Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Under the Pendulum Sun” as Want to Read:
Under the Pendulum Sun
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Under the Pendulum Sun

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  797 ratings  ·  259 reviews

Catherine Helstone's brother, Laon, has disappeared in Arcadia, legendary land of the magical fae. Desperate for news of him, she makes the perilous journey, but once there, she finds herself alone and isolated in the sinister house of Gethsemane. At last there comes news: her bel
Paperback, 409 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by Angry Robot
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, fantasy
I am conflicted. And as is customary in such cases here are my thoughts, first in listform and then more elaborated.

Wonderfully atmospheric
Convincingly gothic
Interesting world building

That super gross twist (mostly this).

I found the premise to be absolutely wonderful: Catherine Helstone is on her way to visit her brother Laon - a Reverend and missionary. When she arrives nothing it quite what it seems - the housekeeper is elusive, her brother is gone, and the place she fi
Stephen Robert Collins
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Six weeks ago I meet young woman in Darlington Waterstones I started talking as you do about books & she said you must try this young author From Durham City if like fantasy she said it was her best friend she wrote the He titled down,I ordered at the local Libuary & forgot all about till it came in
This is that book. The lesson here speak to strangers in book shops if they are buying books you have read.
This is a what if book.......
In 1843 Loan Helstone a missionary instead of going t
“Saints have further to fall. This place breaks saints. But you and I,” I gave a grim smile, “we have nothing to fear.”
Ummm I'm not if I want to run around the streets with this book in my hand screaming 'UNDERRATED' and thrusting this book in hands of any willing person or buy every other copy of this novel which is ever printed and then steal Jeannette Ng's mind and then run away to a forest. Because damn this book is very very very underrated but it's not for everyone.

Under the Pendulum
K.J. Charles
In which a pair of Victorian missionary siblings set out to convert the Fae to Christianity. This is a genius idea, colliding Victorian evangelical-colonial smugness with a world too strange and powerful for them to comprehend.

It's an odd book in some ways. The pacing is slow in the first half, as the location and characters are pretty static, and there's a lot of theology, in which it's very true to the earnest Victorian novels it riffs on. There's a great sense of creeping menace though, and
Sh3lly (grumpybookgrrrl)
$1.99 on Amazon: March 29, 2018
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars; rounding up because it was weird and twisted.
I mean, it's about Victorian missionaries in fairyland, and everything goes wrong. I want my fae to be creepy and monstrous, and this totally delivered. The cover is just as beautiful and unusual as the content - it's probably one of my favorite covers of all time (this was a cover buy).
Unfortunately, this and the writing (which was beautiful) were most of what the book had going for it.

A twisted plot isn't that interesting when you see mos
Rod Duncan
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some stories sell themselves in a sentence. I mean, Snakes on a Plane, right? You hear the title and you think, I’ve got to see that. I may hate myself afterwards. I probably will. But I need to know.

I had the same experience when I heard Marc Gascoigne last year describing a new acquisition by Angry Robot. “Nineteenth Century Christian missionaries travel to Arcadia to convert the Fae.”

A brilliant idea. Marc said he almost bought it on the strength of the pitch. But would the story live up to
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
I've taken my time reading this because I've been sick and because the festive season can be more distracting than enabling. But I don't think this has done the book any harm - it's a bit like reading a snow globe, a magical, distracting, half-seen whirl of ideas and promises as its protagonist ventures into Faerie to find her brother the missionary and save the souls of the Fae. Needless to say, what she finds is not what she expects, but the book does wonders in giving you glimpses of the nigh ...more
A.M. Steiner
This gothic tale is stylishly told; imaginative and full of wondrous imagery. In rich prose, it details the adventures of a young lady who enters the land of the fae in search of her brother, a missionary who has gone missing. The premise is great, and the language is lovely, but unfortunately, after a strong first three chapters, the story turns slight and painfully slow. It's also curiously devoid of any sense of conflict. The book seems to assume that in-depth theological conversations and an ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written story of a pair of missionaries to Arcadia, with a (misguided, smug, arrogant) desire to convert the fae to Christianity. Reverend Laon Helstone has been in Arcadia for months, and his sister Catherine arrives in the land because she hasn't heard from him for a long time.
She's met by a changeling, Ariel Davenport, and taken to the home/castle where Loan has been staying. Catherine arrives and is then kept practically captive there, waiting for Laon. Catherine occupies herself
nat. (semi-hiatus)
with a combination of Christian theology and fairy themes, here you find a world that feels more like a dream. almost claustrophobic with its strange creatures and fae politics. hauntingly beautiful and gothically atmospheric.

I honestly crave more
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Eerie, frightening, and cleverly written. Starts with a slow narrative of a Victorian novel to surprise and dazzle with plot twists. I've been yelling about the book on Twitter and telling my friends to read it - I want to discuss it all, the hints and references, the disturbing imagery and emotional impact, and just collectively squee about HOW GOOD it is.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Umm, wow.

This might be the strangest book I've ever read.

I wasn't sure I even liked it until about pg 342. Up until then, I'd been reveling in the world-building, but put off by the plot and MC. Not the whole plot, just the spoilery part that gave me the ewws. Not the whole MC, but the droopy and oh woe is me bits required for gothic drama.

But, the spoilery ick turned out to be necessary, as I hoped it would, and all was well under heaven and hell. I am a convert.

Super points to the author for
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Missionaries in a fairyland. Just reading this sentence gave me goosebumps. A brother and sister with an incestous vibe, in an omnious castle in the middle of the changing fog. Theological discussions with gnomes. Interesting, no? Eeh..

This is a book with a really interesting premise, dragging plot, and characters so mysterious you stop caring what happens to them.

The plot twists were surprising only to the characters, and the way some of the themes were handled was just... off. The emotions we
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, horror
"Two-thirds of the way through Shirley Caroline Helstone's eyes change from brown to blue. This is not an unparalleled phenomenon in a novel. In Shirley however it is unexpected, for here Charlotte Brontë is much occupied with the looks of her characters."
-- from the abstract to J M S Tompkins, 'Caroline Helstone's Eyes' Brontë Society Transactions Volume 14, 1961, Issue 1

I very much wanted to like this novel. Described as a 'gothic fantasy with a theological twist' Under a Pendulum Sun para
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-releases
I received a digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley for review.
Video review here:

Under the Pendulum Sun is a dark, psychological fantasy in a gothic vein, paying considerable literary homage to authors such as the Brontës. Impressively, Jeannette Ng manages to keep her debut novel grounded in historical reality despite its taking place entirely in the faelands. She accomplishes this by immersing us entirely in the Victorian missionary mindset of her characters,
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: disco-inferno
the pacing of the last half is fucked (literally cut 100 pages from part 3) but "victorian christian missionaries take their victorian christian missionary hubris to FAIRYLAND" is the best concept i've heard in at least a year and the execution is SO tailored to me, from dante jokes to the heroine running anguished down the halls in a nightgown to her hot priest brother's hot priest crises. and somehow - somewhere between the deeply in-depth backbone of research that informs it and the highly ma ...more
Tanya Tate
Sep 25, 2017 marked it as to-read
I got approved by Edelweiss but denied by Netgally for this arc.....

Heh Heh...

Not what I was expecting! This is a dark and twisted tale of Victorian era missionaries who travel to the Faelands of Arcadia to try to convert the fae.

Catherine Helstone's brother Laon is a missionary who has been sent to the fairy land of Arcadia in an attempt to convert the fae. When he stops replying to her letters she Catherine is so worried about him that she travels to Arcadia in an attempt to find him.

When she arrives her brother is not there at Gethsemane, the manor house Queen Mab of
Mary Fan
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Whimisical and dark and twisted and weird... A gorgeously written and darkly atmospheric gothic fantasy that reads like the most alluring nightmare you ever had.
Megan Baxter
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I haven't written all the reviews for Hugo-nominated works and authors yet, but I have now read them all and put my ballot together, which was very exciting. It's going to take me a few days to catch up on writing about the books I pushed to finish on time, and here was one of the late entries. It was also one I like a whole heck of a lot. Jeannette Ng was nominated for the Campbell Award this year, and I think this is a very strong contender in that category.

Note: The rest of this review has be
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, owned
A story of a missionary's sister who follows him into the land of the fae to find salvation or damnation together, among Gothic settings and religious mysteries. The novel starts slow and then speeds up to a conclusion that is in fact rather cool.

3.5 stars, in all fairness, but I'll round up for the beautiful cover ;)

I found this novel cerebrally entertaining. It's been a decade or longer since I read some of the works referenced and alluded to here, but spotting the more and less subtle hints a
Samantha Shannon
A fresh and clever take on the ever-popular Fae, Under the Pendulum Sun is a twisted Gothic nightmare that has shot up there to become one of my favourite books of all time, and I do not say that lightly. The pitch – two Victorian missionaries attempting to convert Queen Mab and her Fae to Christianity – sounds almost too good to be true, but trust me, it more than lives up to it. You can tell Jeannette Ng has done meticulous research into this time period. Set in the eerie realm of Arcadia, her ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Whatever it is you expected this book to be, this book is definitely not it. Under the Pendulum Sun is a fantasy novel that is so uniquely written and I have never ever encountered any other books even close to what this book is about. Essentially, this is a story of Catherine Helstone, a Reverend's sister who was sent to Arcadia, a world different from ours in which the sun is a pendulum. With eerie creatures roaming the place, unrealistic weather and seasons due to the movement of the sun, and ...more
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I ALMOST bumped this up to 4 stars because it is such a unique and interesting book but ultimately decided to stick with 3. The world building is incredible and there are so many little details on what makes the world of faerie so uncanny even when the characters are dealing with something that should be familiar. I also love the idea of Christian missionaries trying to interact with the world of faerie and it's n
David Harris
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm grateful to the publisher for letting me have an advance copy of this book via NetGalley.

Under the Pendulum Sun is a remarkable book. It's at once gothic, literary, magical, and comfortable with the viewpoint of a mid-Victorian world of missionaries and Christianity (whilst equally comfortable dissecting their viewpoints).

To begin with, the story looks as though it is going to be a variant on the Heart of Darkness/ Apocalypse Now myth: a White Man has disappeared or gone rogue in Native Coun
Rachel Noel
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*Free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Let me start out by saying: Holy wah. Holy wah! Holy WAH! This book was an amazing read! I can't remember the last time I was tempted to take a day off work just to finish a book! There were so many things to think about and work through! I generally highlight parts of a book that make me think, or to look up later, or that might be clues for the overall story. Usually I highlight just a few things overall. I swear I highlighted almost half the book ju
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Aaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii [pterodactyl noises]

Review to come, probably.
Megan Leigh
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review originally appeared on Pop Verse.

There’s a lot to be said for a strong authorial voice. Jeanette Ng’s debut novel, Under the Pendulum Sun is set in an alternate Victorian world where the fae are real. To match the setting, Ng employs a gothic voice akin to Bram Stoker’s in Dracula and Mary Shelley’s in Frankenstein. These are heavyweights to attempt to emulate, but Ng manages it with aplomb. The voice is absolutely perfect for the narrative and the style she is going for. Unfortunate
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
Under the Pendulum Sun is a darkly enchanting, Gothic tale of the fae.

In an alternate version of nineteenth century England, trade has been established with Arcadia, the realm of the fae. And among those heading to Arcadia are Christian missionaries, one of whom is Catherine Helston’s brother Laon. But as the months wear on, Catherine becomes desperate for news of what befalls him, and she manages to convince the missionary society that she (an unmarried woman!) should be sent to check up on him
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Jeannette Ng is originally from Hong Kong but now lives in Durham, UK. Her MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies fed into an interest in medieval and missionary theology. She runs live roleplay games and used to sell costumes for a living.
“Have you not wanted to speak to me all your life?” “H-have I?” “You’re human. And humanity loves us.” She was stroking my hand as though it were a lapdog. “So desperate are you to speak to us that you see us everywhere. You look across your borders, your walls, and instead of your neighbours, you see us. As your ships sail further and countries and continents discover each other, you see not each other. You see us. You want to see us.” 0 likes
“It is very dangerous out there, Cathy. In the mists. Anything… I cannot–” “What cannot you do, Laon?” I could feel my fingers growing numb. “Have you not done it all? Have you not gone to university? Have you not left England? Have you not made yourself a grand explorer, triumphant conqueror and–” It stung. I knew it stung. “Do not blame your confinement on me.” His voice was very cold, very slow. “I am not your gaoler.” “Do not shame me for knowledge that has been denied me. Do not patronise me over the position to which I have been born.” I saw him flinch, but I continued. “I had thought the respect you had for me was mine by right, as your sister and equal. Not granted to me on your whim. To be begged and earned, however tenderly.” 0 likes
More quotes…