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Broken Homes: A Rivers of London Novel | [Ben Aaronovitch]

Broken Homes: A Rivers of London Novel

My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame - whatever that is. Truth be told, there's a lot I still don't know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England's wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician's apprentice. But even he doesn't have all the answers. Mostly I'm just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast.
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Publisher's Summary

My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame - whatever that is.

Truth be told, there's a lot I still don't know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England's wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician's apprentice. But even he doesn't have all the answers. Mostly I'm just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast. With the new year, I have three main objectives, a) pass the detective exam so I can officially become a DC, b) work out what the hell my relationship with Lesley Mai, an old friend from the force and now fellow apprentice, is supposed to be, and most importantly, c) get through the year without destroying a major landmark.

Two out of three isn’t bad, right?

A mutilated body in Crawley means another murderer is on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil, who may either be a common serial killer or an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man - a man whose previous encounters I've barely survived. I've also got a case about a town planner going under a tube train and another about a stolen grimoire.

But then I get word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans, and inhabited by the truly desperate. If there's a connection to the Crawley case, I'll be entering some tricky waters of juristiction with the local river spirits. We have a prickly history, to say the least.

Just the typical day for a magician constable.

©2014 Ben Aaronovitch (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

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  •  
    Cliff madison, MS, United States 02-14-14
    Cliff madison, MS, United States 02-14-14 Member Since 2009

    I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Finally, it's out!"

    I had been really looking forward to this one for a long time. Just the facft that I read this one so soon after it came out should tell you something. This book goes a long way towards moving the over-arching story of the series forward. It is good, but is different than the oteher books. The story is less focused, more of a day in the life with a lot of what appear to unrelated instances tying together at the end. I didn't care for the style as much as the prior books. The thing is there is a twist at the end that makes this one totally worth it. The narrarator is top notch. If you like the others in this series you will like this one though it may take a little bit of getting used to.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 02-24-14
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 02-24-14 Member Since 2011

    Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Series Getting Even Better!"


    Somehow, I missed the release of Broken Homes, and just happened to see it when browsing a few days ago. I instantly snapped it up and began listening immediately. As you will see from my previous reviews, I love the Peter Grant series, and I think Ben Aaronovitch is the most creative, imaginative and entertaining writer I have run into in a long time.

    I see from the current reviews of this book that there is some difference of opinion about the story of Broken Homes. I am one of those who think this book is as good as the first in the series, and that's saying a lot. This story is different from the previous books, which had pretty linear stories. In Broken Homes, there are numerous story lines going on at the same time, and the reader can't be certain which of those stories (if any) have anything to do with what emerges as the main storyline. So, you are taken along on several roller coasters at once, having to trust that things will come together in the end (at least some things).

    Ordinarily, books like that drive me crazy, but in this case each separate storyline is so amusing and so much fun that I forget to worry about the end. Many characters from previous books in the series appear in Broken Homes, both friend and foe, and not many new characters are presented for you to keep track of. The members of the Folly seem to be getting more settled and together, and are actually able to work together without having huge fights. Arch-villain The Faceless Man remains the primary evil opponent, and is suitably vile both in person and through representatives.

    Then, near the end, there is a huge twist in the plot which puts everything you think you know about this story at a new angle, and I, for one, was left in shock, mouth hanging open.

    As with the previous books, I will say: READ THIS BOOK! But only after you have read the previous books in the Peter Grant series. That is really necessary to get the real flavor of the characters and their relationships.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Chamblee, GA, United States 02-17-14
    Jonathan Chamblee, GA, United States 02-17-14 Member Since 2010

    knightflight

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The return of Peter Grant Wizard/Policeman"
    Where does Broken Homes rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a great series in the Urban Fantasy genre and this is the best of the (currently) four books in the series.


    What other book might you compare Broken Homes to and why?

    If you like the Dresden Files books you should do yourself a favor and listen to this book (and the related series). It is the ongoing story of an Apprentice Wizard who is also a Police officer for the London Metropolitan Police force. It is almost (but not quite) a police procedural with magic.


    What about Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s performance did you like?

    Kobna Holdbrook-Smith should be reading anything and everything that requires a British accent he is a brilliant vocal talent. He really brings the characters to life.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I could have listed to this whole book without stopping and found myself extending my walk/drive/other activity so that I could listen to more.


    Any additional comments?

    I will say (without spoilers) that when you get to the twist in the last quarter of the book that I was stunned speechless and now curse that the book is over and I will have to wait for the next one (whenever that is)

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlie Russel Sunshine Coast, BC, CA 06-29-14
    Charlie Russel Sunshine Coast, BC, CA 06-29-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Wonderful, just wonderful"

    I started reading the Peter Grant/Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch based on a friend's recommendation, and I admit, I wasn't really expecting much. But boy, was I wrong. These are excellent police procedurals, set in modern London, but with magic added to the mix. The characters are vivid, interesting, and believable, and it's a real pleasure to have the protagonist be a constable, not a DCI; a working class person, not posh; and a person of colour, not white.

    The narrator, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is PERFECT for the books and adds to the enjoyment of the story. Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sires Chesapeake, OH, United States 02-17-14
    Sires Chesapeake, OH, United States 02-17-14 Member Since 2004

    I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.

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    "Narrator 5 Stars as Before Story a Bit Wonky"

    I've bought and loved all of the prior Peter Grant. Even in one case when I had been given an ARC of Midnight Riot (the US title for the first Peter Grant book) I also bought the Audible download because of the excellent narration by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Therefore it pains me a great deal to have to say that I do not think this story is quite up to the standard of the first three.

    There's a lack of cohesion to the plot which bounces around from story line to story line without settling down. Then I didn't find the ending particularly satisfying. There's a big unanswered question at the end. If you need to be spoiled before starting the book look at the Amazon reviews. Look for the review that Tells All.

    Quite liked the title given the theme of the novel and Peter gets to display his architectural background as well as some fascinating tidbits about London. Numerous characters from past books make appearances. Although the story line about the Faceless Man moves forward a bit, it also started to feel like there were too many characters.

    New readers go back to the first book and start there. You need to be invested in the characters and the story before you can really appreciate this one.

    I also saw where the series has been optioned for television. I would be really pleased if it did go into production.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jennifer MESA, AZ, United States 05-11-14
    jennifer MESA, AZ, United States 05-11-14 Member Since 2010
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    "OMG How will I survive until the next book?"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Broken Homes to be better than the print version?

    The Narrator keeps me grounded in the differing accents of the characters... adding a level of complexity I might have missed had I read the book in my own American accent in my head.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    YES, it was hard to stop.


    Any additional comments?

    Book three was not as great as the first two, leading me to wonder whether Mr Aaronovitch was having difficulty maintaining his commitments. This book brought me back as thoroughly as PC Grant escorting a suspect in for questioning. Do not miss this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Sausalito, CA, United States 04-28-14
    Leslie Sausalito, CA, United States 04-28-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Excellent narration, compelling characters"

    I really love this series and think this is one you want to listen to rather than read. Definitely start at the beginning of the series for full enjoyment.

    Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is an astounding narrator who brings the main character to life and also does an amazing job with a very large range of characters of different ages, genders, classes, and ethnicities. He can go from a gay, Filipino guy from San Francisco to an African matron, to an upper crust, elderly British man in a heartbeat.

    I have to agree with other reviewers that the story often has so many different story threads and characters that it can get confusing at times. My advice is to pay attention to names or you may find yourself half way through and wondering - "Wait, who the heck is that again?" I also agree with another reviewer that the story is so delightful anyway, just enjoy the ride.

    As far as the surprise twist at the end: it's a believable outcome, but at the same time, am I the only one thinking "Wait a minute, does this really make sense in the story? Why would they have done x, y and z if that was the case? (Don't want to give you any spoilers!)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Chesterton, IN, United States 04-22-14
    Ellen Chesterton, IN, United States 04-22-14 Member Since 2008

    I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Homes sweet Homes"

    This is a delight of a series and this book is a great addition to that. It's some very funny bits about housing developements as well. The language in this is a treat.
    I'm also very much enjoying the build up of the rivers of London as a series. It's a cool idea that just expands into better and better things.
    This novel, like a river, rambles a bit which is why I docked one star. It's a bit harder to follow, but it's still a treat.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    motown Bangor, Maine 03-12-14
    motown Bangor, Maine 03-12-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing"

    Holdbrook-Smith is the best narrator I have ever listened to (and I have listened to many!). I was a bit more leary of this book because the other reviews mentioned that it was different from the first three. I am SO glad that I downloaded this book. It is a great book and I completely did not see the ending coming. Ben Aaronovitch is an amazing author. I can't believe I now have to wait for the next book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leanna Seattle, WA United States 09-24-14
    Leanna Seattle, WA United States 09-24-14 Member Since 2008

    I love to read, but I am time-limited. Audible allows me to keep up with all my favorite authors while on the hiking trail. Thanks, Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great series!"
    Any additional comments?

    Great melding of language, acting, and writing. Doesn't get old. Can't wait for the next book. Read it. You will like it. I love it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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