A young witch and an aspiring super scientist try to survive childhood and save the world.
There’s no getting around it, this feels like an excellent novella stretched into an OK novel.
A member of the filth finds his calling as the police’s newest, and nearly only, wizard.
Peter Grant is not your typical urban fantasy protagonist. For starters he’s a cop, and an extremely junior one at that. More importantly, at the beginning of the series, not a very good cop: better than a hanger, but lacking in the instincts and discipline that would make him stand out. He’s also black, which matter less then it might have in the past, but certainly carries varying degrees of baggage in the Police, London, and England respectively.
Now we get to the category where I can actually seem vaguely competent because I’ve read most of them before. As you would hope, this is an extremely strong category, and my only regret is that I didn’t have time to read more books in these series.
Borderline is an absolutely brilliant book about mental illness. Millie, our protagonist, suffers from borderline personality disorder, and Baker finds a delicate balance between showing and telling. This draws the reader into a character who knows why they do the things they do, but are only sometimes able to stop themselves. The details and the asides are so real, from mindfulness lessons to therapy, that I was unsurprised to see the author had personal familiarity with such conditions.
I did not like the last laundry book, the Annihilation Score. The previous laundry files entries were an ungodly hybrid of espionage, Cthulhu, and bureaucracy; a series where a character was as likely to save the world from tentacled horrors as be disciplined for not filling out leave forms correctly. The last book was a logical continuation, but swapped the espionage for super-heroics, and in doing so, lost some of its scrappy charm.
Urban fantasy is a favourite genre of mine – what if there was magic and monsters in our world peeking around the corners? This can be hidden by Government conspiracies (Laundry files, Chequery), monsters on the fringes (Dresden, Otherworld), or a world like ours transformed (Sookie Stackhouse, The Hollows). It has a strong overlap with the paranormal romance genre, but most often delves into the realm of the procedural; be it PI’s, government agencies, or bounty hunters.