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
I write reviews to help readers, not to win votes. My reviews are my honest opinion whether popular or not. I hope they help you. ;)
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.
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
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.
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
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.
This is a great series in the Urban Fantasy genre and this is the best of the (currently) four books in the series.
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.
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.
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.
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)
I'm a Sculptor of toothpicks.
I've read through the previous books in this series as fast as I could and really loved every one though this one was probably my favourite as many of my curious questions were answered about Peter Grant and Nightingale and Leslie and now I crave more answers so I hope the wait isn't too long!
Excellent ending too! Didn't expect any of it and had to re-listen just to curb my astonishment as it was hard to grasp that bit at the end!
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!
I've been checking Audible almost daily since the book came out. I'm glad to say I didn't have to wait too long. Once again Ben A. takes us on a thrilling ride. Some reviewers have said this story is scattered, but I say go with it and enjoy the different tangents. Ultimately, you will be gobsmacked by the ending. I can't imagine this series without Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's remarkable performance. I believe this is Holdbrook-Smith's best performance ever. He's amazing and you can tell he really enjoys reading these stories.The only negative is that we have to wait for the next one to come out.
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