Saturday, 19 March 2016

Review: Foxglove Summer

Foxglove Summer Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Foxglove Summer, DC Peter Grant travels to the country to look into the disappearance of two eleven year old girls, just to make sure that there is no magic involved. Peter is a pure-bred Londoner, though, and has some trouble adjusting - especially when his stay lasts a lot longer than planned. Luckily, he's got local police man (DC) Dominic Croft and river goddess Beverly Brook to help him along. Oh, and it turns out I love Beverly. She's awesome, clever and fun, and one can but hope that she will be as involved in the next book as well. Dominic also turned out to be a great partner to Peter, but I guess he was a one-time character, seeing as he has his life out in the country.

The editorial stuff wasn't very well done, sadly. There was one time when Ben Aaronovitch confused the name of the mother with that of her (vanished) daughter and let her contribute something to a conversation. There was one time when someone wrapped the end of a string around his wrist, only to give it to someone else in the next paragraph, and some minor mistakes as well. Nevertheless, I gave this book five stars, because...

THIS IS THE BOOK! This is the book in which we learn more about Ettersberg. This is the book in which we learn more about Molly. This is not a book with the Faceless Man in it, though, only with the promise that it will take a few more books to close that story arc.
The story itself was very interesting, with lots of twists and some unicorns (and who doesn't like unicorns in a story about magic?). Some twists I could see coming, some were pleasantly shocking. In the end, many loose strings were still dangling around, so the book could have been longer. I'm relying on the author to tie them up in The Hanging Tree, though, because he's done a good job of picking up loose ends before.

Foxglove Summer is dedicated to Terry Pratchett - a dedication which, if I can read dates correctly, happened before he died. That, of all Peter Grant books, this one was dedicated to Sir Terry could merely be a coincidence, or due to some inspiration Ben Aaronovitch took from discworld books. I've seen some parallels to my favourite mini series around Tiffany Aching (Tiffany Aching Complete Collection: 5 Books) here, which I enjoyed immensely. This also gave me a pretty good idea what to read next, while I'm waiting for the release of the next Peter Grant novel (I still haven't read The Shepherd's Crown, because I'm waiting for the paperback). ;-)

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Sunday, 13 March 2016

Review: Broken Homes

Broken Homes Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Broken Homes is the fourth instalment in Ben Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series mixing magic and today's police work, and while there's still a lot of policing going on, I didn't feel like the case (or a case) was the focus of the story. So many things happened...
The rivers had a party, which was a convenient way to introduce another one of them and bring Beverley back. Ordinary people did things without always knowing why, bringing the Faceless Man back into focus. Lesley started a thing with Zach, and Zach brought the quite people up for a pub crawl. Oh, and a late German architect did some pretty weird things... (Also, as always in English books, they didn't get all of the German right, but it was close.)

The pacing of the book wasn't so great, which is probably why I lost track of the story line inbetween. The humour was great as always, though, and I loved learning a bit more about what Nightingale can actually do, and what's going on (or was going on) with magic in other countries. There was also, once more, the introduction to a new character who will hopefully get a place with the other regulars, even though it's getting a bit crowded. I think everyone from before was included in Broken Homes, but sometimes only with pretty minor roles that could have been left out to leave more room for an overall story arc.

The cases mostly couldn't be solved in a satisfactory way, at least not for the public. I won't add spoilers here, so just assume that the Faceless Man was quite active in the background. He was also very active behind Peter's back, showing how convenient it can be to have a first person narrator sometimes. Ben Aaronovitch really dropped a bomb on us readers in the end, holy shit!

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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Review: Whispers Underground

Whispers Underground Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked Whispers Under Ground, the third PC Grant novel after Rivers of London. Peter starts out with a visit to a girl from his parent's neighbourhood, who saw a ghost and knows that Peter can do magic and stuff - so she called him. That has nothing to do with the actual story, though, which starts the following night with the discovery of a dead man at Baker Street station. Peter got called onto the case because something seemed off, but it is "only" the murder weapon that seems to be imbued with magic. At the same time, the people from the Folly are also busy trying to find the Faceless Man, an "ethically challenged" magician hiding and working in London.

The story around the Faceless Man is definitely set out to continue for some time, and didn't play a major role here. Nevertheless, it was nicely interwoven with the story. Just like Abigail, the girl from the neighbourhood, who kind of closed the circle of the book.
The cast is generally still increasing, it seems. The rivers from the first book still always appear somehow, Abigail was already introduced in the last one (Moon Over Soho), and Peter again got to know a few new characters from the "magical London" who, at least I suspect that, might turn up again. It seems that the magical world is a small world indeed.

My only qualm - no, disappointment - with the book was the final reveal of the murderer and his motive. It seemed so... dumb, dull, something like that. And it most certainly wasn't what the blurb on my copy said: "whispers of vengeance from beyond the grave". I wonder who made that up.

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