Monday, March 24, 2014

Broken Homes: By Ben Aaronovitch



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.

For those that don’t know Broken Homs is the forth book in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series. This urban fantasy series is perfect for fans of Jim Butcher and Benedict Jacka (and fans of Aaronovitch should check out Jacka if they haven’t read his books either).

The first thing that I have to say about Broken Homes is that this is the first book that really extends the story arc from that of an episodic story with slight ties between books to that of a larger mystery that leaves readers eagerly awaiting more. Now, readers should be forewarned to pull off this transformation from episodic to building interconnected series Broken Homes ends with a huge cliff hanger that leave many readers groaning that they have to wait until the next book to see how it is resolved.

Besides this change in the story arc itself readers are treated to a larger dose of emotional confliction from Leslie which really helped build her into a much more three dimensional character. Of course, another added bonus of Broken Homes was finally getting to see Nightingale face off against someone, well sort of (the action takes place off screen) but considering I really want to see what he can do I like the direction that Aaronovitch is going with this.

All in all, Broken Homes is a great book. It has more action than the last book in the series, Whispers Under Ground, and it adds more to the larger plot and mystery that previous books in the series have only hinted at. It is well paced and as with each book in the series relationships become more complicated and characters are further developed. As mentioned before the only major downside is the cliffhanger at the end, but luckily the author and publisher planned for this as the next book in the series, Foxglove Summer, is scheduled to be released October 7th in the US, which is not that long of a wait.


Publisher: DAW

Published: February 4, 2014

Price: $7.99

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