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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated
Charles Darwin
Progress: 152/346 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 359/700 pages
Plasma physics
R.A. Cairns
Progress: 18/244 pages
Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics)
Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad
Progress: 142/272 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 108/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 76/448 pages
Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being
Ted Hughes
Progress: 471/517 pages
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages

Storm Front, Jim Butcher

Storm Front  - Jim Butcher

Philip Marlowe pastiche mixed with what the author himself says is a hodge-podge of genuine magical practices mixed together. This is unfortunate because hard-boiled detectives are not terribly interesting these days unless they bring something new to the game. It was obvious that the new thing was meant to be the magic, but in turn that brings nothing interesting either through neither being an original take on how it could work, nor a detailed exploration of what if some genuine belief system really worked. The mystery also had predictable elements. The saving grace was the protracted denouement that dispensed with the wise-cracks and got on with an exciting show-down.

 

This is a debut novel and I've been told Butcher improves (variously between books 4 and 7 of this series) which is projected to last for 20 volumes. I think it's more than 3/4 of the way there already. My feeling is that the climax of this book made up for a lot of the previous sins and I would definitely read more, though I'm inclined to try one of his other series to see if he really has got better with practice. On this showing, Malcolm Pryce's Louis Knight series is a better modern pastiche (or send-up) of the hard-boiled detective genre and Stross's Laundry Files or Lukyanenko's Watch series are both hugely more original urban fantasies.