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.
©2012 Ben Aaronvitch (P)2012 Tantor
I really think that I'd find these books frustrating if I wasn't listening to them as audiobooks. The narrator has an amazing voice, and provides a wonderful performance full of UK accents (though his American accents are pretty atrocious). His performance adds a lot of charm to the book, hitting the dry humor perfectly and adding the correct emphasis. I love all the London slang.
That said, I lost the plot of this book repeatedly. I couldn't remember why the characters were investigating certain places or people at all, but I just swept along completely entertained anyway. Peter Grant is totally likeable, the Folly and Nightingale are interesting, and Leslie May is a wonderful foil to Peter.
I enjoyed the history and exploration of the underground tunnels, and the unusual discoveries there. The bad guys in this book were very much white collar criminals, despite the book opening with a murder... which was a relief after all the faces falling off in book 2 and the deaths in book 3. Peter doesn't seem to be progressing in his magical studies very far, but I like the scientific approach he is making to his studies, trying to understand how magic works and expirimenting with it. That makes the reader feel like they are learning along with him, and it lends believability to the magic system and its existence in a very real contemporary world.
Hopefully if you're reading this review, you have already finished the first two books. If so, fear not, this book is even better than the first two. Notably it is easier to follow, and if you are like me, you will be a little worried about the synopsis's mention of the FBI agent. I'm not sure why she is even mentioned, as she is at best a minor character, at worst completely pointless. The point is, she does not detract from the book.
As I mentioned this book is easier to follow than the previous two. I also noticed something special about this book and the series. Each book sets out to build the world, while at the same time building a mystery up. The mystery is equal parts whodunit and police procedural. During all of this the narrator in the form of Peter Grant is just amazing with his random distractions and off topic musings. Funny, hilarious, enjoyable.
I highly recommend this book and series to pretty much anyone. Please do yourself a favor and pick it up.
P.S. If you are wondering why I don't give it a 5 star, while incredibly enjoyable it doesn't check the boxes, namely making me think about it constantly when I'm not reading it, that make me give books 5 stars.
There's something or someone in the London Underground. After the body is found in the Tube, Peter Grant is called in because something's just not right about the crime scene from the perspective of the regular cops. This story has a little bit of everything - art, romance, humor, death, and mole people. I would highly recommend it and all of the books in this series. If you haven't read one yet, they are a combination of Harry Potter, Dr. Who, and Sherlock Holmes.
This series is just remarkable. Peter Grant continues to learn and encounter "uncanny events" that require study and patience. Lesley May is a great "sidekick" who isn't a sidekick. Looking forward to more of her and her progression. Can her face be saved by magic?
Well, Peter is always the best but Zach is a pretty strong character in this book, for a moron, that is.
Always. Kobna's reading of Peter's statement "I had it sorted in 20 because I am just that good" nearly made me wreck the car I laughed so hard!
I just continue to love this series. More history of London, above and below ground. More Seawall, who is a great character, too. Just all around good!
Great story. Read it first but just adore the audible version masterfully narrated by hold brook-smith. Brilliant casting as he masterfully presented unique voices and accents for all the characters. Spot on Nightingale and a darling rendition of Leslie. Oscar! More!
Extremely well written series, funny, clever, and suspenseful. Set in London, England, and the history and cultural references are definitely part of the fun. Reader has a flexible, warm voice, hits the dry humour note-perfect and does the various accents from cockney geezer to Sierra Leone expat quite wonderfully, as far as I can tell. Sub themes of jazz and architecture. Great writing and great reading, and each book digs constable Peter Grant in deeper into a beautifully realized world of magic and policing.
I really enjoyed this story, even though it is a bit darker than the first book! I can't wait to listen to book # 3!
I liked the book but it is the narrator who brings it alive. I can't recommend this series enough for those who like magic, London and quirky mysteries with a good dose of humor.
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