Mini reviews: from Ben Arronovitch’s Peter Grant series

I read several stories in Ben Arronovitch’s Peter Grant series since the first of the year. I’ve grouped them together since they are all short works. One is a novella, one a graphic novel and the other a short audiobook. I’ve also only written mini reviews for each work.

The Furthest Station by Ben Arronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #5.5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Police Procedural, Novella

Setting: England

129 pages

Synopsis: There have been ghosts on the London Underground, sad, harmless spectres whose presence does little more than give a frisson to travelling and boost tourism. But now there’s a rash of sightings on the Metropolitan Line and these ghosts are frightening, aggressive and seem to be looking for something.

My thoughts

This is short, but the author tells a complete story. I enjoyed reading about ghosts on the London Underground. Mostly the ghosts on the Underground are harmless, but now there are more ghosts appearing and they’re very aggressive. They’re scaring passengers so PC Peter Grant is sent to investigate. This is a quick read and a good one for Peter Grant fans.

My Rating: B+

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel

Series: Peter Grant/Rivers of London Graphic Novels #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Setting: England

Synopsis: Peter Grant having become the first English Apprentice wizard in fifty years must immediately deal with two different but ultimately inter-related cases.In one he must find what is possessing ordinary people and turning them into vicious killers and in the second he must broker a peace between the two warring gods of the River Thames.

My thoughts

This is the first graphic novel I’ve read in a while and I enjoyed it. I think the fact that I read the Peter Grant print series helped me understand the characters better in the graphic novel–especially since I don’t read graphic novels very often. This graphic novel is a new story, not just a retelling of a story in the print series. I like that a lot. It’s always fun to read a new Peter Grant story and the illustrations gave the story a different dimension. I still like print stories better than a graphic novel since I like to picture the events in my head as I’m reading. However, it’s always nice to broaden my horizons a bit.

My Rating: B

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #6.5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Audiobook

Narrator: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

Length: 29 minutes

Setting: The British Library

Synopsis: Somewhere amongst the shadowy stacks and the many basements of the British library, something is very much amiss – and we’re not talking late returns here. Is it a ghost, or something much worse? PC Peter Grant really isn’t looking forward to finding out….

My thoughts

This is very short–only 29 minutes–but it’s fun and I enjoyed listening to the audio. I haven’t listened to any of the other books in this series. The narrator is excellent and makes me want to listen to the next book in the series rather than read it.

Within a minute or two of the start of the story something larger than Peter’s dog Toby and with lots of legs runs past and the librarian asks “Tell me that wasn’t a spider?” When Peter reassures her it wasn’t, the librarian comments, “Thank God for that. I can’t stand spiders.” This is funny and a bit of a creepy story!

My Rating: B

Have you read any of the Peter Grant series? How do you like it?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! — The Furthest Station

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read an SFF graphic novel 

Waiting on Wednesday: 09-09-15

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m Waiting-on-Wednesdaylooking forward to coming out in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

 

 

 

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #6

Publication Date: April 5, 2016

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Another gripping and hilarious adventure through the secret streets of London. A tour of what remains and an insight into what once was with a liberal sprinkling of folklore, myth and violent crime. Each of Ben Aaronovitch’s previous Peter Grant novels have been Sunday Times Top Ten HB bestsellers and The Hanging Tree looks set to repeat the feat.

The Hanging Tree was the Tyburn gallows which stood where Marble Arch stands today. Oxford Street was the last trip of the condemned. Some things don’t change. The place has a bloody and haunted legacy and now blood has returned to the empty Mayfair mansions of the world’s super-rich. And blood mixed with magic is a job for Peter Grant.

Peter Grant is back as are Nightingale et al. at the Folly and the various river gods, ghosts and spirits who attach themselves to England’s last wizard and the Met’s reluctant investigator of all things supernatural.

……………………………..

Why I want this book

  • The Peter Grant series is one of my favorite urban fantasy series.
  • This cover is wonderful. I love the covers for this series–the use of maps and rivers. Rivers, streams and brooks are very important in this series.
  • The London and England setting are very fun to read about and described so well.
  • I really enjoy the characters and am ready to find out what’s been happening to them!

Review: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

foxglove-summer

Foxglove Summer
by Ben Aaronovitch
Series: Peter Grant #5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by DAW, 2015
E-book, purchased
377 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: In the fifth of his bestselling series Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London – to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can’t take the London out of the copper.

Travelling west with Beverley Brook Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods. And what’s more all the shops are closed by 4pm…

“There’s weird shit,” I said. “And we deal with the weird shit, but normally it turns out that there’s a perfectly rational explanation.” Which is often that a wizard did it.

and

During the whole pointless process not one resident refused to let us in or objected to us looking around, which I found creepy because there’s always one. But Dominic said no.

“Not in the countryside,” he said.

“Community spirit?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “That and everyone would know that they hadn’t cooperated, which people would find suspicious. In a village that sort of thing sticks for, like, generations.”

Cheers

  • The series gets better and better with each book.
  • I like that I get my police procedurals (which I’m loving reading at the moment) with magic intricately entwined.
  • Lots of humor
  • The setting of this book is in Herefordshire–very rural and near Wales. A different setting than the other books which were mostly in London.
  • Peter has changed a lot from the first book. He’s a more experienced policeman and now he’s on his own without Leslie–though he does have Beverley!
  • I love Peter’s inner dialogue which is often sarcastic and snarky.
  • The way the author uses the rivers, streams, brooks and other waterways and connects them with supernatural characters is one of the things I love about this series.
  • Beverley Brook is a great character. Lots of fun to read about.
  • It’s obvious big things are coming with Leslie and the Faceless Man.

Jeers

  • Having to wait at least a year for the next book.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • The problem with reading a new and latest book in a series is that we have to wait for the next book to be published–usually at least a year between books.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book with nonhuman characters)

Waiting on Wednesday–Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

Waiting-on-Wednesday

I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday occasionally. Breaking the Spine blog hosts Waiting on Wednesday–a time each week we can spotlight upcoming releases. Visit the blog to find out more information and to leave your link on her blog.

 

The book I’m excited about this week: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch, book 5 in the Peter Grant urban fantasy series. The book comes out November 13 in the UK, but isn’t out until January 6, 2015 in the U.S. published by DAW.

Synopsis from Goodreads: In the fifth of his bestselling series Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London – to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can’t take the London out of the copper.

Travelling west with Beverley Brook Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods. And what’s more all the shops are closed by 4pm…

……………………………..

I’ve read all the books in this series and after the last book I really want to know what happens next!

Review: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

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.

and

“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?

 

Review: Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

I’m participating in the TBR Pile Challenge hosted at the Bookish blog and also in the Book Bingo Challenge. This book fits both of these challenges.

Whispers undergroundWhispers Under Ground
by Ben Aaronovitch
Series: Peter Grant, Book 3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Del Rey, 2012
E-book, Purchased
418 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful . . . and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well.

Not being invited in is one of the boxes on the “suspicious behavior” bingo form that every copper carries around in their head along with “stupidly overpowerful dog” and being too quick to supply an alibi. Fill all the boxes and you too could win an all-­expenses-paid visit to your local police station.

and

My mum translated this in her head to “witchfinder,” which was good because like most West Africans, she considered witchfinding a more respectable profession than policeman.

What worked for me:

  • A fairly gritty urban fantasy, but with an irreverence which leavens the story–keeping the book from getting too dark.
  • The setting is London–a nice change from the United States.
  • Peter Grant is a likable character. His superiors in the police force feel he may help with supernatural cases, but also think he’s a loose cannon and a not-very-good constable.
  • Peter’s interactions with Lesley are interesting.  Unlike Peter she’s considered one of the best young constables around. They’re good friends and Lesley is also learning to use magic, but things which happened in the last book are still affecting both of them in this book.
  • In this book Peter has to work for not only his own superior officer (and wizard) Inspector Nightingale, but also with Detective Inspector Stephanopoulos  and Detective Chief Inspector Seawoll. They don’t appreciate either his humor or his penchant for creating chaos.
  • Race is present in this series, but I get a different vibe in this series about race than from many books set in the U.S. Peter is very matter-of-fact about who he is. It’s part of his identity, but not more important than another part of his identity.
  • I like the way this book has moved the overall story forward. Peter and Lesley learn more about magic and how to use it and about the people around them.
  • Much of the book happens in the tube stations, underground tunnels and sewers under London.
  • The way magic, mythology, history and terrain around London are used by Ben Aaronovitch is so interesting. For example, the rivers of London and the false houses. (I was very excited when the false houses were also used by Sherlock in one of the latest Sherlock episodes on Masterpiece Theater!)

What didn’t work:

  • It’s important to start with the first two books in this series. Lots happens prior to this book. This didn’t bother me since I read those books. Some police procedurals (which this is a cousin of perhaps) can be picked up wherever in the series. Because of the world building and what happens to characters in previous books it helps to know what is going on by starting at the beginning!

My thoughts:

I like this series a lot. This was a solid book for the series moving the story along with a good mystery. The fourth book–Broken Homes–was published in the United States on February 4, 2014 and I’ve bought it so I can read it soon!

If you click on the link below this map you will find a Google map Ben Aaronovitch created which shows the places in London Peter and other characters went during this book (and other books). Great fun!