The Somnambulist (ARC)

by Jonathan Barnes | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 9780061375385 Global Overview for this book
Registered by CheriePie of Campbell, California USA on 12/27/2007
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by CheriePie from Campbell, California USA on Thursday, December 27, 2007
Velobind manuscript binding. Received from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers group.

Book Description
A fabulous first novel about a stage magician trying to stop a sorcerous uprising in turn-of-the-century London, in the vein of bestselling works by Susanna Clarke and Neil Gaiman.

The Somnambulist follows the extraordinary tale of Edward Moon, stage magician and detective, and his silent sidekick the Somnambulist. A bizarre series of murders unsettles turn-of-the-century London, but as Moon begins to investigate, he realizes it is only the beginning: nourished by blood and poetry, an eerie uprising grows among the very roots of the city.

With a gallery of vividly grotesque characters, a richly evoked setting and a highly literary and playful style, this is an amazingly addictive, brilliant debut novel from an author with a great voice and huge potential.

Journal Entry 2 by CheriePie from Campbell, California USA on Friday, February 15, 2008
The Somnambulist is a dark fantasy sort of mystery that takes place in turn-of-the-century Victorian England. It follow the adventures of Edward Moon, stage magician and part-time detective, and his loyal sidekick the Somnambulist. When a series of bizarre murders and strange disappearances starts taking place throughout London, the Directorate turns to Moon to help them figure out what's going on. But as the investigation proceeds, and the cryptic messages from medium Madame Innocenti start to make a scary kind of sense, Edward realizes that there's something much deeper going on here... something that extends down into the very bowels beneath the city.

I received this as an Advance Readers Edition from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Group, and unlike most ARCs, this one was actually a velobound manuscript copy with full-size 8.5" x 11" pages. It was a bit unwieldy to handle, especially trying to read in bed, but the story was good enough to keep me wanting to read on despite the uncomfortable binding format. I also found my copy was missing page 71. But because it was the first page of a new chapter, and a new section started at the top of the following page, I couldn't figure out anything important that was missing, so perhaps it was intentional. And finally, I found it odd that the date at the bottom of the pages was 6/28/07. Since this was first published in the UK in Feburary of 2007, and later in the US in Feburary of 2008, I was left wondering if I might actually have a copy of the UK manuscript, and wondering if there might be a slight difference in language and localisms between the two.

Now enough about the format and on to the story itself. It's told from the point-of-view of an outside party, one who's observing the events from the outside. Because of this, the reader doesn't get a lot of deep insight into each character's feelings and thoughts. In a way, this makes the story seem a bit cold and distant, which may in fact be the intended result. But an unfortunate side effect was that I had a more difficult time remembering some of the more personal facts about each of the characters. I felt I didn't know them as well since the author didn't really allow us to see inside their heads. *shrug* By the end of the book however, it became a bit more obvious why it was written that way, and who the person is who's telling the story. But I found it a bit disconcerting at the first in any case.

Because of my few complaints above, I couldn't give this book a perfect score. However, I really enjoyed the action, the mystery, the dark horror, and the whole wackiness of it, which made for a very enjoyable story overall. And thus, despite its few shortcomings, a book I would wholeheartedly recommend to others.

Journal Entry 3 by CheriePie from Campbell, California USA on Sunday, February 24, 2008
Kislany won this in the Mind-Boggling Mystery Swap on BookObsessed on 2/15/08. But since this ARC manuscript is fairly heavy (about 2 lbs.), it was actually more cost effective to buy her a copy of the UK version—already available in paperback since the beginning of this year—from The Book Depository and have it sent to her directly. The journal page for that copy can be found here.

I think I'll RABCK this to one of the other US participants who expressed an interest in it during the swap.

Journal Entry 4 by CheriePie at USPS, By Mail/Post/Courier -- Controlled Releases on Monday, August 18, 2008

Released 13 yrs ago (8/18/2008 UTC) at USPS, By Mail/Post/Courier -- Controlled Releases



Sending this to ccheesygiraffe as one of 2 books for the BookObsessed April Fools Day Sweeps, the other being The Scot, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Annette Blair, which I'm afraid she may have since acquired by now since it's no longer on her wish list but was initially.

Mailed on 8/18/08 via Media Mail with Delivery Confirmation # 9102 8052 1390 7620 9753 87. Total of 5 books included in package: 3 from swaps, 2 from BookObsessed April Fools Sweeps.

Journal Entry 5 by cheesygiraffe from Florence, Alabama USA on Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Thanks Cherie!

Wow! I sure do want to read this but I've never seen an ARC look like a very rough copy before. It's readable so I don't care. *hugs*

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