Updated on August 5, 2015
19. ‘The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters’ by G.W. Dahlquist
For some reason I am completely unable to follow crime stories and murder mysteries. I never read them and, when I watch them on TV (which I do) they are essentially just pictures and noise to me. I can never guess whodunnit, I can never follow how the characters relate to one another, their motives, anything. It’s weird, because I have none of these problems when it comes to other types of stories. There’s just something about crime that turns me off.
This book isn’t a murder mystery, so I enjoyed it! But at times I could feel my ‘crime brain’ creeping in. For example: when the characters had lengthy internal monologues questioning what they had seen, or when they managed to draw elaborate conclusions from something (that seemed to me) incredibly tentative. Towards the end I just couldn’t keep up with the sheer number of characters, all manipulating and double-crossing each other.
Having said that, this was such an enjoyable book that this didn’t put me off. The opening chapter is just fantastic. It gives just enough away and holds just enough back. For a book as enormous as this, it’s vital to hook the reader right away, and Dahlquist certainly did. The action scenes are fantastic and there are moments of humour that made me giggle.
The three main characters really make the book: they develop as the story goes on, becoming capable of things that they never would have been at the start. Miss Temple moves from naïvety to fierce independence; Doctor Svenson changes from consistently caring to murdering almost without thought; Chang’s ability to love emerges gradually. The chapters alternate between their points of view and the stories interlace beautifully, so that questions posed in one chapter are answered in another.
I was, of course, irritated that Miss Temple didn’t just shoot Contessa ‘silly name’ Lacquer-Sforza at the end, but of course that is setting up for the next book, which I am very excited to read. This is a really good, page-turning yarn, and Dahlquist managed to capture and hold my attention in a genre from which I would normally steer clear. Bring on ‘The Dark Volume’!
“You see I have very little left to lose,” he said.
“Everyone always thinks that […] until that little bit is taken away – and feels like the whole of the world.”
I received the third book in this series (‘The Chemickal Marriage’) as part of the Penguin Proof Group, but I had not read the first two before! Luckily my housemate had both of them so, while she reads the beautiful third book, I am catching up.
This book came on many a bus journey with me. Sometimes carrying a bit of a brick is worth it.
Read my review of the second book, ‘The Dark Volume‘.
If you enjoyed my review, why not buy the book and let me know what you think?