Tag Archives: London

Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch

Broken Homes, Ben AaronovitchBroken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

First Published: 2013

Pages: 357 (Hardback)
Form: Novel
Series: Peter Grant #4

Rating: 4.5/54.5/54.5/54.5/54.5/5

A mutilated body in Crawley. Another killer on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil; an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man? Or just a common or garden serial killer?

Before PC Peter Grant can get his head round the case a town planner going under a tube train and a stolen grimoire are adding to his case-load.

So far so London.

But then Peter gets word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans, and inhabited by the truly desperate.

Is there any connection?

And if there is, why oh why did it have to be South of the River?

I hesitate to call this book the best in the series only because Rivers of London holds a very special place in my heart that is impossible to replace. It was the first book I read after seeking help to manage my depression – and as such marked the first time I had managed to truly and unreservedly enjoy anything for months, possibly years. But, if I try to remove that from the equation, Broken Homes is definitely the best written and best plotted of the Peter Grant books so far and, without a doubt, has the most exciting climax.

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Whispers Under Ground, Ben Aaronovitch

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

Publisher: Gollancz (Orion Books)
Pages: 418 (Hardback)
Form: Novel
Series: Rivers of London/Peter Grant #3

Rating:

In Tufnell Park, North London, a pair of railway tracks dive under a school, taking trains from Kings Cross. Wet, filthy, dangerous. Lovely place. And one Sunday before Christmas a sweet (sort of) kid called Abigail took me and my long suffering colleague Lesley May down there to look for a ghost.

We found one.

And that was that, I thought, because come Monday I get to do some proper policing. Person Unknown has been stabbed to death on the tracks at Baker Street tube. Magic may have been involved. And sure enough, in the blood; vestigia, the tell-tale trail magic leaves.

Person Unknown turns out to be the son of a US senator and before you can say ‘International incident’, FBI agent Kimberley Reynolds and her firmly held religious beliefs are on my case.

And down in the dark, in the tunnels of London’s Underground, the buried rivers, the Victorian sewers, I’m hearing whispers of ancient arts and tortured, vengeful spirits. . .

Ok, before I start let me do my little happy dance. Wheeeeeeeeee! It’s out! And it’s good! The second book is almost forgiven!

Rivers of London (because I’m not American) is a series I have mixed feelings about. I got the first book as an impulse buy because of its beautiful cover (the UK editions are gorgeous) and spent a lovely day lying out in the park getting myself very sunburnt as I totally immersed myself in the story. I got home, book finished, and preordered the next two in the series straight away. In the over-a-year I’ve been waiting for this book to come out, however, the second in the series arrived and it was…well…no where near as good as the first book. In fact I barely liked the second book at all and was beginning to think that maybe I had been wrong about the series, maybe the first one wasn’t as good as I thought and I only enjoyed it so much because it was the first book I read for fun after sorting my life out and seeking help for my depression. Thankfully, with the arrival of Whispers Under Ground, I can rest easy that the series is good after all, very good, and that Moon Over Soho was just a blip in an otherwise very promising urban fantasy series.

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Kraken, China Miéville

Kraken by China Miéville

Publisher: Pan Books (Macmillan)
Pages:
481 (Paperback)
Form: Novel
Series: Standalone

Rating:5/5

An Impossible Theft. A Legendary Beast. A Holy War.

Deep in the research wing of the Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid. But what does it mean when the creature suddenly and impossibly disappears?

For curator Billy Harrow it’s the start of a headlong pitch into a London of warring cults, surreal magic, apostates and assassins. It might just be that the creature he’s been preserving is more than a biological rarity: there are those who are sure it’s a god.

A god that someone is hoping will end the world.

So that’s the blurb, colour me intrigued. Now I’m not as up on my modern fiction as I would like to be so the first I heard of Miéville – despite him winning multiple fantasy awards – was when someone on the internet got excited that he was going to be writing comics for DC. Now since I can neither afford to nor have any interest in following anything set in the main DC universe I didn’t pay it too much attention until someone got ridiculously butthurt and indignant about the fact that Miéville is a fantasy writer who (shock, horror!) doesn’t like Tolkien and isn’t afraid to say so. Despite loving Lord of the Rings (jury’s still out on The Hobbit) I read the ensuing argument and pretty much thought ‘well that’s criticism I’ve had for years and Tolkien copycats do annoy me with their crappy writing and tired fantasy tropes’. So naturally I decided that I had to read one of his books. I wavered a bit when someone else said that a lot of his writing was ‘weird for the sake of weird and not as clever as he thinks’ but nevertheless I approached the fantasy bookshelf of Waterstone’s anyway, if with a bit of trepidation. Continue reading

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