Customer Reviews for

The Somnambulist

Average Rating 3.5
( 32 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Tell us more...or less!

Jonathan Barnes does a wonderful job with the characters of Moon and the mute Somnambulist. I found this a very difficult book to put down. Unfortunately, the last few chapters really stretch the imagination a bit far. It was just a bit too 'science fiction!' What w...
Jonathan Barnes does a wonderful job with the characters of Moon and the mute Somnambulist. I found this a very difficult book to put down. Unfortunately, the last few chapters really stretch the imagination a bit far. It was just a bit too 'science fiction!' What we should see in any future Moon tales would be the prequels that would involve the cases so often referred to in this book...particularly the Clapham case! Write on, Mr. Barnes, write on!

posted by Anonymous on April 15, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

The Somnambulist

This was quite a curious little book. I would like to start by saying that the narrative style Barnes uses is really enjoyable. He definitely evokes that sense of Victorian mystery and quirky humor. The story was really good and would have made for a great novel except ...
This was quite a curious little book. I would like to start by saying that the narrative style Barnes uses is really enjoyable. He definitely evokes that sense of Victorian mystery and quirky humor. The story was really good and would have made for a great novel except for a few shortcomings that really brought the book as a whole down. First: The characters. By the end the reader feels as though they have a better understanding of the supporting cast than they do the major characters. Edward Moon is supposed to be a vain and self-absorbed man, but the only times this truly shows is when someone flat out says so. He felt weak and I never saw any of the keen intellect that was supposed to make him such a great detective. Second: There are some things the author never explains that he really should have. Being enigmatic is one thing, but I got the sense that whenever he couldn't get the explanation of something to work within the context of the story, he simply left it out. Last: Barnes does a phenomenal job of building a real sense of tension throughout the novel. Readers will find themselves frequently attempting to unravel what this looming threat, this conspiracy behind everything, is. When we find out we are in for the let downs of let downs. I almost wonder if Barnes just stopped caring by the end of the book.

posted by Janus on December 13, 2009

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  • Posted December 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Somnambulist

    This was quite a curious little book. I would like to start by saying that the narrative style Barnes uses is really enjoyable. He definitely evokes that sense of Victorian mystery and quirky humor. The story was really good and would have made for a great novel except for a few shortcomings that really brought the book as a whole down. First: The characters. By the end the reader feels as though they have a better understanding of the supporting cast than they do the major characters. Edward Moon is supposed to be a vain and self-absorbed man, but the only times this truly shows is when someone flat out says so. He felt weak and I never saw any of the keen intellect that was supposed to make him such a great detective. Second: There are some things the author never explains that he really should have. Being enigmatic is one thing, but I got the sense that whenever he couldn't get the explanation of something to work within the context of the story, he simply left it out. Last: Barnes does a phenomenal job of building a real sense of tension throughout the novel. Readers will find themselves frequently attempting to unravel what this looming threat, this conspiracy behind everything, is. When we find out we are in for the let downs of let downs. I almost wonder if Barnes just stopped caring by the end of the book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2008

    Imaginative Wording, Difficult Plot

    I am torn when it comes to this book. Although the writing style Barnes' chooses captivated me, the essence of the book does not. At best I could read three chapters before having to put it down. However, the premise of the book is so outlandish that it sucked me back in. I would recommend it if only for the sole purpose of expanding your vocabulary, but also to make yourself suspend belief and catapult you to a different time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wake Me When It's Over

    Let me make it perfectly clear, this is not a book you should approach lightly. It is a puzzling mixture of mystery, suspense, a touch of Victorian horror story mixed in a jumble of parts. At first it seems that all these qualities might make an exceedingly good tale, but alas it does not. The author tells the story of Edward Moon, magician and part time detective and his companion, the Somnambulist, who together are called upon to solve a series of murders and in so doing save London from destruction. The author tries to pay homage to past writers and their creations ranging from Sherlock Holmes to Frankenstein. I felt the author was being a bit too cute with the reader, going so far as to tell us that he would at times lie and mislead the reader, which he does.

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  • Posted March 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Just so-so

    I had very high expectations for this book, but was very disappointed. While the novel was atmospheric, the plot seemed to go nowhere. Some characters were interesting, but halfway through I found myself losing who's who, and eventually not caring.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Mysterious and intriguing

    Jonathan Barnes' The Somnambulist is a well written novel. The reader is swept through London following the trail of gritty murders, sneaky officials, religious cults, and a suave magician. Although easy to read, The Somnambulist loses part of its momentum towards the end of the book feeling rather rushed. Overall, Barnes has a particularly smooth writing style and you will not find yourself re-reading previous chapters to remember small details. I would recommend reading if you are enchanted by magicians, time-travel, twisted plots, and a somnambulist.

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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    Posted May 17, 2009

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