Your comment about the commas brought back a memory. Just 16, starting out as a secretary, days of the IBM typewriters, I obviously didn't put in enough commas in the article for Dr. Boss. He typed me a whole page of commas and told me to use them just where they were needed!!! I should have kept that sheet of paper!LOL

Aren O. Týr said...

Louise, you have evidently either much more patience or time than I have :-) I have become rather cynical with my reading over the years, particularly when it comes to fiction. And by that, I mean, if the book does not grab me with brilliance within the first 20 pages or so, I generally will stop reading it.

Suffice to say I put a lot of fiction books down these days!

There was a time when I would plough on till the grim end once I'd started a book, but I feel that life is too short now! :-D

By the way, have you read any of Haruki Murakami's books? One of the few modern authors I really do love.