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

(The Glass Books #1)

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  4,910 ratings  ·  667 reviews
It began with a simple note: a letter of rejection from Miss Temple’s fiancé, written on crisp Ministry paper and delivered on her maid’s silver tray. But for Miss Temple, Roger Bascombe’s cruel rejection will ignite a harrowing quest for answers, plunging her into a mystery as dizzying as a hall of mirrors—and a remote estate where danger abounds and all inhibitions are s ...more
Hardcover, 760 pages
Published December 15th 2006 by Bantam Books (first published August 1st 2006)
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,910 ratings  ·  667 reviews

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mark monday
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fog-and-gears
top ten things i like that are at least tangentially associated with Glass Books of the Dream Eaters:

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.

"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
May 13, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 24, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-for-me, sold, awful
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
Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
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.

Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Mar 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 16, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to love this book. I was instantly drawn in. The writing style – so quintessentially steampunk – was beautiful. Miss Temple was a compelling lead. I was enthused. I was hopeful. I wanted it to be a new favourite. There is a lot that I could have loved about it. But every time I found something to love, I hit something else that annoyed me, or that I didn't like, or that was downright problematic.

Miss Temple is an excellent protagonist. Through the course of a somewhat hesitant in
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
May 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 19, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Finally this book is over. It's taken me over a month to read The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, when generally I aim to read 100ish pages a day. Part of this is that I've been doing a lot of hours at work, but mostly it's that the story is so convoluted that I found I had to be really alert and focused to have any idea what was going on at all. I kept losing track of characters and their significance and so had no clue of whodunnit (view spoiler) ...more
Carla Krueger
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
A difficult book to rate because it has many positive qualities. The writer’s effort and technical skill cannot be faulted. One of the best elements of the book are the incredibly detailed descriptions of people, places, buildings and motives, but for me the storyline itself grew to be disappointing and repetitive. The pacing is certainly fast and if you like pure action it might be enough, but the events that happens are too similar to other events that have already happened to maintain the exc ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
May 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 21, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'd actually give it 4.5/5 but it was really flipping excellent. Fantasy, victoriana, surreal, kinky, violent, wonderous and clever. Proper review now on youtube.

Also, best phrase of the book goes to... molting philodendrons. :D
Feb 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
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
Barbara ★
This book has been on my TBR since 2009 which I acquired it from a used bookstore based on it's interesting inner flap. Of course, once it went on my shelf, I totally forgot about it. Until yesterday that is when I used this thick tome to help flatten a new rug and realized I needed to read it.

The premise is interesting and the fact that the reader has absolutely no clue what is going on keeps you glued to the pages. This strategy works for the first half of the book and then everything goes to
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.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was really enjoying this audio book, but then the second disc was too scratched to play. Did not finish due to the disc being damaged. No rating as I did not stop it by choice.
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
OK, where to start . . . I'm not sure that this is a good book and one glance at the reviews on Goodreads will show you that it tends to get a lot of five star reviews balanced by a similar number of one star ones. Great literature it ain't but it is an intriguing story filled with interesting characters set in a world that is both familiar and very strange. It's sexy, weird, thrilling and would, I think, make a brilliant TV mini series if done with the BBC's eye for period detail and HBO's budg ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up a print copy of this book in a local charity shop and the title instantly intrigued me. I mean – The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters – how is that not intriguing?? On the back: A Spy. A Killer. An Imposter. Three extraordinary heroes. Yes, indeed, I was hooked! And to add to the pleasure of buying it, was the size. Huge. Here was a book I could vanish into for quite some while.

I was not disappointed. This book lived up to its title, its blurb and its size! The three main characters –
Wow. It is hard to know what to say. Firstly, however much I enjoyed it's multi-faceted characters, mystery and intrigue; this book was a bit of slog! Superfluous descriptions galore, unnecessary circumlocution was rife and meant getting to the heart of this tale was tough. I thoroughly enjoyed the main characters, completely different in temperament and history, thrust together in the most unlikely of perilous adventures, melded with quirky moments of humour and unanticipated tender care. The l ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I only got to page 470. It might have been a good book, if the author cut about half of it. Also, every time the female protagonist narrated, she was sexually abused or threatened with such abuse, but the scenes were written in a way that made those events part of the "grand adventure." Thanks, but no thanks.
Ramona Lazar
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've been reading this for a while... I am determined to see it through, although not the easiest of lectures...
Following the perspectives of Miss Temple, a young lady recently jilted by her fiancé, Cardinal Chang, a renegade hired to kill a man, and Doctor Svenson, a German doctor sworn to protect his Prince, The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters follows them as they strive to uncover a deep and dark secret and perhaps become more swept up in it than they would care to be.

Though I had to force myself to read 100 pages every day to ensure I finished it in a week (and believe me that was a struggle with the
Fast-paced action scenes, mystery, a hint of romance, unlikely allies, glass books, a secret society. And look at this gorgeous cover!

Although I overall quite liked this book, it took me a long time to finish it due to Dahlquist’s overly detailed descriptions which made probably or 1/3 of the book feel dragging. The other thing I struggled with – funny enough – is the font (of the paperback edition). I had to concentrate more and my eyes went tired more quickly. Everything else I loved, particu
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Gordon Dahlquist, also credited as G.W. Dahlquist, is a novelist and a playwright.

Other books in the series

The Glass Books (3 books)
  • The Dark Volume (Miss Temple, Doctor Svenson, and Cardinal Chang, #2)
  • The Chemickal Marriage
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