Review: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

April 10, 2014 2014, A-, book rating, Reading Challenges, reviews 6

I’m participating in the Book Bingo Challenge. This book will go into the New Book square.

broken-homesBroken Homes
by Ben Aaronovitch
Series: Peter Grant, Book 4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by DAW, 2014
E-book, Purchased
324 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame — whatever that is.

Truth be told, there’s a lot I still don’t know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England’s wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician’s apprentice. But even he doesn’t have all the answers. Mostly I’m just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast. With the new year, I have three main objectives, a) pass the detective exam so I can officially become a DC, b) work out what the hell my relationship with Lesley Mai, an old friend from the force and now fellow apprentice, is supposed to be, and most importantly, c) get through the year without destroying a major landmark.

Two out of three isn’t bad, right?

A mutilated body in Crawley means another murderer is on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil, who may either be a common serial killer or an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man — a man whose previous encounters I’ve barely survived. I’ve also got a case about a town planner going under a tube train and another about a stolen grimoire.

But then I get 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. If there’s a connection to the Crawley case, I’ll be entering some tricky waters of juristiction with the local river spirits. We have a prickly history, to say the least.

Just the typical day for a magician constable.

We’d considered wearing uniforms but Lesley said, what with her mask and everything, she’d look like a plastic cop monster from Doctor Who. I managed to restrain myself from telling her their real name.


“You know,” said Zach, “until you came along I used to be the local loose cannon. Now people have started warning me about the dangers of associating with you.”

What works for me:

  • I like the mysteries and police work in these stories.
  • I like the way magical spells build on one another. That seems logical! Peter and Lesley have to learn them in order.
  • The characters are many and varied–Peter, Lesley and Nightingale; Zach and the many characters we see at the spring Court of the God and Goddess of the Thames.
  • I like the buildings which play a big part in this book even if they aren’t real buildings in London.
  • Nightingale, Peter and Lesley are still searching for the “Faceless Man.” I like this overall plot arc.
  • A big surprise at the end of the book.

What doesn’t work:

  • The book ended in a kind of cliffhanger. I want the next book now!

My thoughts:

For me this series gets better and better. The characters and mysteries are interesting. I like the London setting. I’m really looking forward to the next book. I hope this time it is published in the U.S. at the same time as in England.

Are you reading this series? How do you like it?


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