Supra-doings genre review 3 — “In Dark Service”

Sometime ago I detected the increasing popularity of a comparatively new genre in the fantasy/SciFi field. I referred to it, somewhat unimaginatively, as ‘Supra-doings in the real world’.  It isn’t really, After all it is fiction, which by definition isn’t real, but it isn’t Batman & Robin novelized either.

This book doesn’t really qualify as supra-doings so much as derring-doings but it’s by a writer I’ve enjoyed previously. Comments welcome, even if you haven’t read the book.

In Dark ServiceIn Dark Service by Stephen Hunt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m tempted to use words like trope, nous or meme in this review but then I’d have to look them up. Yes, it’s British, although Hunt was born in Canada and does the occasional con north of the 49th. I haven’t met him but I have read his steampunk novels set in the Kingdom of Jackals. This isn’t on a par with any of them but it’s not bad.
Arguments could be made that is one of the most cynical fantasies ever. And there are apparently two more to come in this series. It’s like he sat down with his agent or Gollancz, his latest publisher, and together they drew up a list of semi-standard characters, hooks and motifs, chose a few that haven’t been totally overused, at least in their minds, and then went to town on them.
Funnily enough it mostly works. Unless, that is, it was just summer and a bench off the beach suited the material. It is massive, however, and there are some massive bloopers that almost spoil the read. They aren’t an abundance of the usual typos either. No, these are characters’ names getting mixed up or, in no less than (at least) three cases, changing in mid book. Plus, the badge or bible in the breast pocket, which a master marksman couldn’t help but hit because he always aims for the heart, was a mite much, I have to say.
Do a few Jakelians prior to picking up “In Dark Service” is my best advice. But keep in mind next time a beach read beckons.

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