Grac's Never-ending TBR Pile of Doom

Grac's Never-ending TBR Pile of Doom

Mostly science fiction and fantasy, though the odd non-fiction book will crop up now and then...

Review
1.5 Stars
The Glass Universe - Dava Sobel
The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars - Dava Sobel

I don't usually bother reviewing books that disappoint me but I'm making an exception to that rule. This is one of those books where I am so glad I picked it up at the local library and didn't even spend the 45p it costs to have it reserved from another branch, so that will tell you something. 

 

I mean, it's not actively awful and I suppose if you didn't know anything about the subject matter, it would be a reasonable introduction, but it just doesn't do what it sets out to do if you're looking for more than that (and I was!). For a book about the women who worked in the Harvard astronomy department in the late 19th and early 20th century, it sure talks a lot more about the men who work there than actually tell us much about the women. I got to the point about halfway through that I was skimming paragraphs to see if they were about the women or not and moving on if they weren't. More time at one stage is spent on the women whose money supported the department than the ones doing the work, so we know more about how they felt about it than how the actual women astronomers did.

 

In the end, I didn't feel like I came away from this book with any more idea of who these pioneering women were and what it was like to do what they did, both personally and professionally, than I had when the book started. There's no sense, for example, of the frustration many (all?) of them must have experienced at the restrictions set on what they could do while less talented men passed them by on the academic ladder. Surely, somewhere, there must be some more candid account of what it was like to be them than has been drawn on in this book?

 

All of this was then capped for me by the way the author refers to everyone - men get referred to routinely by their surname, women as Miss or Mrs. Which is fine, except that while most of the men have a PhD and possession of that or otherwise is glossed over, so do some of the women and I felt as though that should have been recognised - not doing so is doubly ignoring the difficulty for a woman of that time to get a doctoral degree in a science subject. It also plays into the idea that these women, the first 'computers' were uneducated grunt workers and not the scientific pioneers they actually were, most of them middle class or above, most of them with postgraduate education or above.

 

Anyway, disappointing coming from the woman who wrote the excellent Longitude (which I recommend, regardless of this book) and I guess the book I really wanted to read about these women is (hopefully) still out there...

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
The Interminables - Paige Orwin
The Interminables - Paige Orwin

First off, I'll freely admit that I picked this book up from my local library mostly based on the cover and blurb, knowing literally nothing about it prior to that. Which is fairly unusual, since I usually know at least something about the majority of new SFF being published or at least its author... instead, The Interminables apparently passed me by completely when it was published in 2016.

 

The basic premise of the book is that back in 2010, an age-old magical deity arose once more and attempted to destroy the planet, only to be pushed back and eventually defeated by a mysterious cabal of wizards known as the Twelfth Hour. Understandably, this left massive amounts of damage behind and the Twelfth Hour still exists to try and keep order in what's left and also deal with any new dangers that might arise, as well as the things left behind by the events of 2010. There is, of course, something nasty left behind that still needs to be dealt with for everyone to survive...

 

Our protagonists are a member of this cabal who has discovered a way to become immortal by taking tiny fragments of time from everyone he meets and the literal concept of War, in what starts out as pretty much a sausagefest. While it's eventually revealed that their boss is a woman, there seems to be much made of how unfeminine she is and the other main female character's role is apparently to motivate one of the main characters through having died, until (of course) it's revealed that she didn't die after all. There's also a slightly clumsily not-dealt-with sub-plot where one (male) character is in love with the other who thinks he's straight because he was married back when he was alive. 

 

All in all, it's not the worst thing I've ever read and it kept me turning the pages to the end, but it could have been so much better. I got a bit annoyed with the fact that not much really gets resolved in terms of the relationships between the characters and it's clearly left as a set-up for one or more books to follow (the first of which, Immortal Architects, my library also has a copy of somewhere so I'll probably get to read it at some point). 

Review
3 Stars
Under the Pendulum Sun - Jeannette Ng
Under the Pendulum Sun - Jeannette Ng

Another book much loved by at least one person I know, Under the Pendulum Sun didn't quite work for me - not that it's a bad book, nothing of the sort, but I'm still struggling to say what it is I actually thought about it. One positive, the cover is stunning and eye-catching, I don't think I've ever seen quite so many shades of purple used in a single image!

 

On to the book itself: it's one very much for anyone who's read a lot of Bronte or gothic novels, being set in Victorian times, with one of the main characters a missionary. Nothing unusual there, except that he's a missionary to Arcadia, the land of the fae - this is a world where there is interaction between the two worlds, at least since the time of Captain Cook, so Laon Helstone goes off to convert them and leaves his sister behind.

 

Catherine doesn't think much of this, so follows him to Arcadia only to find that the house where he should be living is empty and nobody seems to know when he will return. In time, he does, as does Queen Mab and her time in the house turns everything upside down. In the best gothic novel tradition, there is a mysterious woman in black, not to mention doors that open themselves and corridors which can't be found the second time around. 

 

The author's love of that kind of novel shines through Under the Pendulum Sun, so if that's the kind of book you dislike then this one might not be for you. It didn't quite work for me, since I saw the two main plot twists coming quite a way in the distance, but I will still be looking forward to picking up whatever this author writes next. 

Top 5 books of 2017
A Conjuring of Light - V.E. Schwab City of Miracles - Robert Jackson Bennett Raven Stratagem - Yoon Ha Lee The Ninth Rain - Jen Williams The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel - Katherine Arden

I didn't do a book challenge this year, but I still ended up reading about 60 books and graphic novels, as well as starting another 8-9. A bunch of those were re-reads, as I got ready to finish off or continue trilogies, while I also went on a big Earthsea jaunt as I'd never read all the novels in one go before. 

 

Anyway, here are my top 5 books of the year (graphic novels excluded), in no particular order:

 

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab - stunning conclusion to a great series, just wish I liked her YA books as much as I liked these!

 

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett - another trilogy-concluder, with each book featuring what I've described as 'grumpy olds doing stuff'.

 

Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee - second book in a trilogy this time, but while I enjoyed Ninefox Gambit a lot, I thought this book was far more accessible and I can't wait to see what happens in Revenant Gun next year. 

 

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams - a first book this time, curses! I really enjoyed her Copper Cat series (which starts with The Copper Promise, for anyone who's interested) but this book kicks things up a notch. The next book, The Bitter Twins, is due out in March and I can't wait...

 

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - another first book in a series, not to everyone's taste but it more than worked for me! The next book, The Girl in the Tower, is already out and I need to get hold of it when it eventually arrives in paperback. 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
5 Stars
The Ninth Rain - Jen Williams
The Ninth Rain - Jen Williams

I really enjoyed this author's previous trilogy (which starts with The Copper Promise) and so was looking forward to seeing what she could do with a completely new setting and set of characters in The Ninth Rain. If anything, I think this book is even better than the previous ones and I can't wait to see what happens in the rest of the story...

 

The Ninth Rain is set in the time after a series of invasions, all of which have been pushed back at great cost. The Eborans, the main adversaries of the invaders, have now been all but destroyed with a terrible disease decimating their population and their tree-god silent. Yes, there is a giant sentient tree involved, bear with me. One of the last of the Eborans is sure that this can be rectified, while meanwhile her brother Tormalin goes out in search of adventure, booze and sex (mostly booze and sex, to be honest).

 

He ends up working for Vintage, a woman who has spent her life studying the invaders and the things they left behind and, along the way, they also pick up an escaped prisoner as part of their ragtag group. Noon is a fell-witch, taking life from the living things around her, who had been imprisoned as part of the Winnowry, all the while claiming it was for everyone's good.

 

There were a couple of places in The Ninth Rain where there's a bit of a revelation and I really don't want to spoil them for anyone who's going to read this. I kind of saw the first one coming, at least partially (on the basis that it was all a little too good to be true) but they both provide excellent twists to the storyline. I look forward immensely to seeing where this goes, with the next book in the series (The Bitter Twins) due out in March 2018.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Age of Assassins - RJ Barker
Age of Assassins - R.J. Barker

First off, for those who care about those kind of things, Age of Assassins is the first book in a trilogy, with the next (Blood of Assassins) due out next year. Secondly, although I enjoyed this book quite a bit, I didn't love it as much as some people I know did and I've been trying to figure out just why that is - more on that later...

 

Age of Assassins is told from the point of view of Girton, a teenage boy with a clubfoot who just happens to be apprenticed to a female assassin called Merela. We first meet the two of them as they are sneaking into a castle to find out what they've been hired to do, only to discover that Merela has some personal history with the person who's hired them and that what they've been hired to do is not to kill someone but instead to keep someone from being killed. For that, Girton needs to infiltrate the castle as a member of minor nobility while he and Merela (disguised as a jester) try to figure out who the other assassin is (and ideally, who hired them). 

 

All this is set within a world where anyone possessing magic is ruthlessly hunted down and their blood used to try and stem the results of the magic wielded by a previous rogue sorcerer. I found the overall worldbuilding much more accomplished than the dynamics going on within the castle itself - the corrupt prince they've been hired to protect was just a bit too much of a moustache-twirling villain to be anything but one-dimensional and I couldn't see why exactly Girton and Merela should work that hard to keep him alive. Likewise, the moment a female stablehand is introduced as one of the few female characters Girton's age, it was pretty obvious she was there as (doomed) relationship fodder. 

 

And that, I think, along with a general lack of caring about teenage angst, was why Age of Assassins didn't quite work for me. Well thought-out overall worldbuilding let down by much more stereotypical relationship shenanigans closer to hand. Token female love interest who sees beyond Girton's disability - check. Character who is not who he seems - check. Trusting relationship that will probably come back to bite Girton in the next book - check. 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
Malice of Crows - Lila Bowen
Malice of Crows (The Shadow) - Lila Bowen

Malice of Crows is the third book in this series (and I assume the last of a trilogy?), following on from Wake of Vultures and Conspiracy of Ravens, both of which I really enjoyed.

 

Essentially they're focussed on the experiences of Rhett, who joined the Rangers after running from the care of his 'parents' and also discovered he has the ability to shapeshift into a giant bird, just one of his powers when it comes to fighting the monsters which surround him. In Conspiracy of Ravens, Rhett was up against a sorcerer called Trevisan who subsequently possessed the body of a young girl and went on the run - Malice of Crows follows on immediately from that book and details what happens next. 

 

Rhett's own past has always been more than a little mysterious, so more information comes to light in this volume, not to mention that there's also some degree of resolution around relationships for him. This book didn't feel quite as smoothly plotted as the previous two and just seemed to stop, with only minimal resolution, which was one of the reasons I gave Malice of Crows 4 stars when I gave the previous books 5. The other was the way in which the book ends, which felt unnecessarily cruel for Rhett given everything he's previously been through. 

Review
4 Stars
The Devourers - Indra Das
The Devourers - Indra Das

I have to confess, I'd been waiting for the price of this to drop a bit before I bought it, as everything I want to read (that the library can't supply me with) is apparently either not out in paperback till the distant future or horribly expensive. Is it just me or has the price of pre-release paperbacks gone up significantly?

 

Anyway, on to The Devourers, which I'd been wanting to read pretty much since I first heard about it. First published in India, the story is also set there, partly from the perspective of Alok - a professor of colonial history with a failed engagement in his past, Alok is approached by a mysterious stranger who has a bizarre story to tell and a series of diaries he wants to pay Alok to transcribe. 

 

The remainder of the book is written mostly from the perspective of one of our self-styled devourers of humanity, who calls himself Fenrir, and also from the point of view of Cyrah, the woman he has raped in an attempt to create new life. Fenrir and his kind, though they have control over their bodies in many ways, are unable to carry a baby to term and so (because he wants to be human, though he doesn't particularly understand what that means) he goes about it a different way. The act itself doesn't feel gratuitous and isn't described in detail but it still might mean this really isn't going to be the book for some some readers.

 

The Devourers takes a well-trodden path and visits it in a new way, though I'd have been interested in more about the rakshasa while this book mostly looks at the experiences of outsiders - Fenrir, his travel companions, and even Cyrah are all newcomers to India, while Cyrah's religion and social status as a woman alone sets her apart almost as much as the shapeshifters. Anyway, all in all an interesting book with some beautiful writing in it and something that makes me want to check out whatever comes next for the author...

Review
4 Stars
The Bear and the Nightingale
The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel - Katherine Arden

I get the feeling that The Bear and the Nightingale is one of those books which will either really work for you as a story or it will be just okay, depending on how familiar you are with Russian folklore and/or history. 

 

In classic fairytale style, the story starts with a small girl and her new step-mother, but Vasya is not just any girl and neither is her step-mother - both of them can see the supernatural creatures surrounding them (the domovoi who lives in the oven, for example) but while Vasya builds relationships with them, her step-mother Anna believes they are demons.

 

Vasya's father is the boyar, a local landowner living far from Moscow, who subsequently is sent a priest and icon-maker who is just a little too popular in the capital. The arrival of Konstantin, just as Vasya is getting to marriageable age and her father hopes she will settle down a little, leads to all sorts of problems with the balance between mundane and supernatural. Vasya herself is eminently likeable, strong-willed despite opposition and willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the people who are important to her safe, even in the face of supernatural forces. 

 

The series continues in The Girl in the Tower, which is due out next month - I'll definitely be picking that one up at some point in the near future, as Vasya is such a great main character. 

Review
3 Stars
Living with Ghosts - Kari Sperring
Living With Ghosts - Kari Sperring

I'd previously read and enjoyed this author's other book (The Grass King's Concubine) so when this one was on offer I thought I'd pick it up - any excuse to buy stand-alone books, though this then sat on my bookshelf for a while before I got around to it...

 

Anyway, on with Living With Ghosts. First off, this is a book written from multiple points of view, so if that annoys you then this book probably won't work for you - one of our characters is a magician/assassin-turned-prostitute who's now living and working far from home having failed his final test. Sadly for Gracielis, the woman who trained him has turned up as part of the embassy from his home country and is now manipulating him while also plotting to overthrow the monarchy of his adopted home. 

 

The title of the book comes from the fact that, as part of his training, Gracielis is able to see ghosts and is haunted by the ghost of a soldier who was involved in a duel he witnessed 6 years earlier. The problem is, the other duellist is now showing up as a ghost and its his appearance that is used as a demonstration that things are going wrong in the city - eventually there's a zombie-creating plague but things resolve themselves in the end. 

 

I liked it but I also got 90% of the way in and didn't really feel much urgency to find out what happened in the end, which is rarely a good sign. It's also 480 pages of densely-written mass market paperback fantasy set in pseudo-Europe with characters who could have fixed half their issues (and reduced the size of the book by a good 100 pages, I reckon) if they'd just actually have a conversation. Seriously, 'I shouldn't bother her with this' and 'he doesn't love me, otherwise he'd talk to me' is endearing the first couple of times but wearing if repeated too often. 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
Provenance - Ann Leckie
Provenance - Ann Leckie

After the runaway success of the previous trilogy, Provenance almost feels like the difficult second album in book form - I enjoyed it, so while I'll definitely be buying the paperback when it comes out next year  in the UK (yes, what is up with that?), but I guess those books were a very tough act to follow!

 

Anyway, in case you're wondering, Provenance is set pretty much at the same time that (over in Radchaai space, far away but not quite that far), the Presger are making noises about their treaty and a certain space station AI has declared itself to be human. Those events are mentioned in passing, so this stand-alone novel doesn't need you to have read Ann Leckie's other books to enjoy this one.

 

Our main character is Ingray, who has decided that the only way she can impress her adoptive mother is to pull off something audacious - the weakest part of Ingray's motivation, given how she says she feels about this relationship and her own later acts - in this case rescuing someone from life imprisonment. This book is set on Hwae, in a society where 'vestiges' are important, usually things that are associated with famous people and events, and the someone in question supposedly stole a whole load of them from his family. Except that the person whose rescue she pays for turns out to be a) possibly not the person she was supposed to be rescuing, and b) not actually a thief. 

 

Ingray's plan does, however, involve her with the Geck - a mysterious water-based culture who communicate with the outside world via odd, spider-shaped mechs - as well as a plot to overthrow the government of Hwae by means of a murder involving someone who is staying with Ingray's mother. It all works out in the end, however, with Ingray managing to impress her mother as planned, thwart the takeover of the government and also prevent a major diplomatic incident along the way. 

 

I don't think there's ever going to be anything Ann Leckie writes that I don't enjoy, but it did feel like I'd read some of this before (for example, instead of zany alien translator, see zany alien ambassador via spider mech). I also felt a bit short-changed with Ingray, as I didn't really care about what happened to her in the same way I felt about Breq and the others in the previous books. If anything, it was the supporting characters of Tic and Garat that I wanted to know more about, Tic in particular (if you'll pardon the semi-pun!), and their experiences. Anyway, I still enjoyed Provenance and look forward to seeing what comes next: fantasy, I believe, rather than science fiction? *rubs hands*

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3.5 Stars
The Tensorate novellas - JY Yang
The Black Tides of Heaven - JY Yang The Red Threads of Fortune (The Tensorate Series) - JY Yang

It's not often I pre-order stuff but I made an exception for this pair of novellas, The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune, by JY Yang. I've liked this writer's short fiction so I was interested to see what a slightly longer format would provide and wasn't disappointed, though I liked the first of the two novellas slightly more. The covers look great too, which makes the fact they're ebooks a little frustrating!

 

Both novellas are set in the world of the Tensorate, which is a place where people can manipulate energy to do all sorts of things (known as the Slack) and which is ruled by the mother of our two main characters. She's a distinctly ruthless individual, for example giving birth to Akeha and Mokoya in order to give them to the temple which had provided her with support during an attempted rebellion, in 'payment' for help received. After that, in The Black Tides of Heaven, she shows minimal interest in their welfare until Mokoya begins to demonstrate prophetic powers and the rest of this novella is the aftermath of that dynamic.

 

The Red Tides of Fortune is set a few years after the end of the previous novella, with Mokoya struggling to come to terms with the death of her daughter - despite her prophetic powers, she had been unable to see that incident coming and has now lost those powers, as well as being significantly physically affected by the same incident. Akeha and others have joined a would-be rebellion against The Way Things Are and Mokoya is also hunting a naga which threatens to destroy the city where her twin brother is currently living. 

 

Anyway, the world-building is something I liked very much about both these, including the use of gender terms - this is a world where people declare they are male or female when they feel certain about it, using they/them until that point. In the second novella, Mokoya spends some time trying to figure out her relationship with the power she thought she'd lost and also testing the boundaries of what she can do with the Slack. All in all, I enjoyed them and would very much like to read more set in this universe. 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Keeper of the Dawn - Dianna Gunn
Keeper of the Dawn - Dianna Gunn

When I first picked this up at WorldCon, the blurb and the good-looking cover were enough to make me think it would be my kind of thing, despite being a) a novella, which can be frustrating at times, and b) Young Adult, with all the possibilities for angst and being TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) that can include.

 

Anyway, our protagonist Lai is a teenager who has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother and become a priestess of the goddesses worshipped by her desert tribe. In order to achieve this, she has to go through various rituals, some martial in nature, and while she has significant chunks of thinking 'why can't everyone get to be a priestess?' that doesn't stop her from killing someone in her quest to get that position for herself. 

 

Unfortunately for Lai, the goddesses clearly have other plans for her and after she's unsuccessful, she runs off to a faraway country in order to turn her fighting skills into cash. While there, working for a particular insalubrious merchant, Lai hears rumours of another bunch of folks who worship the same goddesses her tribe did and decides to join them. This looks like a prime opportunity for her to find her place in the world, a.k.a. Plan B. 

 

In itself, the whole set-up of this novella is fairly robust but there are a couple of things that niggled with me: firstly, I didn't really care about any of the characters, including Lai, which makes the whole novella a bit of a hard sell. I think that if it had been a novel, I probably wouldn't have finished it. There's also a bit of a pacing issue towards the end: at one point Lai travels for months to get to where the eponymous Keepers of the Dawn are based, then has to go back home to fulfil a prophecy, only for her return journey to be summed up in a single sentence worrying about the reception she'll get from the girlfriend she left behind. 

 

So, in summary, a pleasant enough tale but not earth-shaking and one I'm fairly glad I picked up for free. 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Revenger - Alastair Reynolds
Revenger - Alastair Reynolds

Another book read courtesy of my local library system and their 45p reservations - while I finished this book, it was very much skimmed towards the end and there's no chance I'll bother with the eventual sequel (due out in 2019, I think?). Partway through, I was wondering if Revenger was supposed to be YA because there's usually a clue about the age of the protagonists - in this case late teens - but couldn't see anything on the cover or blurb that implied this. So, if you're looking to avoid teenage angst or impulsive decision making then this might not be the book for you. 

 

The basic premise is that a bunch of civilisations have risen and fallen, leading to the known universe being speckled with what are called 'baubles' - essentially caches of historic weaponry, technology and valuable goods, usually protected so they can only be accessed in particular times for a limited period. As a result, some people make a living doing salvage and it's this lifestyle that our protagonists, two teenage sisters, get themselves into when their father bankrupts the family firm. In this economy, teenagers have a particular value because they can utilise the technology employed to communicate over long distances and their ability to do this dwindles as they get older.

 

Anyway, after a couple of missions, the sisters are separated - one is captured by a pirate and the other eventually rescued but then dragged home under duress, all the while vowing to escape and rescue her sister. I was already having some issues with the pacing up to this point, as well as the flatness of pretty much all of the characterisation - the main villain, for example, refers to herself in the third person and there's plenty of (metaphorical) moustache-twirling to accompany it. This is the point where, in order to remove a tracking bracelet, the protagonist has her arm cut off and, although the technology exists to just sever the arm and then replace it intact, chooses to have a prosthetic instead. Not because of any special abilities, since I was waiting for it to be a piece of foreshadowing, but because it's pretty. *headdesk*

 

Anyway, I'm sure this book is someone's cup of tea but it wasn't quite mine. Folks looking for space opera without any kind of romantic sub-plot will probably like this a lot, though there is a pretty high body count too.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
The Stone Sky - NK Jemisin
The Stone Sky - N.K. Jemisin

One of the things I like to do with series, though it definitely has an impact on how much I get to read overall, is re-read the previous volumes before I dive into the new one - as a result, I've spent the past couple of weeks reading all 3 of the Broken Earth books (The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate) and discovering all over again just how darn good they are!

 

When The Stone Sky starts, our main character, Essun, is living in a community that reluctantly accepts orogenes as members though this is still partly because she's used her power to make it clear she won't accept anything else. Meanwhile, her daughter Nassun has ironically developed a father-daughter relationship with Schaffa, who was the Guardian responsible for helping make Essun the powerful orogene she is. Essun wants to save the world and Nassun wants to destroy it, both working in what they see as the best interests of the people they love. 

 

In this particular book, we also get our first storyline involving the origin of the stone eaters; it was mostly this that lost a star for me when I've given both previous volumes 5. I found those parts dragged a little and although otherwise this series hangs very well together as a whole, the sudden focus on them felt a little awkward. So, in that way, I found The Stone Sky the least engaging of the three books, though it's still substantially better written and more original than much of what's being published in the fantasy genre. 

 

 

Will The Stone Sky do the treble and pick up the Best Novel Hugo, as its two previous volumes have? I really don't know, but it's still very much a possibility!

 

Review
5 Stars
KJ Charles: Spectred Isle
Spectred Isle - KJ Charles

I was away on holiday when this dropped onto my ebook reader, as it had sounded like something that was right up my street and I'd pre-ordered it (not that common an occurence for me, given the amount I read!). What I didn't expect was to end up reading it in one sitting, doing the 'just one more chapter' thing and then needing to know how it finished. 

 

Spectred Isle is the first of a series, which is a torment in and of itself, set just after World War I and it's pretty much impossible to find a character in it who hasn't been affected by that conflict. Our main guys, Saul Lazenby and Randolph Glyde, had very different experiences but both suffered significant loss - Saul has lost his future career and good reputation because of a mistaken relationship, while Randolph's family has been destroyed, leaving him facing a future where he is literally the last of his line.

 

This is not quite our world, though, but one where a shadow war took place alongside the fighting in the trenches and Glyde and his family were active participants, tearing open barriers between our world and the 'other side'. Now, as a result, while Whitehall tries to pull magic practitioners into their bureaucracy, Glyde and his friends are left dealing with folklore and story come to horrible life. Saul, finding employment with an eccentric who has all sorts of odd ideas, keeps turning up in all the wrong places and then literally becomes part of what's going on. 

 

The only downside? Book 2 isn't out yet. This book definitely worked for me, really enjoyed it and am looking forward to seeing how this series works out.