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Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant, #5)Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


So when the summary of this book came out – Peter goes to the countryside – I assumed it would be a monster-of-the-week book. And it is, though clearly also a lot of setup. Which is actually the salient feature of this book – it convinced me that Aaronovitch hasn't even put all his pieces on the board yet, let alone started moving them.

So anyway. Yes, this book suffers from a tragic deficit of Nightingale. And also a tragic deficit of London, a character in her own right. And yes, the ending is abrupt as hell. (And speaking of, apparently only the Waterstones edition has the short story epilogue? I can only assume to boost special edition sales. What is this dead tree bullshit, I ask you?)

But, Peter is still Peter. And there actually is enough architecture in the country for him to geek over. And the occasionally slow march of this book's rather obvious plot was interrupted, every fifty pages or so, by Peter wham breaking my heart out of nowhere. So yeah. Still worth it.

P.s. This book does present an obvious theory about the Faceless Man's identity/origins, which is so obvious I can only assume it's not true? We'll see.



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Broken Homes (Peter Grant, #4)Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I sat down to talk about this right when I finished, but ended up just keysmashing and reeling off to eat a cupcake.

Take two.

The formula of these books is pretty set at this point: we have a series of seemingly random crimes, the investigation of which is punctuated by apprentice bickering and magic practice. There's some kind of event that gets all the personified rivers out to play, generally in a manner having nothing to do with anything else that's happening, but I love them so I don't care. More crime, imbued with an increasing sense of place, as all of his research accumulates density. And then it ends with a rush and a bang and a breath, and kicks me in the chest.

This time the rivers interlude was awesome. And the sense of place was by way of a sly, funny, not too serious, not too unserious meditation on poverty and ownership and home and the creation of beauty and self-betterment. And we paused to have an additional interlude on the topic of Thomas Nightingale, certifiable bad ass motherfucker. And the kick was a good one, oh man.

Plus, it didn't even Joss my Yuletide!

Next please.




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Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant #3)Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A somewhat inconsequential book that thoroughly convinced me of the deep consequence of this series.

Well, okay, a stepping stone book. One of those that doesn’t overtly advance the arc, but instead peels off for a side adventure with occasional flickers of bigger things, and you get the sense that you’ll be looking back in three or four books and going “ah, I see,” even though right now it doesn’t feel like much.

But the thing is, I came out the other side completely convinced that this series is going big or going home, baby. This was a deceptively mild book about pockets of magic in our modern world – the Folly and also spoiler – and what happens when the twain meet. And what happens when people cross into magical awareness, how it can go wrong and also so, so right. And I think the thing I’ll be saying in three or four books is actually, “ah, that was the finger exercise, yes I see.” I’ll bet you now: there’s a plan, and it’s a long game, and it’s a big one.

Also, I love them all to the point of embarrassing hand gestures, so there.




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Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant, #2)Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Not as good as Rivers of London -- the plot is sloppy, he accidentally replaced the romance with a cliche, etc. – but I liked it anyway for reasons that had nothing to do with the London copper urban fantasy bits.



This book made so much sense to me. It’s all quiet and subliminal, the way it would be, but this first person narration is just so dead on for what it’s like to be the token minority. The unspoken sense that everyone else is always going to have an opinion bout you or a reaction to you, and that managing them is always going to be your problem and not the other guy’s. Dry, ironic acceptance of that. The immediate sense of . . . conspiracy when you meet someone else who is like you, the way you acknowledge each other in passing -- we are here on sufferance, what a fuckin’ world, right?



Totally different minority status – the narrator of this book is a person of color and I am not – but yeah. Rang some bells. Living in the interstices. Reminded me flickeringly of sitting in a crowded meeting with my disabled boss, the two of us having a coded conversation about how to survive a particularly insidious bit of workplace ablism, and all the nondisabled people in the room having no idea we were discussing anything important at all.



Pretty deft, interesting stuff for a silly bit of London detective urban fantasy.





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Rivers of LondonRivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Now this was a breath of fresh air. Which I guess sounds funny if I mention it’s an urban fantasy about a somewhat bumbling cop who takes a witness statement from a ghost and ends up as the apprentice to the last wizard in England. But seriously, this was a breeze of competence and sanity in a welter of bad books.



I think the most important thing is that it’s funny. Not like first person urban fantasy funny, but actually funny. And our protagonist (first person, natch) is great: he’s one of those smart guys who comes across as pretty loopy most of the time, and I completely believed the way he talked about women and his mixed race and just. *hand gestures*.



Also, the mystery is cool and creative and genuinely horrifying, and there’s this whole thing with the personified rivers that is just great. I’m bubbling, I know, but goddamn I needed a good book.



I am a leetle bit worried about how some consequences and complications will be handled in the sequel, but that's just because I'm a suspicious cuss.



Note: Book sold as Midnight Riot in the U.S.



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