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Friday, September 5, 2008

Add it to your list, you know you wanna!

Gordon Dahlquist's debut hit shelves in August of 2006 after huge buzz. Unfortunately, the buzz didn't hit the right people. Underground murmurings and devoted fans are what will make this a lasting cult classic, but I wish that it had maintained the expected momentum right out of the gates. I can tell you this, I picked the book up I can't tell you how many times before I finally purchased it. I was sorry I had waited even that long. 

It's tough in the book business for people to figure out how to market something that is unique. I've said it before, and I believe it wholeheartedly, there is great potential for exposing readers to a slew of new authors simply because you can usually make a recommendation using a familiar work. Glass Books of the Dream Eaters is one that unfortunately slips through the cracks, though. 

For me, it was completely different from everything that I had ever read. How then, do you market something that is unlike anything out there? It's a problem faced industry wide and that's why they beat trends to death. That's another post, though. This is meant to expose you to one of the most phenomenal books that you have never read!

Here's my review from Bookbitch.com - it's cryptic and vague for such a complex read, but hopefully your curiosity will be piqued: 

When Roger Bascombe abruptly breaks off their engagement, Celeste Temple is determined to discover why. She follows him to a strange mansion in the countryside where glamorous masked guests view a strange demonstration. From that moment on, Miss Temple’s life is forever changed. Cardinal Chang, known for his scarlet colored coat and the violent scars that cover his face, has been hired to kill a certain soldier. Chang finds the soldier, already dead by someone else’s hand. Doctor Abelard Svenson has been charged with the safety and well being of the Prince of Macklenburg, until he loses his prince. These three unlikely allies will soon find themselves fighting together against an evil cabal and the invention that would allow them to rule the world. Dahlquist’s grand and ambitious novel is an intricate work of art and a perfect debut.

In the time since, I have learned that this book most likely fits best in the steampunk genre. Wikipedia says "Steampunk is a subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date." More specifically, it's classified as quasi-Victorian. Don't let the terms scare you, though, readers who enjoyed Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell will probably love this one as much as I did.  

I read this book, sick as a dog, in just a few days and fell in love. It was strange and fascinating and utterly engaging. I was drawn into Dahlquist's world and was sad to see it end. I loaned it to a friend and she was surprised, it was not what she had expected, especially coming as a recommendation from me. She called me this evening and told me that Dahlquist's new book is now showing up in the bookstore system, slated for release in March. I'll be one of the first to order my copy, but you'll have plenty of time to be captivated by Glass Books, too. The paperback hits shelves in January so add it to your must buy list and don't forget! 

Until then, I'll be holding my breath and hoping I can snag an early copy of The Dark Volume

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Steampunk, eh? I like it, it works. That was a very different yet very entertaining book. Since I didn't know what to expect, I was kind of confused at the beginning, but quickly found my way. Worth the time and effort!