Bookburners: “Man About Town” by Andrea Phillips. Season four, episode 4.
So… what now? The big plot arc of the last few weeks has been resolved, and Team Three doesn’t have any pressing goals. I mean, besides the general, “save the world” thing, which it’s hard to come up with a concrete plan for.
Oh, and of course, from here on out there will be spoilers for previous episodes of Bookburners, a serialized urban fantasy novel created by Max Gladstone.
“Man About Town” focuses on Liam, who I do think has received the short end of the stick this season. Everyone else has a clear character arc developing… but what about Liam? His past has been dealt with. He’s growing more accustomed to magic, but how’s he handling everything that’s going down? “Man About Town” shows us that Liam expects others in the team to take the lead and provide direction. Only, at the moment they don’t have a direction, and when he tries talking to Sal about it, her response is basically, “Get out of my hair and take some initiative.”
Which leads to one of the more interesting parts of the episode: London itself. As you probably remember, at the end of the last season, London became Ground Zero for the largest magical incursion the world has ever seen. London has been fundamentally changed as a result, and there’s no hiding magic from the people who live there.
This episode opens with a documentary filmmaker who’s trying to capture what the public has dubbed Weird London. Of course, she can’t understand why her cameraman keeps screwing up and not getting the footage correctly (even if people know weird stuff is going down, they still have no to little idea about magic itself). I’ve found this exposure of the secret world of magic to the general, mundane world so fascinating, and this is an episode where you really get to see how the world is changing, from everyday people dealing with magical mutations to a growing prejudice against all those affected by magic. Honestly, I predict that will be a large plot thread growing forward. When people are scared of something, they look for other people to blame, and those with mutations caused by magic are obviously “different.”
While there’re hints at future plot lines, “Man About Town” is a quieter story, focusing on the characters and world. It’s primarily focused on Liam, having him acting individually and discovering other ways to help people deal with magic. However, there is another twist as well, one that’s frighteningly important… but not something I can reveal without spoilers.
I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.