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The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters (Miss Temple, Doctor Svenson, and Cardinal Chang #1)

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  3,555 ratings  ·  540 reviews

Gordon Dahlquist's debut novel is a big, juicy, epic that will appeal to Diana Gabaldon fans and lovers of literary fantasy, like Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child. The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters begins with a "Dear Jane" letter in which Celeste Temple learns of the end of her engagement. Curiosity leads her to follow her fiancé to London where she uncovers a secret. F

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Paperback, 753 pages
Published January 3rd 2008 by Penguin (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

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mark monday
top ten things i like that are at least tangentially associated with Glass Books of the Dream Eaters:

1. STEAMPUNK
is there a more ill-suited name for a subgenre? what exactly is punk rock about corsets or guns or victorian morals or dirigibles? gack! that was the sound that just came out of my mouth when considering the word "steampunk". still, i love the genre despite its name.

2. GLASS
"Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
M
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Victoria
Not one to shy away from long books, I found both the title and inside-flap description of this book to be quite intriguing. Unfortunately, those were the only redeeming qualities of this 760-page book. The editors must have fallen asleep reading their copy as many times as I did and just didn’t want to admit it. This book needs an editor. Creatively chopping it in half and selling it in parts (as they did with the trade paperback version) is NOT editing. The book is simply WAY too long. Even th ...more
Angela
Finally finished this book! Phew! After a very promising and intriguing first chapter, for me it unfortunately went downhill. Practically all the characters, with distracting unpronouncable names, are introduced in the second chapter making it impossible to remember who is who. (I ended up writing them down on a piece of paper!)
The book is bogged down with overly-detailed descriptions of buildings, places etc. which are unnecessary in many cases.
There are too many convenient coincidences, like d
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Les
My, oh my was this exactly as promised. I picked up this book because I misread the review from the Daily Mail on the back. I thought it read "an exotically-charged, rip-roaring adventure..." It does not. In actuality it reads "an erotically-charged, rip-roaring adventure..."

Nevertheless, every rave review from a UK newspaper on the back was so very right. This is an incredibly intricate plot that weaves together three protagonists, whom combined make one very unlikely cabal of heros. With excel
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Cristin
Set in Edwardian England, "Glass Books of the Dream Eaters" is one part adventure, one part fantasy and two parts completely demented (and I mean this as a compliment).

Apparently, many people are undecided about how to rate this book. From what I've observed, people either love it, hate it, or are filled with begrudging indifference.

Apart from all of the "scoffing" and the grossly superfluous use of the word "cabal" Dahlquist manages to write a very interesting and unlikely trio of heroes.

This
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Oscar
La novela no hace mención ni del año ni del país en que transcurren los hechos, pero parece que se trata del siglo XIX, en Inglaterra. De la historia apenas se puede contar nada, para no arruinar una lectura de 900 páginas a futuros lectores. Los protagonistas y héroes de la novela son tres: la señorita Temple, una joven orgullosa y adinerada, criada en ambientes campestres, empeñada en descubrir por qué su pretendiente la ha abandonado sin más (si supiese los líos en los que se va a meter...); ...more
Gerund
AT 760 pages, The Glass Books Of The Dream Eaters is just 24 pages thinner than Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.

And with its epic scope and decidedly English air -- despite the fact that it is set in a nameless country -- this tome seems at first blush to promise a fantasy-adventure which is just as riveting.

In a darker version of the predicaments that face Jane Austen's heroines, the protagonist Miss Temple (we later learn her first name is Celeste, but only a few intimates are allowed to
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Blair
A fascinating book which demanded my full attention and quite a lot of time, but was well worth it. It's quite difficult to explain what it's about without giving away crucial details of the plot (the nature of the mystery at the book's heart isn't revealed until a significant way through), but it's at turns thrilling, scary, and erotic, and most of all compelling. A big, juicy, labyrinthine novel, full of suspense and intrigue - one to really get your teeth into. Quite brilliant.
Donna
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters were my first introduction to the genre of "Steampunk Fantasy", or maybe it's the first book of that genre as it is certainly unlike anything I've read before. Regardless of what other reviewers have written here, I myself could not put it down; talk about downright fun escapism! Written in the style of a gaslight era seriel novel it had everything: mystery and suspense, action, sex [with a healthy dose of fetishism], shockingly evil yet somehow strangely allu ...more
Andy
Aug 14, 2014 Andy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
I picked this up purely from the cover which was nicely and intriguingly designed (never judge a book...) and what sounded like a story right up my alley. It took me a whole week to plough my way through and a lot of the time I was having to try. The basic underlying story is interesting with a greatly bizarre and unique premise but the execution is lacking. Problems:

Huge numbers of characters with mostly unnecessarily unpronounceable names made it difficult to keep track of who was who (indeed
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Chris
This probably took me longer to read than it should've--mostly because the plot got bogged down a few times in the middle and I needed to put it down and read something else--but that being said, I finished this epic novel yesterday and really enjoyed it. Overall, this is one of the most unique novels I've read in a LONG time. Part period-mystery, part-thriller, part-fantasy, it is hard to say what this novel is like. But what I will say is that fans of either of those genres MAY really dig this ...more
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
This book has three viewpoint characters,there is Celeste Temple the proper young lady,Cardinal Chang the assassin and Dr Svenson the man of doctoring and science.

Cardinal Chang first encounter Celeste on a train when she is covered in blood after going to the villains mansion to search for her fiancee to know why he vanished and broke it off so suddenly.I cant remember how the doctor enters the plot as he was pretty unmemorable and with all the other things you had to keep track of in this book
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Alan
Apr 01, 2009 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adult fans of historical fantasy
Recommended to Alan by: Cuppa Joad, the Alibris book blog
This is a hefty volume - over 750 pages in hardcover - whose elegant, fluid prose is of consistently high quality throughout: complex, bold and even witty. Frankly, The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters would be a tremendous achievement even if it weren't also a ripping good yarn. This is Dahlquist's first published novel, and he writes with an assurance beyond his years and experience.

Dahlquist establishes a trio of disparate, unlikely but likeable protagonists for his story: diminutive but stron
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ian
I'm generally a very patient reader and am likely to enjoy whatever story I read, regardless of literary merit. But this book just stretched my patience to its limit![return][return]The first quarter of the book was engaging enough. The pace was good and I was excited to find out more. But, as I entered into the 2nd quarter of the story, the plot just kept dragging more and more.[return][return]The characters became annoying and their adventures frustrating. [return][return]But I hung on, thinki ...more
Hilary
If I were in a good mood, I would call this a sprawling behemoth of a novel. If I were not, I would refer to it as maundering tosh. In either case I can tell you for a fact that I got bored and skipped about 200 pages (as it's over 700 pages long, I'm still counting it as 'read', if only for the hours I'll never get back), and still managed to keep up with the plot. This is largely because it's written from three points of view, and any time the characters meet they are at pains to tell one anot ...more
Morgan
This is a raucous adventure that runs the reader along a taut high tension line. Dahlquist insists on action, relentlessly dealing it out like a meth addled blackjack croupier. This novel reeks of all the "mistakes" that a first book suffers from: too many characters, too many storylines, extreme violence, and ultimately the scenes are scenario driven. I'm thankful for this naivete. Refined authors tend to cut, and smaller stories end up quieter, whereas this is a pipe bomb. This is big and unap ...more
Nancy Oakes
I certainly did not expect what was between these covers when I bought this book! It sounded like a fun premise, based on the blurb, but oh my! It has my favorite elements: mystery, fantasy, and a Victorian England setting. What more could you ask for? Maybe a bit of pulp, too.

Before I start: the MAJOR criticism of this book is that it is too long. Well, what the heck do you expect when you buy the book and see that page 760 is the last page? If you aren't a fan of long reads, then don't pick t
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Liz
The book starts out when our heroine, the spunky Celeste Temple, receives a curt missive from her fiance that their engagement is off. She sets off to do a bit of espionage to find out why he suddenly changed his mind (crucial information he neglected to include in his note), which lands her in a whole heap of trouble. She quickly discovers that her mild-mannered (but ambitious) Roger has become mixed up with a sinister group that has invented a technique for mind-control. The villains, collecti ...more
El
Oct 27, 2014 El rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: Josiah
So steampunk is a thing and people really like it. Last week someone I work for saw I was reading this and asked me about it. I used the word "steampunk" and she got terribly excited. "That's like a thing, right?" She asked. Yes, it's a thing. Turns out she had just seen some show on HGTV where they were trying to sell a home that had been designed in a steampunk fashion. How in the world does one sell a steampunk-fashioned house? Why, you host a steampunk party, of course!

I don't have a lot of
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kate
It's been a long time since I read this, but I remember picking it up and thinking, this is really weird, but not in a bad way. It's kind of steampunk, grown up version of His Dark Materials, but with less deicide. I thought that there was only this one, but then I discovered that it's the first of three. Then I scare up a hard cover copy of the second book for $4, and it's time to revisit this. Once I've read some Stephen King.
Kendra Galyean
This might be the absolute weirdest book I have ever read. I spent most of the book so confused by what was happening that all I could do was keep reading in an attempt to figure it out. I have recommended it to anyone I thought would enjoy it and be willing to discuss it, so that I can better understand my own opinion of this story.

Dahlquist's writing style is a little difficult to follow. He writes about every single aspect of the story, down to the minutiae. Instead of finding it irritating,
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M
Jun 05, 2007 M rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love a good, fantastical Victorian mystery
I devoured this book in about two days--that's how engrossed I was and how much I wanted to find out what happened next. Now that I'm done, I will concede that it's a bit too long, that there are way too many characters, that they all have about 9 lives too many, and yet despite all of its flaws I came away from the book still partially lost in its world. I fully enjoyed reading it and can't wait to see what Mr. Dalhquist comes up with next.
Matt
This was really like the movie "Eyes Wide Shut" meets the TV show "Doctor Who," in other words an X-rated (in the American sense of the word) Doctor Who episode.

I had read a review somewhere that complained that even though this novel was set in Victorian London it had no real sense of setting, but I can't imagine how long this overwritten work would be if Dahlquist would have painted a detailed picture of London. And Dahlquist is a playwright, I guess he was just waiting for someone to build t
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Marcia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Milo Reid
This is a book with a fascinating premise and great characters that spent far too much time on things I didn't care about and not nearly enough on the things that I did.

I found the first half of the book quite engaging. However, upon the trio's return to the manor, it becomes nothing but everyone running around inside a giant house whose floorplan I found impossible to grasp. I also had a horrible time, at this point, keeping track of all of the characters, although by the end I had a grasp on a
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Jennifer
I can't remember being so entranced in a book for a LONG time, as when I started to read this. I kept jumping chapters to see what happened to the characters (three main protagonists, each has a consecutive chapter devoted to their exploits - so you have to jump from chapter 1 to 4 if you just can't bear the Saturday-morning-matinee feeling of ploughing through two more chapters before you find out what's happening to your favourite character).

This is pseudo-Victorian England not-quite-a-bodice
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Donna
I really enjoyed the first few chapters of this one, and I also thought the main characters were very interesting. But if it wasn't for those two things, I may not been able to finish it.

I liked the writing style, and at times it was easy to get lost in Dahlquist's original story. But then I'd have to stop and try to remember which of the overly-large cast of minor characters had just shown up, and which barely hinted-at subplot he or she belonged to. Or I'd have to figure out if the latest poin
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Kristen
This book requires a serious committment to read. Really, it isn't a "flirty-fun-weekend" kind of book. This is a "married-three-kids-with-a-dog-and-a-mini-van" kind of book, which may be your cup of tea, but it didn't do it for me.

Full disclosure: I did not finish reading the book, so you can factor that into my review, but when the book is in excess of 700 pages, and the author requires nearly 200 pages simply to introduce the three main characters and set up their back stories, without really
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Cook Memorial Public Library
I read this 760 page book in 5 days! It was one of those books you stay up and lose sleep for to keep reading. This was reminiscent of gothic novels like Jane Eyre, had similarities to Bram Stoker's Dracula, and reminded me of Harry Potter for grownups or the drawn-out, quest- like story of the Lord of the Rings series. The three heroes, Miss Temple, Cardinal Chang, and Dr. Svenson, are compelling in their humanness and super-hero-like behavior. Their hold on their humanness is what keeps you ro ...more
Vivienne

This was my second read of this genre-hopping work which I feel now belongs firmly in the steampunk subgenre of science fiction.

The style is very much faux-Victorian, capturing the melodrama of the 'blood and thunder' penny dreadfuls of that age. It manages to capture the sensibilities of that age while not actually being sited in England. The city and country where it is set is never named allowing for more creative license.

On the second reading (the first was in early 2007 when the hardback f
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Gordon Dahlquist, also credited as G.W. Dahlquist, is a novelist and a playwright.
More about Gordon Dahlquist...
The Dark Volume (Miss Temple, Doctor Svenson, and Cardinal Chang, #2) The Different Girl The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume Two (Miss Temple, Doctor Svenson, and Cardinal Chang #1.2) The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Volume One (Miss Temple, Doctor Svenson, and Cardinal Chang #1.1) The Chemickal Marriage (Miss Temple, Doctor Svenson, and Cardinal Chang, #3)

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