The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters – G. W. Dahlquist

It’s been quite a while since I actually did a book review and as today has been miserable so far,  Igot a cold, it’s rained all day and been freezing, so I watched an episode of Frozen Planet and even that didn’t make me feel warmer. So today you are introduced to, or perhaps just reminded of The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters.

Weighing in, and that is the appropriate word even for the paperback, at 753 pages (and then 22 other pages of various ephemera) this is no quick read.

Style plays a very big part with this book, the hardback looked very lavish, although a tad expensive  especially for a first time author who won’t drag in the punters. Dahlquist was allegedly paid a seven figure sum for a two book deal.

For the UK launch, Penguin Books, let people subscribe and get each chapter weekly, sort of a hark back to the Dickens way of writing books.

Reading the reviews on the covers, you can see the authors who inspired Dahlquist include; Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens, H. Rider Haggard and The Marquis de Sade.

The story throws three very different people (a spy, a killer and an imposter) into an outlandish, not to mention insane plot forged by a secret cabal to…well I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but I assure you it has all the right ingredients for a fiendish, dastardly and diabolical masterplan.

Sounds great right, but what about the substance?  Whilst I enjoyed the Victorian era meets Cyberpunk alternative world aspects. It allows a lot more to be possible without being forced to stay within the rules of the established order of things. I thought it could do with a bit of editing down, it is long and the way the narrative is plotted leads to certain predictability in our heroes movements.  The characters are all pretty standard and don’t have a lot of depth, what you see is what you get.

Having said that onto the good points. Whereas the characters aren’t explored in depth, the plot certainly is, this is a vast twisty turny type of plot, with a high body count, plenty of chases, kidnappings, orgies, plenty of skullduggery and general nefariousness.  It’s precisely the sort of book that could well settle into the medium of film or comics equally well.

Mix in a shed load of baddies, some really fun and sometimes cheesy dialogue which has a nice vein of cheese running through it, the overwritten and over the top action make this absurd and fun and the classic don’t do that hero person, that is not the common sense thing to do vibe. even the plot holes are fine, because it doesn’t matter it adds to the boisterousness oddness of the book which is a mish mash of many styles.

So to answer my original question, is it style over substance?  It’s a bit of a mixed bag overall, it does indeed ooze style and there is certainly an abundance of things to take in and enjoy, but it is slow in parts and seems to split other readers I’ve spoken too down the middle on whether they really like it. So I would say not for everyone then but if you’re looking for an essentially slightly mental book and you have the time give it a go. There are two follow up books too, which I really need to get around to reading.


11 Replies to “The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters – G. W. Dahlquist”

    1. The hugs would definitely do the trick. So far I am reveling in my status of illest person in the world and am looking miserable to get attention. It does give me chance to get some writing done though.


  1. m and m’s ? Oh right the book review for Dahlquest, I highly applaud your review. The review was precisely as it should be. I was exceedingly impressed with the manner in which you so articulately and sustinctly expressed your well voiced opinions in such a clear and well-balanced manner. The book is very much like he (the author) is! Summing it up! But great review! Thank you, Penny


    1. Yeah the M & M’s happened to collide head on with my oesophagus. It is a long and convoluted story that is so crazy and unbelievable that it may just be true. So I shall spare you. I thought it was a risk writing with a cold as I didn’t even proof read it properly so it pleases me greatly that you review my review in such glowing terms. Balancing reviews is always tough, and that is why when I’m thinking of how to write it I often ask what would Penny do?


  2. Not sure this one is for me but I am definitely amazed at how articulately you delve into all aspects of the plot and the characters. So glad I found your site as I love to read and I’m sure I will discover some great books thanks to you. Have a wonderful week. 🙂


    1. It’s a strange book to judge in terms of demographic and also a tough one to talk about without giving away important plot points. Thankyou for the feedback, I always think I don’t go indepth enough but maybe I am just attempting to be to much of a perfectionist. I shall keep the reviews coming and hopefully you will find some good reads, or in this case books to avoid.


  3. Uh huh! And colds are just plain ol’ miserable, of course you’re right. The thing to do is to definitely cuddle up with a warm drink in a cozy chair and read. (As long as the eyes aren’t watering, I guess!)


    1. Way ahead of you on that score, in two days I have read one and a half books, written one and a half reviews, and had so many Lemsips that I keep laughing to myself.


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