Review – Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Hi,

Right after finishing Rivers of London, I had to continue with book number two in Ben Aaronovitch‘ Peter Grant series, Moon Over Soho. And here is what I think about it.

Moon Over Soho
Image provided by Orion Publishing Group¹
Synopsis quoted from Orion Publishing Group¹:

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.

My Thoughts:

In Moon Over Soho, we’re back in present-day London and author Ben Aaronovitch still helps us to create vivid images of the book’s setting in our minds. However, the history and architecture that impressed me in Rivers of London now fade into the background.

My favorite character shares this fate. In Moon Over Soho, Inspector Nightingale is a secondary character like many others in the book. Most of the time, he stands on the sidelines and doesn’t even watch what’s going on around the main character Peter Grant, who slowly turns into a testosterone-driven guy, unable to think clearly.

The plot of Moon Over Soho is quite engaging with an unhurried pace. The book picks up right where Rivers of London left off and it doesn’t flood you with information that you already have if you’ve read Rivers. If you aren’t that big a fan of Inspector Nightingale and historical facts, I’m sure this book will please you. For me, these two are important elements that make the series worthwhile. Moon Over Soho is a solid read, but cannot live up to Rivers of London.

3beans

¹ https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9780575097629

Review – Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Hello,

Last Saturday, I was finding myself in a post-exam void, so it was the perfect time for me to finally raid my dad’s bookshelf and grab his copy of Ben Aaronovitch‘s Rivers of London. And this is what happened:

I was instantly hooked. After years of reading gazillions of vampire series that had started mixing up in my mind, I had sworn myself not to start another series for at least another year. But then there was my dad reading Ben Aaronovitch, telling me that the Peter Grant series was fun and clever. After my exam I needed something light and so I couldn’t resist any longer.

Rivers of London
Image provided by Orion Publishing Group¹
Synopsis quoted from Orion Publishing Group¹:

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.

My Thoughts:

Rivers of London is mainly set in present day London but those of us who have a soft spot for dated architecture won’t be disappointed. There’s enough of it in this book to make your heart beat faster. Did I mention that Mr Aaronovitch even gives us a library? An old one. Actually there is more than one, but he describes one of them in enough detail for me to fall in love with it. (Okay I’m a bookaholic and a history student, I might not be a reliable source in those matters.)

Peter Grant, our main character, is an apprentice wizard and police constable. He is a very likable fellow and great to be around. You really want to be friends with him. There is, however, another character in Rivers of London that I felt more drawn to: Inspector Nightingale. Inspector Nightingale, who likes to dress in an old-fashioned way, is clever and mysterious which somehow seems to make him attractive.

Rivers of London takes you on a fast-paced hunt for a mysterious murderer. As a matter of fact, the novel’s pace sometimes gets so fast I had to reread certain passages to make sense of what was happening. Rivers of London combines a great sense of humor with loads of interesting facts about English history and architecture and this is what makes the novel special. If you are interested in history, but you’d like to try urban fantasy for a change, Rivers of London might just be the book for you.

4beans

¹ https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9780575097582

Lovelybooks Leserpreis Awards – The Winners

You didn’t have to wait long 🙂

Here they are, the winners of Lovelybooks Leserpreis awards 2013. If you click on the picture below, you can see them all with pictures of the book covers and you can scroll through the whole ranking not just those who won 1st, 2nd and 3rd. I used the English titles where there is one to make it easier for you, even though the voters voted for the German translations.

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Romane / Novels

1st. Jojo Moyes Me Before You

2nd. Matthew Quick Silver Linings

3rd. Jonas Jonasson The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden

Krimis und Thriller / Crime Novels & Thrillers

1st. Stephen King Doctor Sleep

2nd. Dan Brown Inferno

3rd. Sebastian Fitzek Der Nachtwandler

Fantasy

1st. Maggie Stiefvater The Raven Boys

2nd. Ben Aaronovitch Whispers Under Ground

3rd. George R. R. Martin Hedge Knight/The Sworn Sword/The Mystery Knight

Science Fiction

1st. Jennifer Benkau Dark Destiny

2nd. Dan Wells Partials

3rd. Terry Pratchett The Long Earth

Jugendbücher / Young Adult

1st. Kerstin Gier Silber

2nd. R. J. Palacio Wonder

3rd. Ursula Poznanski Die Verschworenen

Kinderbücher / Children’s Books

1st. Sven Nordqvist Findus Moves Out

2nd. Frauke Scheunemann Winston – Ein Kater in Geheimer Mission

3rd. Jeff Kinney Diary of a Wimpy Kid #8 – Hard Luck

Liebesromane / Romance

1st. Kristin Harmel The Sweetness of Forgetting

2nd. Jamie McGuire Beautiful Disaster

3rd. Cecilia Ahern How to Fall in Love

Erotik / Erotic Novels

1st. Sylvia Day Crossfire – Bared to You

2nd. Abbi Glines Fallen Too Far

3rd. Samantha Young On Dublin Street

Historische Romane / Historical Fiction

1st. Rebecca Gablé Das Haupt der Welt

2nd. Daniel Wolf Das Salz der Erde

3rd. Elisabeth Büchle Sturmwolken am Horizont

Humor

1st. Loriot Spätlese

2nd. Michael Frey Dodillet Herrchenglück

3rd. Bastian Sick Wir braten gern!

Sachbuch und Ratgeber / Nonfiction

1st. Barbara Stäcker Nana – …der Tod trägt Pink

2nd. Attila Hildmann Vegan for Youth

3rd. James Bowen A Street Cat Named Bob

Bestes Hörbuch / Best Audio Book

1st. Jojo Moyes Me Before You

2nd. Rita Falk Sauerkrautkoma

3rd. Cornelia Funke Inkheart

Bester Buchtitel / Best Book Title

The voters voted for the German book title, thats why I’ll put that one first. Then I’ll give you the original English title and after that a translation of the German title.

1st. Ali Shaw Der Mann, der den Regen träumt (The Man Who Rained though the German title translates to The Man Who Dreams the Rain)

2nd. Jonas Jonasson Die Analphabetin, die rechnen konnte (The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden the German title translates to The Illiterate (Girl/Woman) Who Could Calculate.

3rd. Marina Lewycka Die Werte der modernen Welt unter Berücksichtigung diverser Kleintiere (Various Pets Alive and Dead the German title translates to The Values of the Modern World Considering Various Pets)

Bestes Buchcover / Best Book Cover

1st. M. L. Stedman The Light Between Oceans (German Cover as depicted on Lovelybooks)

2nd. Noelia Blanco Im Garten der Pusteblumen

3rd. Kiera Cass The Selection

Beliebtester LovelyBooks Autor / Most Popular LovelyBooks Author

1st. Kerstin Gier

2nd. Ursula Poznanski

3rd. Kai Meyer

I noticed that there is a lot of young adult fiction and series in these categories. So both are still quite popular. I don’t seem to be quite mainstream, as my personal favorites didn’t make it to the top three in their categories. Me Before You is the winner of the Novel category though 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this one, next post will be promised interview!

Lovelybooks Leserpreis Awards

Hey you,

I have great news for you, you’ll get an interview real soon 🙂 YAY! But now back to business 😉

You probably all know Goodreads Choice Awards (winners of 2013 will be announced on December 3rd) but do you know Lovelybooks Leserpreis awards? Well it’s basically the same concept. Readers vote for their favorite reads of the past year in different categories. BUT: There are no restrictions whatsoever concerning the country of publication. The books contain German-language publications as well as numerous translations. You can even nominate foreign language publications in the nomination round. The only restriction is that the books must be first-time publications in either hardcover, paperback or e-book format that have been published between December 1, 2012 and November 30, 2013.

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The nomination round ended last week. The final round is on right now and voting is open until November 28 11:59 p.m. German time (23:59 for our German readers). There is a countdown on the homepage.

I think we’ll just have a look at the categories on offer:

Romane / Novels

I guess this one is pretty self-explanatory. Everything that doesn’t fall into one of the other categories, or is a mix, or is so good that you want it here as well :D. At least that is what I think. In the nomination round, I voted for my favorite, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (It’s called Die Unvollendete in German). Unfortunately, and I don’t really get why, it wasn’t among the 35 nominees for the final round. So in the final round, I voted for another favorite this year: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (Das Licht Zwischen den Meeren in German).

Krimis und Thriller / Crime Novels & Thrillers

As I’m not into crime novels or thrillers, I didn’t vote in this category.

Fantasy

I can’t remember if I nominated an English-language novel in the first round. The fantasy books I’ve read this year either haven’t been translated to German yet, or they haven’t been that good. Nooo, you know what I did? I just remembered. I nominated Life After Life AGAIN 😀 Because it’s also fantasy. Kind of. lol I didn’t vote in the final round though. Nothing there to vote for me. Though I wish I had finally time to start reading Ben Aaronovitch!

Science Fiction

I nominated The Humans by Matt Haig. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it to the final round. The book wasn’t released in German yet, so nobody read it. Poop. Nothing to vote for me in the final round 😉

Jugendbücher / Young Adult

Booming YA genre. I left this one to the experts 🙂

Kinderbücher / Children’s Books

I love children’s books. But I mostly read the backlist. And I haven’t read Fortunately The Milk (Neil Gaiman) yet. Not that it would matter, as it hasn’t been translated to German and it probably wouldn’t have made it to the final round. BUT: I promise, I’ll vote for it next year if I think it worthy 🙂

Liebesromane / Romance

Aaaah l’amour. This time, I nominated Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You (G: Ein Ganzes Halbes Jahr) and guess what? Something weird happened. It didn’t make it to the final round in the romance category but it made it to the final round in the novel category. And just so you know, Jojo Moyes is nominated twice in that category in the final round! Jup. The second novel being The Girl You Left Behind (G: Eine Handvoll Worte). So I couldn’t vote for her in that final round anymore. Sorry. And I had nothing left to vote for in romance either.

Erotik / Erotic Novels

Left that one to the experts. 😉

Historische Romane / Historical Fiction

Aaah I did it again 😉 ‘Cause you know, Life After Life is historical fiction. But, as nobody seems to like Kate Atkinson (these people really don’t know what the good stuff is), I voted for Liz Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things (G: Das Wesen der Dinge und der Liebe) in the final round.

Humor

I’m quite shocked but it seems like I don’t read much funny stuff.

Sachbuch und Ratgeber / Nonfiction

I can’t remember what book I nominated. It didn’t make it to the final round. 😦 I haven’t read any of the nominated books.

Bestes Hörbuch / Best Audio Book

I haven’t listened to an eligible audio book. But you have to go and listen to Miranda Hart’s Is It Just Me? It’s hilarious!

Bester Buchtitel / Best Book Title

I enjoyed this category. I didn’t need to know the books, I had something to think about and I chose a title that made it to the final round. Die Inneren Werte von Tanjas BH by Alex Haas. The title roughly translates to The Inner Values of Tanja’s Bra. I love it 😀

Bestes Buchcover / Best Book Cover

This one is tough but great. As I was already in a wintry mood, I originally nominated the cover of Alexi Zentner’s Touch. Unfortunately it isn’t there anymore so I had to find something else in the final round. I decided on Titus Müller’s Der Schneekristallforscher.

Beliebtester LovelyBooks Autor / Most Popular LovelyBooks Author

A very nice category but I don’t feel qualified to vote here. 🙂

As you can see, there is a lot to vote for. If you don’t speak German this might have been a quick glimpse at German/Austrian voting culture, or at what I voted for in particular :D. I tried to make it as entertaining as possible.

If you found one or more of your favorites in the above categories, go vote for them and maybe you’re lucky and they win. Just click the picture below or click on the categories above.

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On Friday, November 29 Lovelybooks will announce the winners of this year’s Lovelybooks Leserpreis awards! Who will they be?