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The Annihilation Score

(Laundry Files #6)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  6,152 ratings  ·  485 reviews
In this this science fiction spy thriller by Hugo Award winning writer Charles Stross, the Laundry - the British secret agency that fights supernatural threats - must team up with the police force, with one unfortunate secret agent caught in the middle.

Dr. Mo O'Brien is an intelligence agent at the top secret government agency known as 'the Laundry'. Whe
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 2nd 2015 by Orbit (first published July 2015)
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Popular Answered Questions
Charles Stross I confess I'm kind of puzzled how folks are reviewing or rating a book that is not only not yet published, but not available in ARC yet ...!
Charles Stross Yes.

(Next book will be by Alex from "Rhesus Chart"; plan is to go back to Bob in book 8.)…more

(Next book will be by Alex from "Rhesus Chart"; plan is to go back to Bob in book 8.)(less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  6,152 ratings  ·  485 reviews

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Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Many readers of the Laundry Files do not like the way the series is heading. I don't mind and personally I enjoyed the last book, The Rhesus Chart. However, The Annihilation Score really annoyed me. But it wasn't the plot or the superhero thing that annoyed me. It was the protagonist, Mo. Specifically her treatment of Bob. I understand that Mo has to deal with a lot of shit and as a result is traumatized both mentally and emotionally. But so has Bob and he was supporting her that whole time. So ...more
This review breaks my heart because I adore Stross and the Laundry books, but it has to be said. This was just not good.

(view spoiler)
Re-read 6/4/18:

Suffice to say, the dynamics between Bob and Mo are rather divisive. I guess I will always find a place to forgive Mo in my heart.

She's been through so much. She's been carrying around the One Ring for Too Many Years. Add that to all the other crap that went on, I'm surprised she didn't crack like a walnut under all that stress. So yeah, I suppose I'm perternaturally disposed to give her a free pass. :)

Oh yeah, and the story kicked superhero butt. :)

Original Review:

I may be a car
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
So, seriously, do you think he let someone ghostwrite this one? The book has the advantage of being easier to read than the other entries in the series, but the voice of Mo has no charm whatever. She reveals herself to be a very unpleasant person, and frankly I do not care whether things turn out well for her or not. Bob would do better with the soul-sucking ex than with this one.

I do understand that it may be advantageous to tell the story from another perspective than that of the Eater, but th
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Look at you, Mo! Up on your moral high ground, criticizing Bob for all kinds of things, most of which haven't even really happened (and you know it), while you (view spoiler)!

Some might have read my last review, the one about the previous volume, and therefore kn
Feb 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror, fantasy, comics
Well this has been a complete train wreck.

Stross’s laundry files series has been heading off the rails for a while now, staying upright only out of a combination of gyroscopic forces imparted by the earlier works and the magic of the source material Stross is riffing on. But it’s been clear for a while now that Stross has no clear idea where to take the story and that his basic inclinations tend to be at odds with where the story needs to go if it is going to keep any resemblance to what made th
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent entry in the Laundry series.

Dominique ("Mo") O'Brien, the protagonist of this book, is the wife of Bob Howard who has been the protagonist of the rest of the books in this series. She's a combat epistemologist, a fairly unique job description that only really makes sense in the Laundry universe, and the wielder of a demonic necromantic violin which kills demons (and pretty much anything else).

At this point in the series CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN has been going for 18 months. Tha
Dec 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
If this were a standalone book set in the laundry universe id give it 4 stars but seeing as its book 6 in a series i give it a 1. Very bummed. I've read all the previous books many many times over and love them.
Dissapointing is an understatement, Stross has gone all George Lucas and crystal skull on us. The way Mo talks about bob makes her seems like a dead set bitch. Was completely blown by how callous she is and her complete lack of respect for him. Even the content of the story steered to fa
cultureulterior -
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really disliked the main character, and, really the entire idea of the superhero stuff as a NIGHTMARE GREEN symptom.

The plot was soap-opera class, so much so that I thought it was going to be another story-setup, that her intelligence had been impaired by a story-oriented magical plot enforcement, like that idiotic James Bond thing Stross did in another book

This also had the same eternal smugness I so dislike about some of Stross's books. Last book was fantastic- this one was not.
"Please allow me to introduce myself…
No. Strike that. Period stop backspace backspace bloody computer no stop that stop listening stop dictating end end oh I give up.
Will you stop doing that?"
Meet Mo, a.k.a. Dominique, employee of the UK's super-secret black-ops magic organisation (they call it the Laundry), wife of Bob Howard (a.k.a. The Eater of Souls), bearer of a psychotically evil soul-sucking bone violin, and combat epistemologist. When Mo takes a trip to do a little glad-handing with the
2.5 stars. When I realized the book was from Mo's point of view I was excited, she's always been a favorite character that we didn't get to see enough of. But it was pretty disappointing. I didn't need her to be a typical urban fantasy kick-ass heroine. I liked that she's a forty-three year-old wife with marriage issues. I wasn't so keen on her self-esteem issues, or at least on the assumption that all women eventually have "middle-aged invisibility syndrome." I'm two years older than her and it ...more
C.T. Phipps
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm a huge fan of Charles Stross' Laundry Files series.

I'm also a critic of it.

When it's good, like The Apocalypse Codex, it's very-very good.

When it's bad, The Jennifer Morgue, it's really bad.

Don't hate me Charlie, it's just my opinion.


It's kind of weird because the really-really good parts are on display right next to the parts I found troublesome. I had to check myself, as well, because I needed to separate what was upsetting characterization from what is bad writing. Which is to
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Welcome to Bureaucratic Government Meetings - The novel!

Gape in wonder as you experience managerial meetings about staff uniforms!

Control your excitement as you witness high-pressure governmental briefings on mission statements and departmental budgets!

Feel the adrenaline, as Mo O’Brien attempts to staff a new government organisation and setup their office with flatpack furniture!

Seriously. For a large part of The Annihilation Score this was my reality. I felt like I had somehow slipped into a
A very good addition to the series, this book was from Mo's perspective (instead of Bob's) as her life changes direction abruptly - possibly more than once even. Life is unpredictable when you wield a possessed violin made from human bone...

I can't help but notice that many of the lower ratings are from men and have to wonder a bit about that, what with this book having a strong female protagonist. :/
Jul 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Oddly keen to attend the proms now.
Aug 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
So... superheroes. After nazis, billionaires, culties, megachurches, and a wunch of bankers, it's... the capes.

I'm not sure that this is how I saw CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN (the Laundry Novels' code name for a long-forecast rise of magic preceding the fall of human civilization) going public. I guess I was expecting, if anything, the police to go full Judge Dredd... and instead we get The Tick.

It's a little clumsily done, and maybe that's part of the point.

Central to "The Laundry" novels is the recur
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Adequate but disappointing. I love the Laundry series and have been anxiously waiting to get my eldritch fix for what seems like forever, but Annihilation Score didn't quite satisfy. The main reason for this is, as the other reviews here point out, is Mo, the protagonist in this story is very unlikable, especially if you are a fan of the series (and, thereby, a fan of Bob).

To be fair to the author, he has been consistent throughout the series in his portrayal of Mo and she has always been self-c
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Paperwork, procedures, politics - saving the world is fun, right?

If superheroes were real, but appearing almost randomly in the population, and the civil service needed to get a handle on it, I suspect it might look very much like this. If you've ever wondered why movie heroes all get a sudden urge for Lycra, this proves you're not alone...

The narrator is a middle-aged woman who's been inflicted with (or trusted with) a weaponized maniacal violin which may or may not be trying to kill h
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
I looked forward to another Laundry book but I just really dislike Mo. I have a hard time understanding why the other characters within this world (the laundry) would find her someone they would like. She came across to me as very unpleasant. I was frankly hoping it would end up being a tragedy where the violin gets her in the end no pun intended. I've re read all the other for fun but I don't have that draw to this one. Sorry but I wasn't impressed
John Carter McKnight
I loved it. There's so much here that writing a review has been a challenge I've put off for several days. I've loved Stross's Laundry Files for years, but often more as an abstraction than as actual books: more than a few have fallen flat for me. And, I confess, I've had a huge crush on Mo forever, and wanted to know more about her and her demon-slaying bone violin. So it was with quite a bit of both eagerness and trepidation that I approached this book.

It's *great,* Stross's best in years. Wri
Dave Goulding
Jul 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I have read each and every 'Laundry' novel and loved every minute of them....until this one. I don't mind the fact that it's not a Bob book; the previous novels always left me wanting to hear more about the reasonably mysterious AGENT CANDID. Unfortunately this is where the story falls down. Mo goes from being a badass James Bond secret agent with a fully relatable and multi-dimensional human side to a thinly drawn, self obsessed, hypocritical and thoroughly unlikeable character. The end of the ...more
Stuart Reid
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Charles Stross is a prolific author, and it's his Laundry Files that I enjoy most. Set in a secret goverment department that deals with all things "weird" they're almost Lovecraftian comedies, with a very British slant.

This one takes a decidedly darker turn. The overall arc of the stories continues (CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN) and this novel starts, or kind of overlaps, the end of the previous, The Rhesus Chart. The big news is that it's point of view is now Mo, not Bob Howard, and her violin...

Fans o
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I love this series to death, but this novel has so many problems. First, the plot continues the trend of getting less Lovecraftian and less interesting that the previous books suffered from. The entire super hero plot straight up abandons all that made the original Laundry Files great. Worse, Mo absolutely sucks in this novel.

I like Mo. Mo was a neat character. She is a scary bad ass with a crazy demonic violin. You get only glimpses of her in the other novels
Jul 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Jay by: no one
Shelves: fiction
I've read the book's first half. I'll read the rest, and I hope I won't regret finishing it.

I hope for two things in the next book. First, that Mr. Stross returns to paying homage to Len Deighton or John le Carré. I don't what author inspired this book nor its predecessor, and I wish I did. They belong on my do-not-read list. Second, that he eases up on the H. P. Lovecraft bashing. The man had feet of clay, we get it. We got it in Equoid. So did Poe. Both of them tower over the genre regardless
A crushing disappointment. Some excellent snark and a hilarious send-up of corporate culture saved this book from a two-star review, but I can't get past Mo. She's extremely well written and pretty believable as a character, which just makes my problem with her worse: I hate her. I don't know if the author is a misogynist or is so pro-feminist he's post-feminist (e.g., he's celebrating the fact that women are finally breaking through the glass ceiling enough that we're getting a gender-reversed ...more
Adam Duclos
Sep 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was a thoroughly disappointing and generally terrible book.

I like the series, and when I saw that the story's main character was Mo, the normal main character's (Bob's) wife, who often sallies forth at the end of the books to save Bob with her magical violin, I was optimistic.

However, it was not to be. First of all, the dynamic between Bob and Mo is that they have different personalities, and Mo especially has a job that strains her to the max, and their differences are what help keep her g
Wing Kee
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fresh point of view and a hilarious premise.

World: The world building for this book is fantastic. The world of the Laundry is pretty much well established after 5 books and with this 6th I was wondering where Stross would go with it, I did not expect Superheroes. The world is well constructed, the new ideas match with the internal logic of the world and the humor and absurdity is just as dry and fun as ever, this world is so fun.

Story: Superheroes...yes this book is about Superheroes. How does
Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it
There's good and bad here. Any Laundry Files book is a welcome treat and this one is no exception. It's a slight change from the usual format, using Bob's wife Mo as the protagonist. This is a nice change. I for one can never get enough AGENT CANDID. As you'd expect from a Charles Stross book it's also technically well written and nicely paced.

The problems I had with this book are twofold and they are the plot and also the plot. It's superficially about superheroes and whilst I'm prepared to acc
Shannon Appelcline
From the start, I wasn't thrilled to have this new book from the viewpoint of Mo rather than Bob. I've seen a number of different series try that viewpoint-shifting in the middle, and it rarely works. Here, I did enjoy seeing a bit more about Mo, but her viewpoint just wasn't as interesting. Worse, I came to like Mo less and less as she actively betrayed Bob over the course of the book. When you put together an unwanted, uninteresting, and unlikeable protagonist ... you start to have a problem.

Dale Donovan
Jul 08, 2015 rated it did not like it

Adding superheroes to this spy/horror/comedy mash-up is one set of tropes too many, and it is jarring and misplaced in this world.

Getting to see the Laundry and the world from Mo's POV is interesting, but she's given very little to do beyond paperwork, attending meetings, having erotic dreams about her violin, and conducting an office romance while she's separated from her husband---who is the HERO of this whole series of novels. As a result, it's very hard to like her.

Also, it's
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Charles David George "Charlie" Stross is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasy.

Stross is sometimes regarded as being part of a new generation of British science fiction writers who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera. His contemporaries include Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod, Liz Williams and Richard Morgan.


Other books in the series

Laundry Files (10 books)
  • The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1)
  • The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files #2)
  • The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3)
  • The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4)
  • The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5)
  • The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7)
  • The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files, #8)
  • The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9)
  • Dead Lies Dreaming (The Laundry Files, #10)

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