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Well they certainly sneaked this one past me! The last book in Dahlquist's trilogy, I've been excitedly awaiting this volume for quite some time. And yet despite regularly searching Amazon with crossed fingers, I only spotted it by chance on a shelf under authors beginning with 'D' in a high street bookshop. It wasn't even on their 'new releases' display shelf. This lack of publicity demonstrates that the publishers have far less faith in Dahlquist's work flying off the shelves than when they initially paid him an advance of $2,000,000 for his first book in this series, The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters.

Such a large advance is powerful testament to how incredibly well written & entertaining these books are - The Glass Books was a rollicking Victorian adventure story which had me on the edge of my seat for almost 800 pages. Its sequel - The Dark Volume - was 500 pages of the same. That they didn't get the mass audience they so thoroughly deserved is a tragedy.

The ongoing story in all 3 books revolves around 3 adventurous misfits battling a shadowy cabal. The dastardly cabal are looking to secure untold wealth & influence by coercing those in positions of power via their mysterious glass books - the alchemical technology of a mad genius which can steal memories & replay them exactly. In The Chemickal Marriage, said genius has discovered several sinister new applications for his invention, so once again our intrepid threesome & their new allies run around by the seat of their pants & get into all manner of scrapes. They certainly don't waste any time getting stuck in either, the action commencing surprisingly early on & barely letting up for a second. When it does, the character development which replaces it is equally satisfying.

While the previous 2 books contained a veritable phonebook-full of charismatic villains & sinister henchmen to keep track of, the end of the second book left many of them 6 feet under. Yet the most wicked malefactors - the Contessa & the Comte - remain, so our heroes still have their work cut out! It says in the blurb that no knowledge of the previous books is necessary - the introduction to The Dark Volume inaccurately put forward the same claim, yet thanks to a smaller roster of faces from the past, I suspect it's truer here. But I challenge new readers to not quickly WANT to read the first 2 novels once the first couple of chapters have sped by. Nevertheless, there's soon a rather large cast of new characters to keep track of, many of whom cross from one narrative strand from another. It can be difficult to keep up (especially, I found, if I didn't dip into it for a couple of days) but just going with the flow still resulted in a satisfying read.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, which I much preferred to the second book. It's a rollicking, intelligent & well-crafted adventure story set in the era which virtually invented the genre. Thrilling, thought-provoking, quotable, intelligent, erotic & downright fun, I sped through it way too quickly, loving every page! Most highly recommended!
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on 20 November 2013
I liked the first book, tolerated the second (barely), but was tempted by this. I forced myself to finish it, only for the meagre pleasure of writing this review. It is shapeless and confusing. The main characters do spend all their time running about, believing each other to be dead, hiding implausibly, and so on. Too many new characters who are hard to distinguish from each other. The suggestion that this is a standalone book, which could be read separately from the others in the series, is laughable.

And yet Dalquist is a good writer with a powerful imagination, and I do love the original scenario and the alternative world he has created. This feels like a contractual obligation, right down to the padding for length. I hope he will get on and write something else good now.
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on 14 October 2013
I find myself firmly on the fence here. I enjoyed this book, as I did it's predecessor, but both were not really as good as the first in the series, and felt in many ways like those serial adventures where the 'hero' ends each episode in a fix, and starts the next miraculously escaping.
Perhaps that's the point - if so, it's done well.
This episode is a bit repetitive, if entirely readable and enjoyable, and I was a bit fed of people almost dying (again) by the end. But, it would be churlish to say I'd not enjoyed this and the series as a whole, and so for that, it moves to a four star review from me.
Would you like it? Try the first one The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters and if you like that move onto the second. And only if you like that try this.
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on 15 July 2012
This is the latest, (but not necessarily final?), instalment in The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters trilogy.

It follows directly on from the second book - The Dark Volume - and despite the prologue of the book stating that much of the narrative can stand alone; in all honesty it cannot be read without knowledge of the first two books.

So to the story (which is difficult to detail without spoilers) ... Miss Temple hires Cardinal-lite villains in revenge for the apparent murder of her allies, whilst struggling with the effects of the two glass books that she has looked into. Whilst a significant number of the cabal have fallen in the first two novels, the deliciously evil Contessa Lacquer-Sforza survives to cause mayhem and confusion.

Overall there is slightly less heedless running about than in the first two novels, and certainly less vomiting - both of these developments are to be welcomed! The main characters are written with more depth and emotional capacity than previously, in particular Cardinal Chang (a personal favourite of mine!).

The ending allows another possible foray, although I'm not sure whether this should or will happen. Either way - thank you Mr. Dahlquist for a fantastic journey of adventure, esoteric secrets and Victorian porn - I've loved every minute of it!
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on 9 June 2013
From the first paragraph you're dragged straight back Into the slightly strange but always enticing world of Miss Temple, Colonel Chang and Dr Svenson. Dhalquist does not disappoint and right from the word go every page is full of action, intrigue and charged sexuality. The third book in the Glass books trilogy is a bit more risqué than the first two but in a way it feels right. The climax, if you will, feels slightly rushed but does not detract from the fabulous writing style that has made these books so intense. I feel that any book that makes you feel as if you are sharing every experience with the characters is always worth a read and I hope that other people feel the same. Happy reading!
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on 21 July 2013
This is the third part of an epic adventure spread over three books. It describes the triumph of good over evil in vivid detail and is so gripping, that even if you are busy and should put it down you can't. You may find yourself hoping your train will be delayed or that the dentist can't see you just yet because you want to read just a little bit more... Like the addicts in the story, I became hooked on Dahlquist's Dream Eaters books and couldn't put them down. This book ended in such a way that there could well be another one on the horizon, and I hope so, very much, so that I can get another fix of exciting and dramatic fiction from Dahlquist's unique mind.
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on 26 November 2014
This is a review for the whole trilogy:

JUST BRILLIANT! I am hard-pressed to remember reading such a rollicking, exciting, involving, thrilling series of novels.

They are definitely not for everyone, very very complicated, violent, sexy and written in a very high style, but for me that was most of the appeal. I don't read thrillers often because even the most exciting and gripping ones are pretty badly written IMHO. But if you're a fan of -pretentious?- serious literature then these are for you. I really can't overstate my admiration for the quality of G. W. Dahlquist's writing, and would read anything else by him in a heartbeat.
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on 27 January 2013
This book is slow moving and often hard to get to grips with. It feels stilted due to the endless dialogues between the characters. I had to know what happened to them, however, and kept going until the end. This is because I had grown to care about them from the previous books which were infinitely better. However, I will reread it sometime soon. There is still some magic in this world created by Dahlquist and it was good to continue reading about it and immersing myself in it.
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on 1 April 2013
Mr. Dahlquist is an excellent writer: I enjoy reading his books as well as I enjoy reading G.R.R Martin's books but why, WHY three books when there is barely enough substance for two (or a really big one)? After Dream eaters 1 I was delighted. After Dream eaters 2 I thought "I hope this is heading somewhere really good because nothing new here" and after Dream eaters 3 I just felt cheated. Oh Mr. Dahlquist, why three books? Is money everything?
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Beautiful book, complex, engrossing. You can't read it fast, as you really need some time to digest the information you are given. I've missed out on a book two as well, but the prologue in the beginning will actually give you a brief description of what happened in previous two books so you won't feel lost when the action starts right where it left in book #2.

You won't find repetition in Gordon's writing, so you have to stay sharp. He also describes the same situation from three points of view - Miss Temple's, Dr Svenson and Cardinal Chang which gives you very deep understanding of each big scene, it becomes truly three-dimensional.

The Chemickal Marriage is pure alchemy, exquisite flight of fantasy and so much more. I'm awed by Mr. Dahlquist imagination and such deep world-building.

Cardinal Chang is by far my favorite character, although Dr Svenson and Celeste Temple are superbly written as well.

I can't even describe any of the plot to you because it's way too complex, I also think that it's very steampunkish and at times unexpectedly erotic. Overall, great series, and much recommended.
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