I wanted to like this more than I actually did. It's good
, but I don't think it's up to the same standard as and The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue. Now that Bob is higher up the management chain, the petty bureaucratic annoyances that provided some of the humour in the earlier books is gone. The ever-present spectre of CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is invoked, but it seems to be the Big Bad lingering on the horizon. The actual nameless horror that Bob ends up dealing with here - or at least its minions - feel pretty tame. The threats didn't fill me with the subtle yet bleak dread the series has been so good at evoking so far.
Having said that, I do like the way that Charlie is evolving the Laundry itself, or rather, Bob's knowledge and understanding of it. It definitely feels like (in RPG terms) the characters are leveling up. There was a lot here that reminded me of Harry Connolly's Twenty Palaces series - I kept thinking of the creatures Schiller uses as predators
, and of Bob as Persephone's "wooden man."
If you like the earlier Laundry books, there's no guarantee that you will like the Twenty Palaces series, because the Twenty Palaces series is a lot darker than early Bob. But I reckon that if you like the way The Apocalypse Codex went, there's a much better chance you'll hit it off.