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Some reviews make out that the underlying concept of this book ventures into previously unknown territory, which is not correct - the most obvious comparison being Ben Aaronovitch's "Rivers of London series". That said, the concept is sufficiently different that there can be no accusations of copycatting.
Overall, I enjoyed listening to this book and will buy the next in the series if there are any (which I hope that there are). The reading was done well.I liked the overall plot concept and the back-story and the device of the heroine's predecessor writing her informative letters worked well.
My major criticisms are thus: First, there several what I thought to be continuity errors, which I found irritating. For example, the heroine works for a super-secret, illuminati-esque organisation that has managed to stay secret for centuries, but one character almost immediately manages to track her down in about 20 minutes. Actually, the whole plotline involving that character had me shouting at the car speakers at one point because it just seemed so unlikely (but don't let that worry you too much, it's still a good story).
Second, some of the super-natural elements of the story are just a bit silly. The main ones work ok, but some of the people or events referred to in passing are just thrown in without any real thought appearing to have been given to whether they contribute towards a believable universe.
One of the secrets of great fantasy is that although the author can invent the rules, there must be rules and the story must stick to them. An attitude of "it's my world so I can do what I like" doesn't really work. This can be a particular problem, as JK Rowling discovered, if the author is hoping to produce a series, where throw-away gimmicks in early books can come back to bite the author on the bottom in the future.
Also, the limits of the heroine's own abilities seem to ebb and flow like an unpredictable tide, which is slightly distracting.
Third, the author makes a little bit too much use of "deus ex machina". If the heroine finds herself imperilled by a giant fire-breathing moth (which she doesn't) then the next minion that comes along would just happen to have the ability to spit asbestos mothballs, etc. Remember the old James Bond films, where you just knew that every gadget given to him by Q was going to be exactly the right tool to get him out of just one sticky situation, just once? A bit like that, but in reverse.
In part, I get the feeling that the author has not quite decided upon his target audience. Some of the little things that bugged me would not really matter if the book is aimed mostly at children (who are less sophisticated or nit-picky, dependent upon your viewpoint, than I am in my 40s) but some of the concepts hinted at are quite adult.
In summary, I enjoyed the book, I will follow the series and recommend it to others - but I hope the author settles down to give a bit more attention to his world-building in the future.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
did not know what to expect from this as not my usually choice but have been totally immersed and thoroughly intrigued. The narration is superb and brings to life a book that has really cheered up a miserable cold january week.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I've seen this book described as M15 for wizards but I think it might be more X-Men for bureaucrats. That said, I really loved it and found it highly entertaining. Can't wait for the next book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is one of the best books I've ever read! And that's from someone that reads as an Olympic sport. It gripped me from the first sentence , " the body you are wearing used to be mine", till the very last. The story is very different but utterly compelling. It's a great story, extremely well read and totally captivating. I simply can't recommend it highly enough! Miss it at your peril!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful