Bookburners created by Max Gladstone. ★★★★
Bookburners is a new story from Serial Box, a service that aims to bring the serial story into the 21st century. Thus Bookburners is really a collection of sixteen “episodes,” each with its own plot arc, akin to a TV series.
Sal Brooks is an ordinary New York City detective with a younger brother who dabbles in the occult. When her brother gets in over his head, Sal is drawn into the world of the supernatural. She soon joins the Bookburners – a secret Vatican team that acquires and locks down books with the ability to bring demonic forces into our world. They are all that stand between humanity and otherworldly forces.
I picked up Bookburners because of Max Gladstone. I’m a huge fan of his and have loved everything he’s written. However, with the format of Serial Box, there are multiple writers writing, each of whom tackle different episodes. While this has the possibility of creating jarring changes in narrative style, it worked very well for Bookburners. The collaboration felt seamless, and I enjoyed every single one of the episodes. While I’m not familiar with the other authors who worked on the series, I think I see some of Gladstone’s influence when it comes to the demons.
Sal Brooks joins Team Three of the Vatican’s black ops. Team One is a military unit who goes in to subdue out of control situations. Team Two runs PR, misdirection, and exorcisms. Team Three seeks out books with the potential to open a gateway to our world and let demons loose and stores them safely into a secret archive. The team is a motley collection of characters who we gradually get to know over the course of the season. I really liked all of the characters but my favorites were probably the priest who leads the team and Grace, the martial arts powerhouse with a mysterious backstory. I particularly liked Grace and Sal’s growing friendship.
The beginning of the season felt more episodic, but just wait. There is definitely an overarching story line to Bookburners. The episodes built to a thrilling conclusion that I wouldn’t have expected. While this season finishes its own a story arc, there is plenty of room left open for season two. I can’t wait!
I received an ARC of Bookburners from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review.