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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Atrocity Archives (A Laundry Files Novel) by Charles Stross

Here is yet another of my more odd-ball choices.  I found this on sale and thought it was the blend for me: spies, tech and magic.  How could I go wrong.  Even the main character's name is Robert, what could be better.  Bob is an IT professional who gets himself drawn into the darker side of the spy game.  This side has demons, monsters and magic.  As the story begins, Bob not only wants to be part of the agency he was coerced into joining, now he wants to do field work.

The setting for the story is London, which was another draw for me.  There something special about having a story about monsters and magic taking place in a city that old.  It brings to mind old castles and towers haunted by history.  Unfortunately, this book didn't take too much advantage of that and at points almost could have been set in any city.  This book is actually two separate stories both of which are set primarily in London.   Both stories are well rounded enough and have good pacing.  It's easy to tell from a tech standpoint that the story is a few years old as some of the references quite dated but, most hold up well enough.  The book seems to set out to explain the fundamentals of it's magic system.  This results in the use of a lot of terminology that mixes magic and mythology with modern tech and tech theory. I thought that the main character of Bob was well developed but, then again, this is told in first person so, that was easy enough to handle.

Most of the characters are well placed and seem to have purpose In the story.  Many lack any significant development but, it's hard not to attribute that to the fact that most are spies or operatives.  I never got an accurate enough picture of Bob's roommates.  I'm sure they were described at some point but, it left no lasting impression on me.   This is the first book of the series so, maybe there was more done with these in later stories. This was a book that when I saw it, I thought I may have found myself a new series to follow (I've passed the halfway point of the Dresden Files).  Unfortunately ,  I don't think this is it. The first thing that struck a wrong cord with me was the use of a lot of heavy tech-terms.  For me, if overdone, it makes it difficult to follow and stay engaged in the story.  Some of the second tier characters could have used a bit more build up to give the story a little more fullness.

Overall, this was just okay for me.  I truly wanted it to be more than it turned out to be.  Maybe, it the second book goes on sale, I'll pick that one up.  If you decide to pick this one up be aware that it's definitely in the R rating zone for the violence and a mediocre sex scene. Roberts Signature

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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1 Person left their mark:

  1. You know, I probably would've grabbed this at a book sale too! That cover art--how could you resist? Too bad the plot fell flat.