The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really can't squeal more than I squealed the first time around, but I will add that it's STILL AS GOOD AS THE FIRST TIME. I love Alex! I love Cassie! And of course, the whole setup and denouement was fantastic!
I mean, just the whole horrific action scenes, the stark immediacy of being a victim of genocide, doing everything possible to save your people, including an ignorant invasion of Earth... I GET IT. The possibilities after that end, though... that's what sticks with me. Spoilers, of course, but it's the whole refugee status that kicks my butt. Never mind the outright funny elements, although they are great. At the core, this novel is extremely serious. And for the action, it's a ramp-up on the epic scale brought home to London.
I'm always looking forward to the Laundry Files novels, now, and with good reason.
These tales always breathe fresh life into old story concepts.
Mix a bunch of nightmare bureaucracy into a mass of Cthulhu Spy Fiction and add a memBrain of multiverses, massive geek humor, Pinky and Brains, and a truly clever take on vampirism/magus, but in this one, let's mix in a younger protagonist, the redoubtable 24 year old vampire math geek, Alex, and pretty spearhead of a nearly decimated alien invasion force who happen to be running for their lives from the Elder Gods, all of whom are willing to go to war with innocents for their ultimate survival (with England an the rest of humanity, please read,) and be a woman who just happens to be up in line for the rulership of the entire alien Host of Air and Darkness, full of eldritch magic and might.
Is Alex out of his league?
CASE NIGHTMARE RED, people. CASE NIGHTMARE RED.
I love this. It is sooooo damn fun. Okay, so I miss Bob and Mo a bit, and they're somewhere in the background, but Alex and Cass are soooooo damn cute together! Younger crowd. A little blood, a little war, a little mess-up with the Basilisk network that turns all security cameras into Medusa's Stare, *shiver*, and we've got an all-out conflict that's actually a real nightmare.
Is this fine to read as a standalone? Yes, it is. Is it scary for the crowd that has been reading all the novels and great novellas up to date? Yes, yes it is. Very much so. Every page is full of deliciously savvy tech, math, magic, myth, and wry, dry humor.
Fanboy is still squeeing. :) :)
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