The October Man (2019, Gollancz) 4 stars

With this long new novella, bestselling author Ben Aaronovitch has crafted yet another wickedly funny …

Review of 'The October Man' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

A great little novella that surprisingly manages to come across as authentically German and also funny and riveting at the same time. Apart from a very few instances where it sounds a bit weird, the book passes the native speaker test - and those instances are when it could really be Amtsdeutsch (Umkreis-Magieerfassung).

Tobias Winter (kudos for his hometown!) does come across as a bit blander than Peter Grant, but the more understated humour is a nice change of pace to Peter's near-constant spiderman antics. Also that gives the other characters more chance to shine, especially Tobi's (connection probably intended) mundane liaison Vanessa Sommer, making The October Man more of an ensemble piece that's closer to the latest novels than the early ones. What's also nice is the focus on the four female main characters - lots of agency there and a big change in depiction from the early novels.

The also lore gets expanded in interesting ways, both concerning Germany and magical history on the whole. Though some parts of the German history are, of course, rather horrific. We do get a Roman connection too - though Tobias Winter is less of an archaeology fanboy.

On the whole, the novella may not be above a 4.5 but it convinces where The Furthest Station falls flat. There are only 40 pages more, but they are about the case and the local colour and not about character interactions that should logically happen at that time, but have little bearing on the action. The case doesn't have a perfectly satisfying conclusion, but it's logical and not too far-fetched for the universe. What's more important is the way we're getting there.