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4.6 out of 5 stars542
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 7 June 2011
Wonderful. Literally wonderful, in the sense that it is full of wonders.

At my age (72) it is increasingly hard to find novels that I actually want to read, and even harder to find novels which I don't give up on after perhaps 50 pages. But this one works all right.

Provided, of course, you know what to expect, and like what you are led to expect. For this is one of those cross-genre books. It's part police-procedural, part fantasy (since it's about magic, and we don't believe in magic, do we? Oh, really?), and part literary; the latter because, for a police constable of modest background and educational attainments, our hero is remarkably erudite. Oh, and there's a wide streak of humour running all the way through it -- humour of that black kind which police officers, A&E doctors, and ambulance men, develop into order to protect themselves from the horrible things they have to deal with.

Fortunately, this is number two in a series, so you can go back and start with number one before getting stuck into this one. And the only thing wrong with a series such as this is that the fact that, as my dear old Mum used to say, they don't write them fast enough.
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on 8 December 2013
Book One in this series introduced some interesting characters and a well-developed premise of a magical branch of the London police. It wasn't perfect, but I really enjoyed it and looked forward to reading the sequel. I was hoping that with the introductions out of the way, the plot would be able to take off and this second instalment might be even better.

On the whole, I think it had the same strengths and weaknesses as the first book.

The positives were a clever and internally consistent system of magic, an engaging and fully fleshed out hero and well-developed supporting characters, and a dry and very British humour reminiscent of early Terry Pratchett.

What worked less well for me, in both the first book but perhaps more so in this instalment, was the plot, which felt very convoluted and just didn't quite seem to hang together quite right. There are hints of a deeper underlying plot arc, but for the moment, it still feels quite episodic. In the case of this book, I also found a new character - half love interest, half potential suspect - significantly less compelling than most of the cast. I found the hero's reactions to her unrealistic, and it almost dulled my adoration of him.

Overall then, I'm still enjoying the series and will definitely read the next one at some point, but I'm finding myself frustrated with the way it's not quite living up to its initial promise or to some of the flashes of brilliance sprinkled through the plot. I was torn between 3 stars or 4, and have erred on the side of generosity, possibly swayed by the introduction of an evil wizard tutor at Magdalen, my old Oxford college!
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'Moon Over Soho' is the second book in Ben Aaronovitch's PC Peter Grant series. If you haven't read the first, Rivers of London (Rivers of London 1) I would recommend doing so before tackling this volume as it picks up pretty much where the last one left off.

Having greatly enjoyed Rivers of London I was inevitably worried that the follow-up wouldn't succeed in replicating the first book's strengths. It turns out that my concerns were unfounded; not only is Moon Over Soho just as good as its predecessor, it actually smooths out some of the flaws that were present in Rivers of London.

For start the plot it neater, with a far tighter (if somewhat open) ending. Secondly it avoids the OTT action that peppered Rivers of London and challenged my suspension of disbelief. There's no shortage of action on display in Moon Over Soho, but no repeat of the Covent Garden riot from Rivers.

The rest of the book maintains the nice balance of police procedural, urban fantasy and love letter to London. As with Rivers there's a genuine sense of the magical to Aaronovitch's writing, both in the fantasy elements and the way he conjures up a vivid and colourful portrait of contemporary London. You can almost taste and smell the real Soho emerging from the book's pages and the spookier parts of the story are sometimes genuinely unsettling. One scene where Grant and Nightingale uncover a twisted Soho nightclub is truly creepy.

Being a second book in an ongoing series, with the main characters and basic setting established, Moon Over Soho allows the author to further explore the world he has created and develop his protagonists, all of which he does without slowing down the plot or revealing too much, too soon. By the end of the book you have a better insight into the realm Peter Grant has entered, but also the certainty that you've only scratched the surface.

The book isn't perfect of course, and Aaronovitch does stumble in a couple of areas. Grant himself remains a bit of weak link. Whilst his magical skills are growing and he's a tenacious copper when in pursuit of a bad guy, he also manages to behave stupidly on more than one occasion and misses vital clues that are staring him right in the face. He's useful as the reader's guide to a hidden and mysterious world, but it would be nice if he could be a bit smarter.

I could also have done without his romantic involvement with the mysterious Simone. Not only did the liaison feel implausible, since it was obvious from the get go that there was more to her than she was letting on, but the repeated sex scenes did begin to have the whiff of the author playing out his personal fantasies on the page, which is never good.

However this was the only part of the book that didn't really work for me and wasn't enough to spoil my enjoyment. With both the main plot's semi-open ending and the book's final scene setting up plenty of future developments, this is a series with a great deal of promise.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 June 2012
It's a truism that everyone has a book in them, or a tune, or something. But doing it twice, successfully, is much harder. Hence the 'Second Album' syndrome that has afflicted so many musicians.
This is Ben Aaronovitches second book in the 'Rivers of London' series, but far from his second effort. There are a lot of Doctor Who and Blakes Seven credits (amongst others) on his Wikipedia page. Which probably helps to explain why it is so good.
The musical allusion is a fair cop, too. Since our protagonist is a cop with a deep background in Jazz - his dad is a jazz legend in his own lifetime. Some very tasty riffs being played on this association in 'Moon over Soho'.
Not to forget that this (like the previous volume 'Rivers of London') is a romp around the capital city with a heavy emphasis on the magical aspects that most people never see - policed by the inhabitants of 'The Folly', the UK Police answer to magical criminals.
The skeleton of the book is sound, but it is the writing and characterisation that seduces. This second volume was at least as enjoyable as the first one. Recommended!
The Third volume is due soon - it's called 'Whispers Under Ground'.
I can't wait.
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The second book by Ben to feature his Paranormal Wizard Apprentice Copper, Peter Grant, who this time is thrust into a case that may be too close to home for comfort. As with the original, the sheer scope of this book is amazing, the characters are refreshingly believable and when you add into it quirky twists on already familiar area's of London which will leave the readers clamouring for more.

The prose is light and manageable, the characters outstanding and all in the overall arc is one that will lead the readers to demanding a new title sooner rather than later as Peter and Nightingales own Sith seem to be emerging from the background. All in, this book has been very cleverly done which when added to a wonderful reading experience made this a title that was very hard to put down. If there's only one new author you try this year in the Urban Fantasy genre, make it Aaronovitch, the skills and pace will leave you wondering exactly what spell he's woven within these pages.
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In this speedy and welcome follow up to Rivers of London there is a new problem for our hero copper, PC Peter Grant, to investigate. Being an apprentice wizard in a Police department of two ain't easy.
Here the problem appears to be Jazz Vampires and the only expert that may be able to help is Peter's Dad. As always the problem is a little more complex then that, and this is a welcome follow up to Rivers of London. It does not have the originality of Rivers, but it is still a great page turner with a real feel of London and a light and engaging touch.
Very enjoyable indeed and will further enhance the author's well earned reputation.
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on 21 May 2012
I read the prequel to this book (Rivers of London) on the back of rave reviews from most of the newspapers. They weren't wrong! This follow-on book (Moon over Soho) is just as good. It is mixed with suspense, humour and magic! I like the references to 'Harry Potter' and Hogwarts with regard to our hero's Wizard mentor Inspector Nightingale. The story starts with detective Constable Peter Grant investigating the mysterious deaths of a number of talented Jazz players in various clubs in and around Soho. Subsequent analysis of the victim's brains shows the involvement of magic. Ben Aaronovitch weaves the story of magic, magical creatures and Wizards around a dark story of suspicious murders with real conviction. The book is written with a wonderful knowledge of London that gives the reader historical facts and stories of the various locations making the whole experience more enjoyable.
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Second volume in the 'Peter Grant' series of urban fantasy crime novels. All about a member of the Metropolitan Police who joins a special department of the force which deal with the supernatural.

This follows on from the first book Rivers of London: 1. Despite a bit of exposition, new readers might find themselves rather confused. So you're best off starting with that one.

Those who have, read on.

This volume runs for three hundred and seventy three pages. It's divided into fourteen chapters.

It does, as before, contain some strong language, gory moments and violence. But on this occasion scenes of an adult nature also.

At the start of the book, Peter is still learning magic. And he and others are still dealing the events of the first volume. Which commendably, it doesn't forget or have anyone get over in a hurry.

Then he finds something is stalking Soho. And killing Jazz musicians.

Peter's family history gives him connections into that world. But these aren't the only strange deaths in the capital...

It's the mixture as before. A book so convincingly set in London, and also one that gives you lots of fascinating and well researched information about the workings of the Police and life in the city.

It juggles, once again, investigations with wizardly training. Peter develops steadily enough in the latter respect over the course of this book. But since it's clear he's still got a lot to learn, you get the feeling there's much more to come. But also that you get just the right amount of development here. Also in regards to the history of the Folly as well, as he learns a few things about that and about Nightingale.

This does balance everything very well in the first third of the book, but then other investigations intrude. It never quite loses focus, though. And since real Police would have more than one case on the go at the same time, it's believable.

There is a pretty decent resolution to things in the final third. Which does seem also to be setting some stuff up for future volumes. There's also some good moral food for thought for the reader to consider as well.

A good sequel. If you were into the first book this one should work for you equally well. And it - and the ending -will make you want to read the next one.
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on 10 March 2013
Moon Over Soho picks up a few weeks (possibly months) after Rivers of London. The consequences of that story are still with us and make for a touching and sensitive opening chapter. However Peter Grant is still a police officer and trainee wizard, so when jazz musicians in London start to die of apparently "natural causes" he has to investigate. Oh, and we discover that Grant's father was a musician. His speciality? Jazz.

So I loved Rivers of London and the follow up didn't disappoint. It had the same wise-cracking main character narration and a similarly complex plot that weaves through both the everyday and other-worldly versions of London, leavened with some real London history/geography/trivia thrown in. A couple of differences: first there was more left open at the end of this book. It was a complete case and the investigation comes to a definite conclusion but there are elements that will no doubt be picked up in book 3 (and beyond?). I suspect with have met Grant's nemesis, his Moriarty if you will. I think this is probably because with the success of book 1 Aaronovitch probably has the freedom to plan a few books ahead and so is able to have an on-going component as well as the story of the book itself.

A second difference is the amount of sex in this book. Now the previous book certainly has some sexy characters and a fair amount of unresolved tension between the same but in this book there's some definite `resolving' going on. This was neither too explicit nor too coy and without giving anything away it did add to the plot. Plus, like the humour, it adds to the fun of the story.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 January 2013
Moon Over Soho is the second in the PC Grant series that follows a detective who has been apprenticed after showing signs of magical ability. This book follows the mysterious deaths of Jazz musicians in Soho alongside another set of murders. The same characters are back (minus Beverley Brook sadly but lets hope she is back at one point) and PC Grant also has a love interest. It follows on from the last book and is set a couple of months after that one.

The first book was a good read and almost felt like a young adult book at times. This one doesn't. This is mainly due to the more explicit descriptions (ok they are not that explicit but you wouldn't get it in a YA book) in the book. The procedural police details are as good as ever and without giving anything away this has introduced elements which may well be felt for books to come. The murders can get a little confusing and hard to follow and this led me to struggle at times with the book and getting going with it. However, the last third is a great read and I found it hard to put down. The humour is as good as ever and the descriptions of London will ring true with a lot of people who know the areas - I particularly liked the description of The Brunswick Centre. Its well written and the style of humour and tongue in cheek delivery is something I really enjoyed in the first book and this one.

Overall its a very good book. I can't quite remember the last time I read through the final third of a book so quickly. I just struggled a bit with the plotting in the middle third. This series continues to deliver though and for those who like their mysteries, humour and quirkiness then this series promises much and this book delivers.
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