This 760-page book had only two redeeming points - the rather great title and the HILARIOUS author photo - of a man who looks twelve years old from the nose up and sixty from the gray moustache down. I have NO idea how this book wasn't more heavily edited. It was WAY too long and the sentences were MUCH too long, and the whole thing was heavily bogged down with irrelevant detail. It would have been an intriguing story if it had stronger characters (like Miss Temple - a 25 year old who seemed like a spinsterish 60-year-old virgin) that weren't so utterly unbelievable. And the mix of real places with fictitious ones wouldn't have been so infuriating if it had only mentioned the name of the land they were supposed to be in (England seems most likely). Either way, it wasn't good. I've never fallen asleep during reading more. I'm just glad to have it done with. The only explanation for all the detail is showmanship and tone but all it did was drag out a plot that would have been much stronger had it been genuinely more suspenseful.
It would have been so much better if it were shorter. You can tell that Gordon Dahlquist is a playwright because his writing is EXTREMELY detailed, to a fault. It gets very long-winded and a little frustrating. That being said, I did love the three main characters and the story was very original. It took me ages to read it and I had to read something really light after it, but if you're ready for a saga, then I think this is a good place to start.
Ughh. This is the worst book I have read in a really long time. It started off ok but the storyline quickly became too unbelievable, the characters were unlikeable and the whole book was just too long.
I would NOT recommend this book at all.
Reviews on this book are mixed, to say the least! I initially saw this book in the library and thought, "Wow--what a huge book :-) I'll never be able to finish that in three weeks, or even six," which is a reflection on how little time I have for reading and how much slower I read nowadays. In any event, judging the book by its cover, title, and end flap synopsis, I checked it out, thinking, "Damn! If I like this book, I'm going to have to buy it just to finish reading it!"
So, is it a long book? Yes. Does the author go into great detail describing (pretty much all of) the characters and the events that happen to them? Yes. Did this bother me? No. In fact, this is now one of my favorite books (never mind that I needed six months to finish it--that's how little time I find to read these days, sad but true).
If you want something very unique, if you are into science fiction with a strong human component (as opposed to aliens exclusively) and you truly appreciate expansive character development, then by all means read this book. I particularly enjoyed the author's use of language--this is one of those truly gratifying reading experiences where syntax, vocabulary, descriptions of thoughts and events, is so cerebrally pleasurable, I wish I had one of those "mini-scanners" to "lift" favorite passages and then retain them all as wall quotes (or something . . .).
It is hard not to fall in love with the three main characters, even the one (for me) that was initially the most bothersome; by the end of the story, you will be rooting for these people and you will find yourself wishing you could personally destroy some of the more vitriolic, loathsomely vile villains (whom I still had to appreciate from the author's character development).
If, on the other hand, you are in the market for a "quick read" and require page after page of excitement, I would stay away from this book. Each page of this book is exciting insofar as there is a great deal of action throughout the story, but it is consistently qualified by the author's detail, so, yes, one either loves or does not love this book!
Also, if you have managed to get this far into my review (and are still awake), you may be a candidate for total submersion into the "dream world" that is Dahlquist's mind.
I will be keeping my copy and reading it again.
I will admit that I use audio books to get me through scrubbing floors and other routine tasks that would have me muttering under my breath about messy family members were I not distracted by a story. This book was compelling enough to keep me listening and cleaning, but perhaps because of the abridgment or perhaps because I could not see the character names, I was often slightly confused about who was who. There are some very graphic rapes and murders and I wasn't sure about the setting (Victorian England?). The plot was frightening, if I understood it correctly. I'll describe it as memorable but confusing and not necessarily enjoyable.
Amazing to think this is his first novel. Highly recommended.
Very interesting Victorian era fantasy