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The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume One: 1 Paperback – 30 Dec 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (30 Dec. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553385852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553385854
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.4 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 516,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By LoveReading on 24 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
Although lengthy and repetitive in places, Gordon Dahlquist sustains the growing menace and terror of a secret `cabal' consisting of men from the ministry, lords of industry, scientists and the mysterious Contessa and her high class prostitutes, over the three books, so far, in the series.

This book almost defies description and without giving too much away, I found the descriptions of a sinister `process' used on the female characters truly terrifying!

Would make an amazing film and because the author is a playwright, maybe this is a possibility.

With three well rounded protagonists and a huge cast of supporting characters, it's basically an adventure mystery with a big dose of weird science and a touch or eroticism; a good Steampunk genre read for the long dark winter nights to come.
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By essygie on 8 July 2009
Format: Paperback
An original and inventive swashbuckling adventure set in an alternate Victorian England. It all starts when Roger Bascombe terminates his engagement to Miss Celeste Temple and she becomes determined to find out why. Drawn ever deeper into the mystery of the glass books, she is joined by two unlikely heroes: Cardinal Chang, the assassin for hire with a conscience and Dr Svenson, whose mild-mannered exterior hides extraordinary reserves of courage.

What ensues is a fast-paced and sexy mystery-adventure with engaging characters, villainous villains and plenty of thrills. A good book for devouring in one sitting, it ended on a cliff-hanger, leaving me eager to buy volume two and find out what happens to our daring trio.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 20 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The secret of the blue glass 19 Jan. 2009
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A title like "Glass Books of the Dream Eaters" sounds a long-lost Flaming Lips song. At the best, a wonderfully weird title for a mediocre book.

But fortunately, it actually has something to do with Gordon Dahlquist's bizarre, intricate debut novel -- a steampunky Victorian fantasy that slowly takes its three protagonists into the heart of a deadly conspiracy. "The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume One" gets through the first half of the story -- but have the second half on hand before reading.

After being dumped by her fiancee Roger via letter, Miss Celestial Temple follows him through town to a masked party at a country estate. But the creepy party turns deadly when she witnesses drugged sexual demonstrations and a dying man with burns around his eyes. She barely manages to escape this bizarre cabal, unsure of what to do next.
Then she encounters two strange men -- "Cardinal Chang," an assassin hired to kill her until he discovered that the cabal was experimenting on the prostitute he loves, and Dr. Svenson, a nervous ducal doctor whose Prince has become ensnared in their brainwashing. They compare notes over the cabal, the Process that seems to transform them, Roger's sudden lordhood, snatches of conversation, ghastly machines and a series of shocking paintings.

Most importantly, Svenson reveals cards made out of blue glass -- which somehow have memories imprinted in them. The search for the cabal's goals and the secret of the blue glass leads all three onto parallel, intertwined paths. Chang sets out on a search for the red-clad woman and a scarred ex-prostitute, while Svenson's journey takes him into the heart of a religious cult centering on the books made of blue glass...

"The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters" is one of those rare debut novels that rarely misses a beat. Its main flaw is that Dahlquist -- in sticking to the dignified, intricately detailed Victorian style -- gets a bit long-winded in some parts. But he does have a special knack for spinning up a believable sense of dread, without revealing too much of the haunting, bizarre mysteries.

And from the very first chapter (admittedly there are only a handful, and they're huge) Dahlquist wraps the whole book in steampunky technology, odd fantastical twists, and some guns'n'knives action from Chang. The story starts off slowly and sedately (much like Miss Temple's life) but begins twisting in on its own mysteries as soon as she gets into the masked party.

And while the extra-detailed descriptions slow the book down at times, he also has a knack for the horrific (people who die with glass in their veins) and with conjuring vivid images ("... half smothered in ivy whose leaves looked to Svenson, under the insidious moonlight, like the scales of a reptile's skin").

And while the three characters are totally dissimilar (an heiress, a doctor and an assassin), Dahlquist takes the time to flesh them out and show how their intertwined battles against the Cabal change them. The strong-willed, clever Miss Temple has to leave respectability behind with her compromised safety, the nervy Svenson has to deal with some nasty intrigues, and Chang (who is not actually Chinese) is more a steady, cool-headed guy-who-kills than an assassinating maniac.

It's worth noting that "Volume One" is merely the first half of the full-length novel, not the whole novel itself. It stops after the "Quarry" chapter on a major cliffhanger for poor Svenson, with virtually all of the questions unanswered and Miss Temple MIA for two vast chapters.

"The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters Volume One" draws you into a hazy, murky world of bizarre technology, malignant cults and unanswered mysteries, with more strange things yet to come.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Plot, Dialogue, and Characterization....Oh My! 21 Oct. 2009
By KDee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Gordon Dahlquist's first novel is a huge concoction of relentless plot, colloquial and intelligent dialog, and deep characterization that is at times superb in its ability to seem familiar and foreign on many levels. The story is about 3 very different characters: Miss Celeste Temple, Cardinal Chang, and Doctor Abelard Svenson who fatefully come together and form an alliance to foil a plot to enslave the masses by a huge conspiracy of powerful members of society.

The story explores and borrows themes and characterizations from many sources, inlcluding Sherlock Holmes stories, H.G. Wells books, A Brave New World, and the Wizard of Oz (thus the Title of this review:-). At times, the book almost reminds you of listening to an old time adventure story on the radio, where dialog and sound effects made the "visuals" of the story. If this seems like a motley stew for book influences, the story works because you care about the characters, and you care what happens to them. Set in a make believe land and time, that is meant to be reminiscent of Victorian England and a British Empire going sour, the dialog crackles with wit, insight, and descriptions. The descriptions outside of the dialog are detailed to the extreme, but add to the overall atmosphere of time and place that is familiar, yet alien in very creepy ways. In the 3 main characters, you simply cannot read this book without playing the game of deciding who would be the perfect actor or actress, as Dahlquist paints exquisite pictures of what they feel, and how they act and react to the mounting pressure to confront an evil conspiracy.

Miss Temple is drawn into the adventure as a woman scorned, her hurt feelings leading her to follow her fiance and his trail into the evil cabal. She is an innocent, a wealthy, imperious unmarried lady that combines steely nerves with a razor wit and a touching naivete. With Cardinal Chang and Doctor Svenson, you have 2 reluctant heroes that form a bond with Miss Temple and watch her grow to be every bit their equal and a leader in their quest. Doctor Svenson is an honorable man, at once decisive and paralyzed with doubt, and Cardinal Chang lives by a warrior code that hides sophistication and true human feelings driven deep by experiencing the worst of human nature.In Miss Celeste Temple and the leader of the Cabal, the Contessa Rosamond Lacquer-Sforza, you have two awesome female characters, full of intelligence, determination, and feminine charms and wiles used for good and evil. Indeed the story is laced with sex, dream explicit and innuendo. During their very first encounter in which the Contessa has snared Miss Temple and brought her to a room for an interrogation, the Contessa hisses..."Sit down or I will find something else for you to sit on.....repeatedly" The sexual tension works perfectly in this and numerous other scenes as a way to fully realize the characters and to understand the visceral and evocative loss of control from addiction, sexual or otherwise, and the dark powers of persuasion and subservience at the heart of the conspiracy centered around "the Glass Books".

I loved this book as a page turner that defied description and made me want to stay up all night and read what happens next. There are many incredibly well written sections, with bright use of language to evoke action and emotion. It is safe to say that you have not read a book like it. This is Book 1, so be prepared to want to get Book 2 right away. At 750+ pages, these 2 books and the one story is very long and a commitment to, at times, get through detailed slow passages. But you will be rewarded with an experience of immersing yourself in a book that evokes classic literature and movies with a contemporary story of how evil happens when we totally succumb to our own desires, and good men do nothing.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Not a novel for everyone 15 Mar. 2009
By David Deluca - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this novel and am eagerly awaiting the release of The Dark Volume. I read the hardback edition which is 760 pages long and contains both volumes one and two in the paperback editions. Understandably this seems to have caused a bit of confusion with some of the reviewers. Dahlquist's style is unconventional and the first dozen pages was a bit challenging but once I got into the story I found that I had difficulty putting it down. I can understand the negative reviews. This is not a book for everyone. First of all it is dark and erotic. Secondly it takes place in the 19th century in an unidentified location populated by characters with strange and exotic names :Comte d'Orkancz, Francis Xonck, and Contessa Lacquer-Sforza to name a few who come from countries like Macklenburg that do not exist. Thirdly the story revolves around The Process from which the title derives. Think erotic Victorian sci-fi fantasy!! It is filled with unusual and unforgettable characters caught in a real spider-web of a conspiracy. If you like a simple straight forward story, that is easily understood and offers a predictable plot line then stay away!! In some ways it is like an old-fashioned serial with the heros escaping the villains just when all hope is lost. The best comparison I can make is Anne Rice's vampire chronicles. This is Dahlquist's first novel and I am predicting he will write many more. I, for one, am looking forward to the ride!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Mythic Cliffhanging Diabolic Mystery 20 July 2009
By Melissa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Well, my title says it all. Or you can view some Hieronymus Bosch paintings, any one of which will tell you a lot about this atmospheric novel--a ravaging, breathtaking, original tale splendidly realized and thunderously paced (Vol. 2 is somewhat slower). Besides being a decidedly twisted pseudo-Victorian rework of the myths of Persephone, of the labyrinth and its Minotaur, and of the Fall, this novel also explores, via extended metaphor, the dangerous, sometimes all-consuming, symbiotic relation of (1) an author to his work and (2) a reader to same.

The "heroes" are well fleshed (some down to the bones), quirky, and engaging; the villains are liberated in varying degrees from clichés. Names are always portents, and definitely so in this work.

Don't enquire too closely about the "science" that moves the action in this work; remember, we're dealing with metaphor here, not SF.

The first part, detailing the heroine's descent, by turbulent degrees, into the lurid depravity of Harshmort's (what a name!) world-within-a-world is disturbing but riveting, compelling the reader to travel with her from the moment she passes her "coin" (the railway ticket) to the modern Charon (a.k.a. the conductor).

I will say no more, lest I give anything away from this cornucopia of sensation and incident.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Volume One is great, but then..... 20 April 2009
By Chris in Denver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
[Note: I am reviewing volume one and two together, because they shouldn't have been split in the first place (they weren't in the hard cover version). Do not read volume one unless you commit to volume two; volume one doesn't answer anything.]

When the prudish but confident Miss Temple receives an unexpected "dear Jane" letter from her fiance, she sets out to find out why she was unceremoniously dumped. So begins this mystery/adventure/steampunk story set in Victorian times in a loosely fictitious England. The number of unpronounceable villains stacks up (The Comte d'Orkancz and the Contessa di Lacquer-Sforza just for starters); while Miss Temple befriends an unlikely pair of confidants, including the hilariously named Cardinal Chang. The three set out to thwart a plot by a massively powerful Cabal that includes sci-fi-like Alchemy and more.

Volume One is a true page-turner, with a lot of action and excitement, and left me quite on the edge of my seat. Dahlquist introduces the reader to a rapid-fire series characters (with more absurd names), but I still couldn't wait to buy volume two to see how the story ended.

It is a pity Gordon Dahlquist couldn't have ended the story in volume one, because volume two was a chore. Where volume one was an adventure spanning several cities, hotels, mansions, trains, carriages and airships, about 90% of volume two takes place in one mansion. And what a mansion it must be, because there are about 250 pages of our heroes running down hallways, trying doors, finding spiral staircases, running down more hallways, finding more spiral staircases....repeat 50 or so times and you have the picture; and all while a party is going on in other areas of the house; must be bigger than the Pentagon. It got incredibly dull.

Dahlquist also struggled to get his arms around the steampunk elements of the story. Between the Indigo Clay, the Glass Books, the Mini-Glass Books, the Process, the other versions of the Process, and the blue and orange liquids, I wasn't sure how they tied together...and I don't think Dahlquist was either.

I sadly cannot recommend The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. In order to find out what happens after the riveting volume one, you have to punish yourself by reading volume two, and based on the outcome, I don't think it is worth it.
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