Metronome by Oliver Langmead
“You and I, we wear our wounds. I wear my scars, you wear your tattoos, and we don’t forget who we are.’
It is for the entities known as Sleepwalkers to cross the doors between dreams, and hunt the nightmares that haunt sleeping minds. Theirs is a world of impossible vistas, where reason is banished and only the imagination holds sway: the connected worlds that all sleeping minds inhabit, and the doors that lead between.
But tonight, one Sleepwalker has gone rogue. Abandoning her sworn oath to protect the dreamscapes, she has devoted herself to another cause, threatening to unleash a nightmare older than man. The only chance of stopping her lies with a man named Manderlay. Once a feted musician, William Manderlay is living his twilight years in an Edinburgh care home, riddled with arthritis and filled with a longing for his youth, for the open seas, and for the lost use of his hands and the violin he has always treasured.
For too long now, Manderlay’s nights have been coloured by dark, corrupted dreams: dreams of leprous men in landscapes plucked from his memory, of dark figures seeking him on city streets. His comrades in the retirement home believe Manderlay is giving in to age and senility – but the truth is much worse. For in dreams, maps are made from music – and it just might be that one of William Manderlay’s forgotten compositions holds the key to unleashing the nightmare that holds the world of dreams in balance. The Sleepwalkers are zoning in on him. He might be their saviour, or his music might be their damnation…
From the acclaimed author of Dark Star comes a literary fantasy like no other.” – From Amazon
We are familiar with Mister Langmead’s work, though we have not reviewed him before. He impressed us with Dark Star and he has impressed us yet again with Metronome. The author has a sense for the literary like few others and it shows through beautifully on every page of Metronome. While there is definitely something in the tale we have seen before, Langmead gives it new life with Manderlay and, though for a short time, Valentine. We find the Nightmare Hunter March does his best to steal the show.
Some of the best fantasy comes from our dreams, our imaginations, and in Metronome we are taken there perhaps more literally than usual, and it is a wonderful thing. Dreams are a place where our passions can be found and our terrors explored. The world of Metronome is past that, where the safety of sleep is gone. Also, have we mentioned the giant spider? We can’t say we have seen those in our dreams, but we can imagine they are lurking in some dark corner somewhere.
The Rating: A
Metronome has the distinction of receiving our first A rating in 2017. Beautifully imagined and executed, Mister Langmead shows us one of the many forms that fantasy can take, he presents multiple worlds, one that we know, and some we may see only in our dreams. While the story is good, we find what makes it great is the fact that it pushes our own imaginations, forcing us to think of not just what is but what could be, and there is little better than that.
The colorful cast of characters, vivid descriptions, and punctual pacing make this read even better. Metronome ticks all of our boxes, as if it were crafted for us. We love it and we are certain that you will love it too.
Want to read Metronome? You can find it on Amazon.