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The Dark Volume: Glass Books Volume Two by Gordon Dahlquist

01/07/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Glass Books in the USA - or Buy Glass Books in the UK

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pub: Bantam Dell. 508 page hardback. Price: $26.00 (US), $30.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-385-34036-6.

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The four companions have escaped from certain slaughter aboard the airship and all the others on-board must surely be dead. They are alone in a strange land. At first, Celeste is unconscious with fever and the others must fend off villagers, rumours and investigate further unexplained deaths.

Told initially by Celeste upon wakening, the mystery unfolds slowly through different narrators. Celeste Chang and Dr Svenson all tell their own story. The fourth companion, Eloise, is there to tend to Celeste and does not get her own voice. She has had part of her memories removed by being in contact with the Blue Glass books and cannot remember if she is friend or foe.

Those Blue Glass books created in the first novel are proving to have dangerous and fatal capacity. Celeste has been infected by partial memories of the Contessa and isn't always in control of her reactions falling under the influence of the implanted emotions.

The blue glass woman as created in the last book is also a threat and wherever the companions go there is often the reek of the blue indigo clay that is the central ingredient. Someone seems to be following them and it is something to do with the Blue Glass books. There is some kind of plot afoot and everybody talks a lot. Yada Yada.

This is a quest novel of a sort with the four companions moving in ever decreasing circles, first away from each other and inevitably back toward for a final set piece denouement and the set up for another book. This delayed climax is yet another example of the pointless repetition of plots in subsequent books. The fantasy land where this is set is another way of distancing us from actually caring what happens next. The characters are cartoons and there isn't one that the reader can identify with. I began to wish they would all give up and go home or if it rained that the cardboard they were made from would collapse.

Nothing happens. All the little puppets will no doubt turn up in the next instalment but so what? Breaking glass people must mean seven years bad luck. It does for the reader.

Sue Davies

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This book has 65 votes in the sci-fi charts

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