Amongst Our Weapons (Rivers of London #9), by Ben Aaronovitch
Book Review/ 14. May 2022

Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch My rating: 2 of 5 stars Finally! I’m free of this book! I used to really like this world and its rather unique inhabitants as well as the stories Ben Aaronovitch so expertly told us.This time around, though, I was bored by the lacklustre story at the centre of “Amongst Our Weapons”: An “Angel of Death” is killing the owners of some obscure rings with Lesley being on the hunt for said rings. Peter does his best to prevent further deaths. Through 80% of this instalment in the series, I only read it in bed because it served as a perfect sleeping drug. The abysmal pacing, being told about Beverly’s pregnancy (mostly referred to as “the bulge” which felt derogatory even though it most certainly wasn’t meant like that), quite a few encounters with the culprit but hardly any progress until the very end – it all made for a veritable snoozefest. Nightingale is mostly around and yet feels strangely absent – he doesn’t have much of a role at all. Fortunately, there were a few redeeming moments: Peter refuses to lay a trap to just plain kill the culprit but looks for a…

The House in the Cerulean Sea, by T.J. Klune
Book Review/ 15. April 2022

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune My rating: 5 of 5 stars »We are who we are not because of our birthright, but because of what we choose to do in this life. It cannot be boiled down to black and white. Not when there is so much in between. You cannot say something is moral or immoral without understanding the nuances behind it.”« From a world obviously different from ours (magic and magical beings exist there!) but closely related to ours, in T.J. Klune’s “The House in the Cerulean Sea” we are told a modern fairy tale about an orphanage and its inhabitants. Linus Baker, a caseworker of the “Department in Charge Of Magical Youth” is charged to investigate an orphanage under the wings of Arthur Parnassus who is overseeing the well-being of six especially dangerous orphaned children – one of them being the devil’s child! What Linus discovers, though, is completely different from what he expected… First and foremost this is a book about kindness and love. There isn’t much “action” because this is a book that lives from the loves it exudes: There is the “master” of the house, Arthur, who is much more…

Favours (Alex Verus #6.1), by Benedict Jacka
Book Review/ 26. February 2022

Favours by Benedict Jacka My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is a short story told from Sonder’s perspective, primarily featuring him and Caldera. Alex is only mentioned in passing.Nevertheless, this short story definitely makes you feel right at home back in the Verus universe. I never really liked either Sonder or Caldera and both their behaviours here just firmly cement this antipathy. Sonder is opportunistic and primarily worries about his future, whereas Caldera takes out her frustration on both Sonder and Anne whom the former pressures into service. Knowing the events in ”Risen” I was able to mentally lean back and enjoy the show. Four out of five stars for a surprisingly good story. View all my reviews

Traditions, by Michael J. Sullivan
Book Review/ 6. February 2022

Traditions by Michael J. Sullivan My rating: 3 of 5 stars What a curious coincidence! Immediately after finishing “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” I picked up “Traditions”. Written in Michael’s world of Elan, it features Annie, a girl who’s about to be sacrificed to a monster for the continued well-being of her village.Presented by her boyfriend with an opportunity to flee together, she rejects his plan but decides not to play by the age-old rules but to try and determine her own fate. Thus, she walks up to the lair of the monster and confronts it. The monster, an old, basically invalid dragon tries to talk her out of killing him by presenting the possible catastrophic consequences if it becomes known that the dragon “protecting” the village is gone. That all the sacrifices for a very long time have been for nought. In contrast to the people of Omelas, Annie decides not to play by the rules: She does not accept the potential consequences as a given. She does not sacrifice herself for the greater good. Instead, she changes the rules and when she leaves the cave, a new dawn is rising. Let’s not accept rules just because…

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Book Review/ 6. February 2022

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin My rating: 2 of 5 stars The premise of this short story is simple: Omelas, a radiant city of happiness, has built its riches upon the suffering of a single child. Every citizen knows of the child and many visit it to witness its suffering. There are basically three options according to Le Guin: – Walk away and live your life, knowing your happiness depends on the misery of an innocent child. – Walk away from Omelas; leave, never to come back. – Rescue the child – but that doesn’t happen. According to Le Guin’s afterword those are the only options because those are the rules: »You can only play a game — chess, soccer, parable — if you follow the rules.« And that’s where I say she’s wrong: We abide by the “rules” because we want to. We allow the rules to restrict what we do. We choose to follow the rules – but we don’t have to! In the face of developing countries being ravaged by COVID-19 like we’d never tolerate it here, we can tell Bill Gates that his stance on not waiving intellectual property…