Ben Aaronovitch’s Amongst Our Weapons is the latest Peter Grant book. My notes on it say, “good, familiar,” and honestly I don’t have much else to add to that. It’s the ninth book in a series, and it’s not descended into awfulness. Recommended for those who’ve been liking the series, but if you dropped out because it got too samey, this won’t change your mind (even if it does seem to be starting a new arc).

T. Kingfisher’s Nettle and Bone is not more of the same. I thought it would be a spiritual sequel to The Twisted Ones and The Hollow Places, another “woman in an isolated rural place encounters a supernatural horror world based on early twencen literature” novel. But nope! It’s basically got a fairytale plot, with princesses and impossible tasks and fairy godmothers, except told in quest fantasy style. The result works well; there’s plenty of substance and stylistically it manages to range between humorous and grim while maintaining tonal coherence. Recommended.

TJ Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea also has a kind of fairytale element to it, except… not a fairytale exactly, but a children’s book? It’s about a guy who works at a dystopian bureaucratic organization, and then is assigned to check in on the titular house, which is full of supernatural children who have made a kind of family of themselves. Stylistically, it reminds me of any number of books I read as a kid, except that I literally can’t remember what any of them were.

But like… the setting is exaggerated and simplified, the protagonist is a decent person who speaks very simply and groundedly (sort of an Arthur Dent sort without the archness), there’s a character who will say wise and insightful things, there are puckish kids who kindasorta get into trouble but it’s all in good fun and never too serious, that sort of thing. Even if I can’t name the things I’m thinking of, the takeaway is that if this had been a book I’d read in elementary school (which probably would have required it to be a bit shorter), it would have fit right in. Written for adults, the style is enjoyable. It’s very much in the cozy style (a blurb on one of Klune’s other books describes it as “a warm hug of a book,” and that’s not a bad description here, either); recommended for those who are looking for something light and sweet.


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