The Somnambulist

The Somnambulist

by Jonathan Barnes
3.4 32

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The Somnambulist 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Janus More than 1 year ago
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.
goodlifeor More than 1 year ago
If Jonathan Barnes is a good writer, he wasted his time on this tale. It is filled ad nauseum with what appears to be his forte of creating misshapen, repugnant characters that he uses badly. He has some good characters; but without much in the way of individual feelings. Even his characters have an aversion to each other. Do not read this book if you want to derive pleasure from characters and ideas you have met in your reading. This is not a keeper.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable and engaging, with interesting characters and a bizarre, sprawling plot that should attract any fan of the strange and mysterious. Towards the end, it does degenerate a bit into pure senseless oddity, but overall, I look forward to the next offering from Jonathan Barnes.
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Ronrose More than 1 year ago
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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Starling3 More than 1 year ago
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.
Newfound.Joye More than 1 year ago
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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emmi331 More than 1 year ago
This is one of the strangest yarns I've come across, and very hard to put down. It's set in London in the early 1900s and involves a wild conspiracy by an off-the-wall group who wants to take over the city. Into this mess stumbles Edward Moon, a washed-up magician with a giant of a partner who has the peculiar ability to be pierced with swords without bleeding. Edward has been involved in police cases in the past, the latest of which was a disaster, though we are left tantalizingly short of details on this. Perhaps in Mr. Barnes's next book? In any case, by the end of the book we have met a truly weird assortment of characters. Along with all this are the further components of science fiction and a touch of the supernatural. Often outlandish, always entertaining....I look forward to the author's next novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago