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
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
The fabulous Lesley May in spite of her terrible tribulations has returned and I was glad to have her back. The spontaneity of Peter's character really works better with a more thoughtful type character like Lesley as counterweight. There are plots and subplots working in Whispers that had me a bit confused at times - there's a Taiwanese woman introduced briefly that had no connection to anything going on and a few other rabbit trails that the author may intend to pick up later but kind of muddled things for now. But it got sorted out fairly well by the end, the magical system seems to be coming together better with this third book, and the resolution to the murder of James Gallagher was quite good.
The sex scenes and rather icky fiend attacking men's groins that I disliked in Book 2 are gone.and we get our first American character. I was a bit concerned initially that Special Agent Kimberly Reynolds was going to be one of those "ugly Americans" that often turn up in the novels of European authors, but was happily surprised that she was not and her character added some interesting nuance to several scenes.
Aaronovitch has set up a structure that will support a LOT more stories if he wants to keep going (Book 4 due out later this year). There is so much more to learn about Nightingale, Molly, the river gods/goddesses, the interaction of magic and physics, and even Toby. And, of course, I will be watching to see what happens with Lesley now that she is apprenticed to Nightingale and has a huge motive to push the limits of magic.
As another reviewer noted, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith really doesn't do a great American accent (or Canadian either for that matter). However, he does do distinct voices for all characters so that you can easily tell who is talking and I still think he's a perfect voice for the character of Peter.
I am enjoying this series and recommend it. Dresden Files fans are likely to find it familiar fun.
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
This third book in the Peter Grant series is the best so far. Peter now has a friend and co-worker in the Folly, Constable Lesley May (former victim of magic and now learning to be a practitioner). While their boss Nightingale is searching for the illegally trained and unlicensed wizards in Britain in order to catch the "Faceless Man," Peter and Lesley encounter ghosts, semi-feys, fairies, elves, goblins, River spirits, a rogue FBI agent from the US, and all the regular (ordinary?) characters.
As usual, the story is told with great panache, wit, and humor, providing many laugh-out-loud moments. Author Ben Aaronovitch displays in these books an almost unbelievable breadth of imagination, and delights me when he comes up with a really fresh twist on the existence and coexistence of magical and non-magical elements in current-day London. His inventiveness and humor sometimes call to mind the very different, but also wildly inventive, humor of Jasper Fforde in the Thursday Next novels.
I am already impatient for the next installment of Peter Grant's adventures. Long may he live to have many, many more.
I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.
Yes, this is a great read and the narrarator does a bang up job!
Kind of Neal Gaiman meets Jim Butcher with a little Harry Potter thrown in for flavor.
The narrator performed the other two books in this series and continues to do a great job. I would listen to this guy on any other books gladly.
The impact of the damages on Leslie May was touching. It also shows that sometimes you have to pay a price for the good guys to win.
The series has steadily improved so far. I look forward to the next book which is availabble in the UK but not here (BOO!).
I wasn't sure what to do with the first book (somewhat misdirected expectations, a la other reader's reviews). The second book came via a sale...so I read it. Wow. Not mind boggling, just very nice. I KNEW where to put it now (in my mind): An Entertaining Read. By the time I finished book 3, I must admit to a bit of disappointment that book 4 is not out YET. LOL. This series is Very Nice and Quite Enjoyable...like a cup of very good, strong dark coffee (or, I guess "tea" would be more appropriate). Nothing over-the-top, but still QUITE hilarious. AND, nicely subtle. Police procedure is followed, witticisms flow and fantastical details... accumulate in a British sort of way....
The narrator does an excellent job with all of the different character voices. But like an earlier reviewer, his American accent needs some work.
I've listened to the entire series, and the stories are very good. However, Aaronovitch leaves quite a few plot holes, and sometimes assumes the reader has a set of knowledge about wizardry that doesn't need to be explained. I'd like more detail or explanation in some areas.
In all three of these books, the audio editing was sloppy. Several times, a section repeated, or a gap was left while it went straight to the next chapter.
Inventive concept of modern police utilizing magic
Yes, but I don't allow myself to do so.
I've listened to the rest of the series, and I rather like them. Which is surprising, because when you look at the covers and you read the descriptions, they seem a little corny and quite possibly stupid. But they're not. The books are no Harry Potter Series (Numerous puns exist in the book though,) and they're not anything like Steig Larsson, but enjoyable none the less. Nothing heavy, but if you're listening while running (as I do,) it'll hook you into extending your workout longer than you planned. My only complaint is that Mr. Holdbrook-Smith, though he's very talented with all the other accents, has an awful time with the American accent. Some advice: We Americans do not have colds, and people with a Midwestern accent don't nearly leave out as many 't's and 'r's as you think. At first, I couldn't figure out what he was doing- until he told me about the nationality of the particular character. But that is the only complaint I have. A good book, well worth the member price.
This was the first audiobook I bought that I had not already read - I enjoyed it very much. The narrator was perfect! His voice was dead on how I thought Peter should sound and the story was another excellent tale by Ben Aaronovitch. I can't wait for the next one.
The interplay between Peter and the other Police offers.
When Peter is talking to Leslie and he realizes he read her expression on her face.
Wonderful series with the perfect narrator!
The story and characters are progressing at a pace that's easy to follow. I appreciate that he slowly learns things. Unlike a movie or book where they suddenly become an expert. Only thing, narrators American accent needs a LOT of work. It was almost comical! I've heard British people complain about bad accents done by Americans, but this is the first time I've ever seen it go the other way! I enjoyed his other character enough that I can overlook it though. I really like the narrator. I've overlooked some truly horrible English and Irish accents in other books that I love.
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.
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