Book Review: The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files Book 1)

atrocity archives

Title: The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files Book 1)

Author: Charles Stross audiobook: narrated by Gideon Emery

Category: horror, science fiction, spy thriller, Lovecraftian

The ideas in The Atrocity Archives are fabulous. What if advanced mathematics allowed us to do what was commonly referred to as magic and allowed us to open gates to other dimensions and contact demons? I’m not overly knowledgeable in IT or advanced mathematics but the ideas presented in the book actually sounded plausible.

One thing that detracted from this book was the long blocks of explanation. Sometimes I felt that author was using Bob Howard’s conversation with the female lead, Mo, as a way to get all of the basic information out of the way in order to progress the plot.

There were some creepy elements in the book. I loved the description of someone being possessed by a demon as having “worms in their eyes.” Another scary element was when Howard had to get into deep-sea diving gear to jump into another dimension. Without an oxygen tank and protective gear, he would die. It was truly alien and unsettling thought. I get a little sick of the overused “occult Nazi bad guy” trope. However, the rest of the book was so good that I will forgive this.

The dry British comedy offsets the horror. People that have worked in an office will probably nod their heads at the bureaucracy and middle management politics found in the Laundry Files. Howard isn’t your typical hero; he is just an IT geek bumbling around and occasionally getting things right.

For all of the complex ideas expressed in The Atrocity Archives, the underlying story is very simple: boy meets girls, boy saves girl from becoming a human sacrifice, boy wins girls heart doing so.

I bought the e-book and audio. I ended up loving the narrator’s voice so much that I stopped reading the book. The narration by Gideon Emery was stellar. I would listen to this man read the phone book. He was able to give each character emotion and personality. I love his British and Scottish accents.

Overall this was a good read/listen!

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