The Sleepwalkers hunt the nightmares that haunt sleeping minds. They traverse the connected dreamworlds where reason is banished and the imagination holds sway.
But tonight, one Sleepwalker has gone rogue. Abandoning her oath to protect the dreamscapes, she devotes herself to another cause, threatening to unleash a nightmare older than man
Once a feted musician, Manderlay lives in an Edinburgh care home, riddled with arthritis. He longs for his youth and the open seas, to regain the use of his hands and play the violin again.
For too long, Manderlay’s nights have been host to dark, corrupted dreams. His comrades in the retirement home fear Manderlay is giving in to age and senility – but the truth is much worse. The dreamworld is mapped with music – and one of Manderlay’s forgotten compositions holds the key to an ancient secret. The Sleepwalkers are closing in on him. He might be their saviour, or his music might be their damnation…
Metronome by OIiver Langmead
SUCH an interesting concept and fantastic execution, Metronome by Oliver Langmead is a thought provoking, yet fun read. Manderlay’s adventures into the land of dreams is exciting. The idea of nightmares as something that must be physically fought and defeated is great. What Langmead does with the nightmares, his description of them, is smart, keeping them relatively nondescript so that the reader can imagine what they are.
The story takes three turns, each of which are equally interesting. The first, we see Manderlay as an elderly man living in an assisted living home suffering from arthritis and repeated nightmares. Learning more about him and his life would have made for a lovely contemporary novel. How did he get there? Why? What’s happened to his family? We never find out as it isn’t necessary for the story, yet, I was so endeared by Manderlay, I really wish I knew.
The second turn happens when Manderlay decides to stay dreaming to correct a mistake. This is when all of the action happens and the people he comes across are so interesting, especially March. The more we find out about March and the bits we find out about his life outside of dreams, the more I love him and want a story about him and his adventures. All of the characters are people I’d love to know more about, which is a testament to how well Langmead writes that his side characters are just as developed and interesting as his main character.
The last turn, well, I won’t say much on that because it is a spoiler, but it’s a great one that leaves you wondering what the heck just happened! It’s such an interesting thing to think about, yet it just makes sense.
A fun, fast-paced, and well developed book, Metronome by Oliver Langmead is sure to please both fantasy fans, as well as surrealists and intellectuals. However, it will leave some frustrated and wanting more (which can be the mark of a good writer, I suppose, but still I WANT MORE!)
About the Author
Oliver Langmead was born in Edinburgh and lives in Glasgow. He has an LLB in Law, and an MLitt in Writing Practice and Study with a distinction, and is currently working towards an MLitt in Fantasy. His first book, Dark Star, featured in the Guardian’s Best Books of 2015.