Sunday, December 21, 2014

PC Peter Grant Series by Ben Aaronovitch

Rating 3 out of 5

Overall: A fun interesting start to a new series.

Rivers of London (Book 1)
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1345 KB
Publisher: Gollancz (20 January 2011)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group (AU)
Language: English
ISBN: 0575097566


My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to - and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. Now I'm a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden . . . and there's something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair. The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it's falling to me to bring order out of chaos - or die trying.

Well the book didn't blow me away. I didn't have a "can't put this book down even though it's 2am and I have to be up at 6am for work" kind of moment or upon finishing a "let's do that again!" moment. Having said that I did enjoy the book. It was fun reading about PC Grant becoming a trainee wizard in an x-files-esq section of the police department in London.

The story was interesting and the was a good balance of action, story development and witty banter. I loved the pop culture references and the subtle nods (and jokes) to modern fantasy/supernatural books, shows and movies.

The main character Peter Grant was interesting character and even though I shouldn't have to comment on it, he is an ethnic character. The only reason I raise it is because it does get raised in the book several times when characters try to stereotype PC Grant. For instance there is a scene where his boss makes a comment about rap music and Grant replies "I don't like rap music". I also like that the author also knocks over a lot of other stereotypes and brings in lots of different ethnic characters.

My main quibble was what seemed like an unnecessary part of the story at the end. It sort of seemed there as a shock but the point to the story arc just wasn't really obvious to me. The information could have been revealed differently and certainly not needed at the end of this story.

Overall this was a good start to the series but a little clunky for me. Keen to read the second book.

Moon over Soho (Book 2)
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1554 KB
Publisher: Gollancz (21 April 2011)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group (AU)
Language: English
ASIN: B004VF624S
ISBN: 0575097604

I was my dad's vinyl-wallah: I changed his records while he lounged around drinking tea, and that's how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it's why, when Dr Walid called me to the morgue to listen to a corpse, I recognised the tune it was playing. Something violently supernatural had happened to the victim, strong enough to leave its imprint like a wax cylinder recording. Cyrus Wilkinson, part-time jazz saxophonist and full-time accountant, had apparently dropped dead of a heart attack just after finishing a gig in a Soho jazz club. He wasn't the first. No one was going to let me exhume corpses to see if they were playing my tune, so it was back to old-fashioned legwork, starting in Soho, the heart of the scene. I didn't trust the lovely Simone, Cyrus' ex-lover, professional jazz kitten and as inviting as a Rubens' portrait, but I needed her help: there were monsters stalking Soho, creatures feeding off that special gift that separates the great musician from someone who can raise a decent tune. What they take is beauty. What they leave behind is sickness, failure and broken lives. And as I hunted them, my investigation got tangled up in another story: a brilliant trumpet player, Richard 'Lord' Grant - my father - who managed to destroy his own career, twice. That's the thing about policing: most of the time you're doing it to maintain public order. Occasionally you're doing it for justice.And maybe once in a career, you're doing it for revenge.

This book continues on from the events of 'Rivers of London'. We see PC Grant return and on the case of a supernatural being killing Jazz musicians. We also get to see PC Grant grow in his knowledge and role as a supernatural police officer.

The author continues his trend of introducing interesting ethnic characters who are not stereotypical. I enjoyed the ninja muslim girl. I so hope she comes back in other books.

I preferred this book to the first book actually. The first book seemed a smidgeon clunky at times but mostly the odd story tacked on the end irked me. The odd story was continued into this story so in my mind didn't need to be introduced in the first book at all. Anyway what is done is done. This book had a better flow to it even with the sex scenes which sometimes didn't seem necessary.

Overall I enjoyed this much more then the first book and I will be reading the next book for sure.

Final Recommendation: If you like urban fantasy and detective novels then this might be worth a try.

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