47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters (Hardcover)
Those reviewers who have slammed this novel based on their reading of one or three chapters really shouldn't be posting reviews here at all. This is a book of almmost 800 pages, and it moves at a fairly leisurely pace. The writing could be better (and could have been improved by professional editing), but the concept is so bizarre, the setting is so surreal, the characters are so odd (yet believable), that you would be missing a marvellous one-off tale by taking those one-star reviews too seriously.
One of the problems is the book's structure. Each of the first 3 chapters tells a lengthy part of the narrative from the point of view of a different character. These 3 characters don't meet up till chapter 4, and even then are soon separated again. But once we see them as a unit and begin to understand the forces they are fighting against, none of that matters. Dahlquist's imagination is disturbing, but I found the world he creates much more engaging than, say, Philip Pullman's second-hand universes. If you start to get sucked into this world--19th century, yet not 19th century, England, yet not England--you will start to find it hard to put down. You crave to know the truth behind the narrative. The prose style, though it needs work, is, on the whole, easy to follow. It has little elegance and quite a few errors ('off of' repeatedly, for example), but that doesn't get in the way of the narrative as it does in, say, Kate Mosse's very clumsily written bestseller Labyrinth. This story leaves you with a sense of strangeness that few others achieve. Read it for that alone.