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lhr Audible Team
Out in the countryside magic has its own rules and dangers - it might even be mistaken for UFO activity - though at the end Peter Grant is happy to go home, to London.
Again it is a superb performance by the he narrator, Koba Holdbrook-Smith, with all the social, ethical and regional accents of the various protagonists. A true joy to listen to!
What makes Aaronovich’s so pleasant to read/listen to is the fact that they are true voyages of discovery. One accompanies Peter Grant on his voyage into the real of magic and it is a true detective story with police procedure and attitudes to match. Other authors of urban fantasies (f.e. Butcher, or Jacka) rather adhere to the I-know-it-all-but-can’t-tell-you school and let their protagonists rather walk like gunslingers in a western.
This particular book is a search, interesting and often funny, but towards the end a bit confusing. One gets the feeling that the end of the story arch went through several revisions. After the brilliant “Broken Homes” waiting for this book was hard and while it is not quite up to that level the 1-year-wait for the next instalment to the series will be very long indeed.
It has been obvious to the attentive listener that Ben Aaronovitch loathes the modernist architects who inflicted their visions of how others should live on London. In this book as it turns out this architecture is what it is all about. Or why else should the evil adversary of the Folly a.k.a. "The Faceless Man" take an interest in an icon of brutalism and its creator?
In general the story arc of the Peter-Grant-novels continues further: we learn that there was also a German tradition of scientific magic and our hero has to quote it (BTW the German quoted is totally correct, not the Germanic-sounding miss-mash that so often hurts a German-speaker's senses). Also the magic realm and its inhabitants and practitioners grow in number and character.
And did I mention the suspense? Especially in the second half it is hard to stop and I listened to this book twice before writing this review...
Another superb performance by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith: it is such a joy to listen to the voice and appreciate the various class and ethnic accents that make the story so much richer than the e-/print version.
But the story gets more and more complicated. While it was possible to understand and enjoy “Moon over Soho” without necessarily having read/listened to “Rivers of London” this is no longer the case here. Lack of prior knowledge of the characters and the rules that govern them makes it impossible to understand the plot.
And it is an expanding plot: acquiring now also the hint of international aspects (and I do not just refer to the female FBI agent who is really a redhead…) and discoveries deep underground. The hero and the plot almost get lost in the tunnels and sewers and suddenly the murder case the listener has almost forgotten is solved. Wow, magic – but not for beginners.
However if you are – like me - a fan of the series: enjoy. The hints are there: this book is a link between the beginnings and what is to follow in “Broken Homes” and (hopefully many more) further sequels.