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    And he woke up but it was all just a dream

    William Manderlay is an old man, suffering from arthritis and living in a home. In his youth, he was a sailor and a composer. One night, he experiences a vivid dream, in which he meets a young man named March who saves him from nightmarish creatures. March is a Sleepwalker, a dreamer whose task is to kill nightmares and he decides to take care of Manderlay. William explores the dreamworld, going to the dazzling city of Babel. He also meets June, another Sleepwalker, who thinks an album Manderlay composed years ago will lead her to Solomon's Eye, a fabled prison within the dream world. But her reasons for going there appear to be far from good. There is, in Metronome, a real sense of adventure: going on the clockwork skyship that gives its name to the novel, exploring the different dream worlds, full of original creatures. The themes of death and old age linger all through the novel and are wonderfully done. The dream world works, as long as you don't try to think too hard about it, in which case it can fall apart on some aspects. Manderlay is a great main character, tensed between the wisdom and frailty of old age, and the audacity and naivety of youth. The novel uses Christian mythology and the influence of Medieval Christian inspired tales is often palpable. The clockwork machinery theme grants Metronome the steampunk tag. It makes for an interesting mix of genres: both the mythological and the steampunk aspects are giving to the novel a very original voice, which resonates with the many references to the quixotic power of fiction and dreams. Add to that the ending, which feels on one hand as the most unsatisfying part of the novel, but on the other, it is particularly appropriate to the themes of the novel. I think Metronome should be on every fantasy fan reading list. The writing is superb, the story is gripping and touching. Buy it, now!

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