The “Laundry” is Britain’s super-secret agency devoted to protecting the realm from the supernatural horrors that menace it. Now Bob Howard, Laundry agent, must travel to the quiet English countryside to deal with an outbreak of one of the worst horrors imaginable. For, as it turns out, unicorns are real. They’re also ravenous killers from beyond spacetime…
“Americans think we Brits drink tea because we’re polite and genteel or something, whereas we really drink it because it’s a stimulant and it’s hot enough to sterilize cholera bacteria.”
What a pleasant surprise! Lovecraftian horror at it’s finest with a wonderful dash of humor to boot. I’m relatively new to the science fiction genre, and I had never actually heard of Charles Stross nor did I know that this little novella was part of a series until after I had picked it up. Equoid is a stand alone story it can be read easily without having read any of the other books in the series.
I loved the mix of old Lovecraftian horror in a modern setting. Bob is a likable protagonist and the story stayed surprisingly lighthearted despite the seriously dark and creepy subject matter. Equoid takes the classically pure unicorn from traditional fantasy and transforms it into a terrifying creature of nightmares. This re-imagining of the unicorn is definitely not for the faint of heart and I have to note some extreme trigger warnings.
The story was fantastic and I loved all the little twists and turns as it progressed. Despite the fact that at the end it is pretty clear how the rest of the story plays out, it drove me batty that it is left somewhat ambiguous and I wished that the ending was better developed, it felt extremely rushed. The book left me wanting more and really piqued my interest in The Laundry Files. I will definitely be looking more into the series in the future.
Strengths: Creepy unicorns, great story and protagonist
Weaknesses: Too short, honestly wish it was a full length novel
Warnings: Tentacle rape, graphic violence, child abuse