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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 10 February 2015
I love the Laundry series (as well as the rest of the Stross output), and this is another excellent addition.

If you're new to the Laundry books, I don't recommend starting this late in the series. My first (and still my favourite - just) was Jennifer Morgue. It's a great introduction to the heady mix of secret government bureaucracies, demonology, Cthulu, and the perils of studying Computer Science without a functioning containment pentagram.
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VINE VOICEon 20 July 2014
I've enjoyed the Laundry files, but it think it's getting close to the time to wrap it up now. This particular volume has a big ending in store, and a very irritating way of putting all the footnotes at the end of the Kindle edition rather than on the page you're reading.
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on 12 July 2014
A rollicking read, which at once manages to be of the moment, as well as providing a credible to her view of the world filled with demons. It's fun to read, and the characters are believable and warm.
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on 5 August 2015
I like the Laundry series but the frequent recaps is beginning to irritate and the continual reference to previous stories does nothing to help.It's like he's writing for the sort of TV series that starts with 'previously on.....' and ends with a preview of the next installment. It starts well and really picks up near the end, but seriously the good stuff would make a short story.
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on 4 July 2014
Strong pace, lots going on, a real page turner. I read it quickly and thoroughly enjoyed it. Some flaws cause it to drop a star.

1. The Laundry series is unfortunately getting a bit heavy in exposition. All the major recurring plot points are explained... again... and it just feels in some respects dumbed down for the new reader. I'd expect a tougher learning curve in the first book of a series, never mind the fifth. I guess the publisher insists, but it really hurts re-reading the series.

2. The book also suffers from Charles Stross' trademark weak ending. All his books are real page turners with complex, multi-layered plots, that suck you into which ever of his worlds your reading about, but it all tends to stop mid flow at the end. Real shame since almost everything else in his books is always meticulous.

3. In this one he felt the plot was so complex that there are several expositions explaining what's going on. Again, I blame the publisher, not trusting people to follow stuff.

But still, 4 stars. Gripping read, right up to the (disappointing) ending.
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on 22 February 2015
This book is very funny and very clever . I recommend all the laundry novels because they are totally unique. If you have a knowledge in computing then so much more the fun. If you hate the glut of vampire model teenage crap then even better
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on 28 July 2014
The Rhesus Chart starts off strong, but loses its way near the end. The main characters make some very questionable decisions in the last few chapters in order for the author to achieve his desired ending, making the final scenario seem somewhat forced. It feels like the author wrote himself into a bit of a corner, could only get out by making the protagonist forget basic security procedures.

Aside from that, the novel was entertaining and a good read, and with smarter ending would have easily gotten five stars. It's a reasonable addition to the Laundry series, though not the best book in the collection.
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on 11 August 2014
This is as consistently good as the others in the series. I love Stross - and this maintains that tightrope walk between humour and darkness that defines all the other books in the series. Good to know he hasn't lost his touch with this one.
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on 9 July 2014
As a fan of the Laundry series, I pre-ordered this title as soon as I became aware of it. However, as I started the read the novel, I quickly realised that I just wasn't engaging with it as I had the other books. There are still the laconic asides and the mockery of the civil service and the geekery that we love, but the entire book felt a little forced; as if being written from a series of disparate concepts pulled together with a vague theme.

Perhaps the novel suffered somewhat at the editorial process or perhaps I just didn't find the concept compelling, but I rate this book as the weakest in the series so far.
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on 18 October 2014
I intentionally waited to read this latest offering from Mr Stross, so I had the time to read it in one. I confess to being a bit biased as I am a fan of the series. Its hard to maintain a mind blowing pace in a series of books but Charles has done a pretty good job. Some comments on here suggest its not as good as earlier Laundry novels, my view is that this book is very very good, but not blow your socks of amazing. Am I disappointed ? No!. I don't need the continual stimulation of fast paced action or war and peace told in 3 easy to swallow exciting chapters. Some spoilers.... We get to see the affects on Bob and his wife Mo as the stress and unique challenges affect their everyday life. Its a no win situation made harder by the machinations of previously hidden horrors continuing the task of separating humanity's soul from its body (often assisted by the more significant evil that is Human Resources and office politics).
Vampires of course don't exist, but Mr Stross creates a world in which such creatures can exist within the framework of tentacled other realities we have become familiar with. Interview with a vampire or Buffy this is not, its much more real and putting myself at risk of ridicule here its more believable.
You really do need to have read the previous books to get the best from this, if you haven't then go start your induction with 'The Atrocity Archives' and work up from there.
Historically I avoid anything with formulaic vampires, unicorns, dragons, orcs or people called nzxcwebah wielding the sacred staff of whogivesacrap. I normally go for deep thinking space opera (and still do its great), I think they call it 'hard' sci-fi these days as written by the likes of Peter F Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, David Brin etc. For me sci fi however fantastic needs to at least not be impossibly implausible, intergalactic spaceships one day could be a reality.........however there is a genre I have been missing out on. The Laundry Files are for me an Urban Fantasy that is eminently palatable because it justifies itself in a convincing way, using high order mathematics (implied, not detailed don't panic) that reads as a scientific fact. I would say its close to as plausible as intergalactic spaceships so fair play. If you have ever read any of Ben Aaronavitch Rivers of London series then you will love these books. It shares a similar theme.
I recommend this book very highly, not quite 5 stars but close.
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