This book is set in the world of The Laundry Files and is a spinoff. I love this series – see my reviews of The Fuller Memorandum and The Apocalypse Codex. So you don’t need to have read any of the former books, as the character cast is completely different – though the scenario where an ancient monster is currently in charge at No. 10 Downing Street, still applies…
BLURB: In a world where magic has gone mainstream, a policewoman and a group of petty criminals are pulled into a heist to find a forbidden book of spells that should never be opened.
A new adventure begins in the world of the Laundry Files.
REVIEW: I’d wanted to get right up to date with The Laundry Files series, thinking that this book was also set within that world and that I’d need to know what was going on. In the event I didn’t – but that meant I read two of Stross’ books back to back, which is something I generally avoid doing.
Therefore, I found it a tad difficult to initially get into this one – the world is a bit bleak and grungy and the protagonists, although sympathetic and well written, were clearly very much the underdogs. While there was humour, it came from the snark between the Imp’s ragtag band of misfits – which I didn’t initially find as appealing as Bob Howard’s magnificently dry delivery. However, they did grow on me and as the first major action scene unspooled, there were some very funny moments in amongst all the tension and danger, which I thoroughly appreciated.
Eve is a difficult character to initially bond with – she is an assistant to one of most truly horrible antagonists I’ve met for quite a while. And therefore, has to also become unpleasant – so I didn’t appreciate how much of a victim she actually was until well into the book. There was a particular bonding moment when I had a lump in my throat when reading about a scene with her parents – it was beautifully handled.
In amongst Rupert Bigge’s scramble to the top and Imp and his little gang trying to eke a living while illegally squatting in what used to be his old family home – there are also some lovely touches of magic. The time-travelling scenes back to Whitechapel Road, back in the Victorian era were genuinely creepy and vividly depicted. I loved the way the narrative played out and very much hope we get to see more of Imp, Game Boy, Del, Doc and Wendy – and of course, Eve – in future adventures. This is a cracking start to a new series that is set in contemporary Britain, where the monsters are in charge…
Highly recommended for SFF fans, who enjoy their urban fantasy with a sardonic twist and something a bit different. You don’t need to read The Laundry Files to enjoy this one. While I obtained an arc of Dead Lies Dreaming via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
Stross is an author I’ve been wanting to read but never have. This might be a good place to start😁 Thanks for sharing!
Oh yes, though if you prefer a really good fantasy series – his Merchant Princes portal fantasy has the most brilliant start – I want to continue with it at some stage:))
You are indeed on a Stross roll! 🙂
I will have to sample some of his writing one of these days…
Yes! It’s all very well requesting books in a series I’ve read – but I thought I’d need to catch up. And I didn’t!!! But I’ve thorougly enjoyed the process of catching up with The Laundry Files, anyway, so it was a win-win:))
“set in contemporary Britain, where the monsters are in charge…” That line of your review really piqued my interest. This definitely sounds like a great start to the series. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Oh yes! I was really shocked when this development occurred in The Laundry Files – and I’m fascinated to see what Stross does in the spinoff with this dynamic.
I’ve always fancied the Laundry Files but have no idea where to begin.
The first book is The Atrocity Archives – Bob Howard is the MC and it started out as James Bond meeting Lovecraftian monsters… The earlier books are also very funny. It’s worth giving them a whirl – the humour is very Brit which is always a bonus.