Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny.
Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.
©2011 Ben Aaronvitch (P)2012 Tantor
This is similar in tone to the Dresden files but is much better written. The characters are strongly written and quite different those of the Dresden files. Also, the novel gives a the reader a nice flavor of present day London. The city itself is the setting and is also an integral part of the plotting and and characters of the novel.
The narrator gets 5 stars. He can mimic almost any type of accent and his voice is as malleable as clay.
The characters were interesting and you really liked them. I liked the spin on wizards. I am HUGE Harry Potter fan and devour fantasy and mystery books. Laughed out loud whenever he said you mean a wizard like Harry Potter?
Peter Grant of course!
Yes. I listened to all 5 books straight through.
I was super sad at the end of the 5th book. I need 5 more!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It's funny and brilliant. Although my logical left brain told me every premise in the book is beyond ridiculous, I found myself holding out my hand and thinking "lux!" Just in case, ya know, I might actually feel a small tingle.
Not a deep, thought-provoking story. Just fun and silly and completely captivating.
This was the closest to the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher that I have come so far. It's a police procedural, with the protagonist being a British constable who discovers that magic is real and that some of the crimes he is investigating are really caused by things that go bump in the night. The book is set in London, by someone that really knows London. It has the feel of London, with the racial diversity, British slang, young Brit way of life (clubs, pubs, kebabs, curries, and flats with laundry on the floor), and a generous dollop of well-researched London history. I very much enjoyed the idea of the Thames and its "daughter" waterways being manifested by human-seeming spirits with distinct personalities and agendas. There is a lot of (dry or earthy) humor and humanity in the writing, which flows very naturally and is easy to get swept up in. It felt rather Dr. Who-esque. Like Dresden, there is an apprentice system for learning magic, and the protagonist is taken under the wing of an Inspector in a special "supernatural" wing of the constabulary.
What was somewhat lackluster: The pacing was odd. The story ran in fits and starts, with lags here and there. The teacher of our constable is injured and out of commission and thus unable to advise our hero for a big chunk of the book. The ending was rather far-fetched, involving a near-death experiment and time travel that seemed to come out of nowhere. After the ending, there is a bizarre episode after the resolution of the actual main plotline, which felt like the preview chapter of the next book. The main character is a likeable fellow mostly, but is quite juvenile sexually - commenting on cleavage and despite budding relationships with two female characters, is seemingly bumblingly teenage in his thoughts about them. The villian of the piece ends up to be re-enacting the old Punch and Judy tale, which is, quite frankly, ridiculous. It lessened the level of tension inherent in the solving of the crime for me. While I appreciated that the magic system was something that anyone could learn and the magical abilities were kept to a relatively conservative level in power and affect, our hero learned way too fast and too easily for the short period of time covered in the book.
3.5 stars, particularly for the easy, almost effortless style of the writing and the wonderful feel of the London setting. The narration was beautifully done, smooth, with all the right pacing, humor, and sarcasm, and excellent varied accents.
I liked the plot and characters. Could almost call it a British version of Monster Hunters Inc.
The snuffeling and noisy breathing of the narrator got to be a distraction.
All in all an enjoyable book but I won't be rushing out to spend my credits on the sequels.
Loved the story line as it was different from anything else I have read. will likely read more from this author.
Intriguing beginning! A pretty good supernatural police mystery that includes sciency magic, lots of characters that you know must have a story, that English dry humor, and good storytelling. But beware, the narration is fast and breathy so you have to pay attention and it may be a bit harsh through crappy phone speakers, but still worth the credit. I'm giving book 2 in the series a try.
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