Book Review: Rivers of London Books 1-7

I’ve kinda fallen behind on the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch (at least as far as the video reviews are concerned), so it’s time to get caught up.

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Anime Review: Engage Kiss

Engage Kiss is one of the lighter fanservice series from the Summer 2022 season – there were much (*ahem*) harder shows (like Slave Harem in the Labyrinth of Another World – which was borderline smut – and also leaned into some of the grosser elements of the isekai genre) – but Engage Kiss was more palatable about it. Even more, A-1 Pictures paired some of that fan-service with some gorgeously animated fight scenes, making for a series that, while flawed, was really enjoyable to watch. Some spoilers below the cut

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Book Review: Amongst Our Weapons

Lies Sleeping, the seventh book in the Rivers of London series, left a lot of open questions about the world of the setting while it wrapped a bunch of the threads around the Faceless Man. Probably the biggest one was around the Sons of Weyland – a group of practitioners who were also powerful magical craftspeople – having made various battle staves, along with the magical wards in and around The Folly. On top of that – The October Man also built up some more groundwork for various magical practitioners and organizations outside of England. Well, Amongst Our Weapons decides to pick up both those threads and runs with them. There will be some minor spoilers below the cut.

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Bakemonogatari: Anime Review

Bakemonogatari is my first introduction to Nisioisin and to Shaft as an anime studio. I had tried to watch the show in fansubs when it first came out, as it hadn’t been licensed, and I remember being struck by the visuals of the series and the level of visual style – I could tell that the show was doing something – but I couldn’t tell yet, and I ultimately decided that I’d get around to it once the show had finished. And then I forgot about it entirely until this past year, when I decided it was time to finally get around to watching the damn thing – and I’m glad I finally have.

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Three of the cast members of Cast a Deadly Spell - including Fred Ward as H. P. Lovecraft

Cast a Deadly Spell: Film Review

Cast a Deadly Spell is interesting as a historical artifact. While the film wears the trappings of the Cthulhu mythos, with the Necronomicon being the focus of the plot, and the protagonist bearing the name of H. P. Lovecraft (though with a different first name than the spectacularly racist author), it has almost more in common with the Hardboiled Detective variety of Urban Fantasy that we now associate with books like the Harry Dresden series. It’s not by any stretch the first urban fantasy work – Mike Resnick’s John Justin Mallory novels and War for the Oaks pre-dates it, with Resnick’s series also being hard-boiled detective fiction. But by being a movie made for HBO, it provided the genre a level of visibility that it had never before seen. But is it good?

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Silent Mobius Vol. 9-12: Manga Review

The last 4 volumes of the Silent Mobius Manga are, in a lot of respects, representative of everything about the manga that works, and everything that really doesn’t. We have some truly spectacular action in these volumes, but also a reiteration of some of the more considerably cringy elements of the series. There will be spoilers for the ending below the cut.

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Silent Mobius Vol. 6-8: Manga Review

Volumes 6 through 8 of Silent Mobius is where the shit really hits the fan. For the past 5 volumes, the fight between the AMP and the Lucifer Hawk has been pretty conventional. The Lucifer Hawk launch a terror mission, AMP fights back. Starting lightly with volume 5, but more predominantly with 6-8, the Lucifer Hawks start directly taking the fight to AMP.

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The Epic Crush of Genie Lo: Book Review

There are some YA novels that I have read that feel like I’m reading an anime. This is, in part, because some of the light novels that have been adapted to anime were aimed for YA audiences. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is an YA novel that definitely fits that concept, though one with some very different and unique narrative hooks because of the point of view character and setting that make it really worth your while (and makes me wish it would get turned into an animated series).

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Silent Mobius Vol. 1-5: Manga Review

As part of this COVID-19 world, I’ve been trying to get through some of the manga titles on my reading list. One of the ones I’ve been working on is Kia Asamiya’s urban fantasy Cyberpunk opus, Silent Mobius.

(Note: For the purposes of this review I am reading the Viz Media release – the Udon release is incomplete, and the Manga Planet release hasn’t come out yet).

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False Value: Book Review

Book cover of False Value

When I finished reading Lies Sleeping, the seventh book in the Rivers of London series, I kind of wondered where the series would go from there. I had thought The October Man might point out the direction of the story’s progression, but I wasn’t exactly sure. Well, I was part right – in that the direction of the story’s progression was going to get into more international practitioners, just not those in Germany.

False Value involves Peter Grant getting involved in the tech sector. Earlier books had set up an idea where technology and magic couldn’t get along – this book sets up a situation where the two can coexist, though parasitically if not symbiotically. Spoilers will be below the cut.

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Rivers of London – Action at a Distance: Graphic Novel Review

In the Rivers of London series, there’s always been something of a gap between what Thomas Nightengale, The Folly’s “Gov”, was up to between the end of the Second World War and the start of the series. There’s an implication that he’s been involved in varying degrees with the Met, but not heavily – if he had, then the Met wouldn’t have had to come up with the procedures they did when Peter Grant started working out of The Met. The most recent (as of this writing) collected graphic novel in the series, Action at a Distance, helps to answer some of those questions, though not without a few problems of his own.

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The October Man: Book Review

The last book in the Peter Grant series of Urban Fantasy police procedurals wrapped up the end of the “Faceless Man” Arc, with the recurring antagonist of that series being taken down, while one of the members of Peter’s supporting cast who had turned to the Dark Side was now on the lam. In the wake of this, author Ben Aaronovitch has decided to, basically, explore a different chunk of this world with the novella The October Man, which moves the plot from the UK to Germany.

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Cropped excerpt of the cover of Midnight Riot

Peter Grant Novels Books # 1-7: Book Review

So, I’ve been behind on my reviews of the Peter Grant novels (having only done a review of the first book – released in the US as Midnight Riot and the second novel, Moon Over Soho), so I’m going to do something of a blanket review of the first 7 novels, which effectively make up one massive story arc, which I’m going to call “The Faceless Man Arc”.

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Book Review: Storm Front

Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series kicked off something of a new renaissance of Urban Fantasy. The genre had existed before – authors such as Emma Bull and Mercedes Lackey had written works in the genre, but what made Harry Dresden distinctive is how well it combined the Urban Fantasy genre with the hard-boiled detective novel. I had previously read Storm Front, and several of the later books, but hadn’t read any further books in a while. So, I figured now was as good a time as any to revisit the series beginning. Continue reading “Book Review: Storm Front”