Not yet able to get my hands on Night and Silence but jonesing for more Seanan McGuire, I plumped for Indexing, a book that appears to have initially been written in serialised form in which fairytales meet the X-Files.
In a world where fairytales are constantly trying to force their way into real life, twisting people’s lives into forms that fit the narrative with often deadly results, it’s up to the ATI Management Bureau to step in before the ‘mimetic incursions’ can run amok. Each of the members of the ATI team have history with the narrative – Henry, the team leader, is a Snow White, which largely manifests through being a magnetic force for animals – bluebirds beat themselves to death against her window each morning in their efforts to try and help her dress – and the need to steer clear of applies. She has a spikey relationship with team member Sloane, quite naturally as Sloane is a wicked stepsister and hence often gets the urge to poison princesses (and who I basically pictured as Diaz from Brooklyn 99), their archivist comes straight from the Elves and the Shoemaker, and their newest apprentice – picked up in the opening story – is a Pied Piper.
The ATI team bump up against a number of mimetic incursions, including but not restricted to a Sleeping Beauty (hugely dangerous, capable of sending entire cities into extended sleep), Goldilocks, a Frog Prince, a Clever Fox, and a whole parade of other familiar characters and stories. But the incursions, never more frequent that once a month or so, have been ramping up lately, and it seems that not only is someone controlling the narrative but that they might just be on the inside of ATI.
As a sucker for anything fairytale, I loved the various takes on the more common tropes, even if McGuire could have done at times with a little more show and a little less tell (quite often, the characters will stand about explaining what’s going on to one another, something that shouldn’t be necessary for a bunch of seasoned agents but obviously needed to make sure the reader is following what’s going on). Sometimes the fact that this was originally serialised made for more repetition than was pleasurable (explaining who the agents were and what their archetype was got old quite quickly), and whilst everything leading up to it had been entertaining, the ending felt both rushed and a wee bit fudged.
That said, it was a very easy read that was devoured in a day with interesting takes on stories that are as familiar to me as my own face, and that has left me with a desire for more modern takes on the stories we all know so well.