Dahlquist (The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, 2007) continues his genre-busting in this adventure sequel set in an alternate Victorian era.
Dahlquist extends the story of feisty adventuress Celeste Temple, scarred assassin Cardinal Chang and Dr. Abelard Svenson as they unravel a sinister conspiracy involving a weird, memory-stealing blue glass material. As in his previous book, Dahlquist combines disparate elements of Victorian adventure stories, steampunkish science fiction, murder mystery and even mad-scientist horror. The action ricochets among the three main characters as they set off on adventures peppered with gunfights, swordplay and terrifying people made of glass. The tight plot is a marked improvement over the author’s more leisurely paced debut. Still, some may have a hard time keeping track of the dense stream of minor characters, and despite Dahlquist’s efforts to allow this book to stand on its own—he even prefaces it with a 25-point crash course on the first book—readers may find it necessary to read Book One to keep everything straight.
Complex and enjoyable—recommended to those who’ve read The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters.