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The Annihilation Score
by Charles Stross
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I probably shouldn't have jumped directly from the first book to the sixth, but it was on the shelf in the library and I was helpless.
The Annihilation Score takes a bit of a different take from the previous five books, shifting the viewpoint from the previous hero* Bob to his wife Mo.
Previously, Mo had been one of my favorite characters in the series. She's just mysterious enough that she's interesting, coming in to save the day with a truly terrifying violin. Unfortunately, the more I know about her, the less I care.
The basic idea is interesting enough. Basically, as the world careens towards madness, magic is becoming more prevalent. But people don't believe in magic anymore, they believe in superheroes. One thing leads to another and Mo ends up leading a mostly publicly known super-hero task force. Much as The Rhesus Chart, despite the incoming danger, this feels like a de-escalation from the first four books.
One problem that annoyed me throughout the book was the relationship between Bob and Mo. I get it, they've been through Hell (literally) and they're each dealing with their own demons (again, literally), but I don't really understand their reactions to it. It feels more like Stross needed to get Bob out of the picture. So it goes.
Overall, I miss Bob. I miss Mo as a secondary character. I still enjoyed this more than enough to continue the series when the next comes out.
* For some definitions of hero.
I am 75% through this book and the only reason I am aiming to finish it is not to miss anything when starting the next book.
Dominic is the lead character in this book and I believe it is not written as well as the previous books neither Dominic has enough character development to be suddenly put into a chain of event as this book presents.
The second major difference between this book and the prior ones is the way that narrative is weaving. Through multiple layers rather than having the simple organization and structure of the previous books.
This plot has definitely had potential to be one of the best books of the series if it was following the similar organization of the previous books and had enough character development for Dominic.
It's Mo's turn to be the protagonist. Nice to have someone other than Bob's perspective (including on Bob), and more details about the white violin was interesting. The climax, while suitably dramatic, didn't deliver significant surprises.
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Wikipedia in English (3)
Dominique O'Brien--her friends call her Mo--lives a curious double life with her husband, Bob Howard. To the average civilian, they're boring middle-aged civil servants. But within the labyrinthian secret circles of Her Majesty's government, they're operatives working for the nation's occult security service known as the Laundry, charged with defending Britain against dark supernatural forces threatening humanity. Mo's latest assignment is assisting the police in containing an unusual outbreak: ordinary citizens suddenly imbued with extraordinary abilities of the super-powered kind. Unfortunately these people prefer playing super-pranks instead of super-heroics. The Mayor of London being levitated by a dumpy man in Trafalgar Square would normally be a source of shared amusement for Mo and Bob, but they're currently separated because something's come between them--something evil. An antique violin, an Erich Zann original, made of human white bone, was designed to produce music capable of slaughtering demons. Mo is the custodian of this unholy instrument. It invades her dreams and yearns for the blood of her colleagues--and her husband. And despite Mo's proficiency as a world class violinist, it cannot be controlled.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.92Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 2000-
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