Review – Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch


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.



Review – Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch


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.



Incoming ARC – A Thousand Perfect Things

Thanks to Premier Digital Publishing, I got my hands on an ARC of Kay Kenyon‘s A Thousand Perfect Things.

Image linked from Kay Kenyon¹

I started reading a couple of days ago and the story sucked me in instantly 🙂

Summary quoted from Kay Kenyon¹:

In an alternate 19th century, there are two warring continents on an reimagined earth: the scientific Anglica (England) and magical Bharata (India). Emboldened by her grandfather’s final whispered secret of a magical lotus, Tori Harding, a young Victorian woman and aspiring botanist, must journey to Bharata, with its magics, intrigues and ghosts, to claim her fate. There she will face a choice between two suitors and two irreconcilable realms.