Newtons Sleep has been well-received by both existing fans of the Faction and new readers.
The New Zealand Herald‘s reviewer David Larsen (Canvas supplement, Saturday 8 March 2008) says it’s “something richer and stranger… so overwritten as to be oddly beautiful, and the story about the eruption of the time-travellers’ war into 17th century Britain is complex and involving.” It fares better than Hugo nominee Halting State on the same page (a book we enjoyed more than David did).
Sandstorm Reviews is very impressed, giving it 9.5 out of 10 and the most in-depth review to date. “Newtons Sleep is one of those Jackpot! moments, combining wonderfully-written historical fiction with a dash of time-travel and interdimensional war. The characters are sharp, varied and entirely believable; the historical detail is accurately and intelligently presented with a minimum of clumsy infodumping, and the sci-fi background is slightly confusing (what time-travel story isn’t?) but basically sound. This is good. This is very good.” We quite agree that “work of this quality deserves to be read by much more than just Doctor Who fans”.
Curled Up With A Good Book think it’s “a well-crafted, very entertaining (though at times confusing) time-travel adventure” and give it four stars. Their plot summary is a bit mixed up, but “Don’t worry; the novel will straighten everything out for you… O’Mahony handles the intricate plot lines very well, writing with a detailed realism about the historical eras of his characters”.
SFCrowsnest found it “rather confusing at times”, and have run with Curled Up’s misconceptions (and some oddly familiar turns of phrase), but despite this recognise that it’s “extremely well-written” and “through it all there is the feeling that here is a very good writer”. They’d probably get a lot out of a reread to catch all the early clues that are more obvious with foreknowledge of where the story’s going.
Long-term Faction Paradox aficionado Chronic Hysteresis isn’t disappointed with Random Static’s first entry in the series, calling it “fantastically excellent on bazillions of levels”. “It does mindbending non-linear plotting that all works beautifully in the end… has quite a lot of hot sex in it that never feels gratuitous… not a bad place to start with the Faction… In summary: buy this book.”
Death Ray Magazine are also familiar with “the madly interesting – if unexpectedly demanding – Faction Paradox brand”, and say “O’Mahony can be guilty of over-egging, but we can’t fault his ambition. A find.” (Issue 12).
And on the Faction Paradox forum, War Arrow observes “Although it reads science-fiction on the back cover, it truly feels more like alchemy-fiction… O’Mahony writes Protectorate era England with such casual attention to detail that no amount of speculative novelty can break its persuasive spell”. Clockwork tin soldier says “Newtons Sleep is not an easy novel to describe… But bear with me, because its marvellous” and “The brief glimpses into the larger universe of Faction Paradox offered here will undoubtedly be confusing for the uninitiated, but they are incredibly potent and mysterious also. There really is no easy way in to this mythos, and I thoroughly recommend Newtons Sleep as the place to start.” Phil PH “absolutely loved Newtons Sleep. Certainly the strongest Faction Paradox novel to date… The characters are brilliantly drawn (especially Silver, Behn and Greenaway), the historical worldbuilding is so convincing you can taste it, and the twisty-turny politics, both Above and Below, are compelling without being overly confusing.” And bthogg thought “It was a joy to read… immensely well structured, exactly the sort of thing a story about time travel should be doing… an absolutely barnstorming start to the new line”.