So after many months of seeing only volume two (The Hidden Family) of this series in the library, finally they had number one (The Family Trade) as well. If you trawled through all my book reports last year you'll know I'm a fan of Mr Stross already, and I was interested to see what his fantasy novels were like.
The quick version is that they are fun, interesting and not really fantasy novels. Not in the way people normally mean that, anyhow. Sure, there are some people who have this one magic thing they can do (trivial spoiler: they can travel to an alternate Earth), but the style and subject matter comes across like... well, like Stross's SF novels. Implicit in that description is a real appreciation of them being written in clear, normal English, they are an appropriate length for the stories and there is not a single page long description of anyone's clothing.
The magic really just serves as a jumping off point for Stross to explore the effects it would have on a medieval world (the magic comes from there originally) and other effects and implications of it all. He has a number of cool ideas in these two books and I am looking forward to seeing how they pan out in the next few (his blog says there will be at least three more).
On top of this, there's an exciting thriller. Great stuff, keep them coming...