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4.6 out of 5 stars444
4.6 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 June 2012
For me, this book (the 3rd in the series to-date) was a much more measured piece of writing than its predecessors. All the regular characters from the previous two instalments are present and fulfil their expected roles in Mr Aaronovitch's magically charged London. Unsurprisingly, the book continues to be written in the first person from the perspective of DC Peter Grant but, unlike the previous books, this one was a bit more crime-novel and a bit less policeman-harry-potter (I hope that makes sense).

The plot is a more magically-subdued murder mystery, in contrast to the previous instalments which, for me, were literary (and thaumaturgical) roller-coaster rides. Don't get me wrong, this is a great book, it has both pace and grip - and I enjoyed it immensely (I read it in about 3 sittings), but now that the core characters are established and the magic is less of a surprise (more an expectation), I found the slightly more down-to-earth plot both excellently constructed and a good way to move the series along.

Peter Grant shows the detective within himself more than the magician. He's beginning to use spells more as tools of an unusual trade rather than for their own sake. He also matures significantly as a character and policeman as the book progresses - leading to the point where he's really in control, and drives the story through his own thoughts and actions.

It was good to see the character of Lesley incorporated into a new setup and not simply discarded after Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London 2)

All in all, I thought it was a really well-executed novel: pacey, gripping and a bit more substance now that the previous material has established a setting and character-list.

If you've not read the first two books - you'd be better off reading them: Rivers of London (Rivers of London 1),Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London 2) first. If you've read and enjoyed them already - what are you waiting for! it's more of the same!

I'm already looking forward to instalment number four.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2013
I have now read the first three in what I hope will be a much longer series of Peter Grant novels. The storyline is original and the characters engaging and well-rounded. Ben Aaronovitch's knowledge of London - reflected through Grant's character - is in itself educational and entertaining.
Already Aaronovitch has developed sub-plots that can be extended upon in future novels. Also, the increasing skill level of Grant's magic plus the inclusion of Lesley into the circle of magical practitioners, makes for intriguing future plots.
Ben Aaronovitch writes extremely well, uses a wealth of very British linguistic terms in his novels (some of which I admit to having to check the meaning of in my Kindle's dictionary - a most useful tool, I may add) and he seems to have an insider's knowledge of London Metropolitan police procedures.
All in all, a worthwhile read and I await the next instalment in the Peter Grant series, "Broken Homes", sometime in 2013.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2013
I seem to spend my free time reading fantasy books these days and there are many places in the UK referenced by authors who want to appeal to an international audience by using some well-known landmarks and pop culture. This is the first time I have read something so authentic it captures the grime and the pulse of London with cool snippets of history & humour thrown in. The language of the characters: Nightingale with his WW public school dialogue, Lesley with her Essex girl lines, Peter with his dual heritage and refusal to be pinholed into any particular mould in spite of his "manor", Sewoll reminiscent of Gene Hunt-esque bluster is, in my opinion, what makes this a particularly home grown series which gets better & better. Dynamic characters, snappy dialogue, plenty of action, in fantasy gilding & a good old-fashioned, who-dunnit centre - this is my best read for in the last 5 years! Bring on the 4th book and a BBC series deal PLEASE!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2015
Ben Aaronovitch continues to mine his seam, and with each book seems to do less. It's irritating that such a good writer manages to pack in so little by comparison to contemporaries such as Guy Adams (author of the excellent 'Clown Service' and 'The Rain-Soaked Bride' novels) and under-uses his most interesting characters. Whispers Under Ground ticks many boxes, but somehow left me feeling as if I'd read a book written on auto-pilot. Aaronovitch has the skills and the cast, he just needs to arrange them in a better, more engaging fashion. By far the biggest issue here is that his lead character, while quite interesting, is overshadowed by at least three other main cast members. For example, I;d much rather be reading a story centered on the last fully trained British wizard, Nightingale, AND his sidekick. As things stand, it's like reading a Batman story that has way too much Robin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2013
This is the third of the series involving PC Grant, a junior constable in London and his adventures working for the Folly. I liked this book as much as the previous two. I would say that a reader could easily start here just as well as at book 1 or 2, as it stands quite well on its own as a darn good yarn.

PC Peter Grant is not your usual murder-mystery hero. For a start he is a typical Londoner, i.e. from a housing estate in a low rent part of town. Secondly he can do magic. There is no explanation how he came by this gift just that it took a lot of practice, and is only used sparingly in the books. The supporting characters are well drawn and interesting, but the storyline is mainly about Peter.

The storyline is full of surprises and interesting twists. I was gripped from the start and found it enjoyable right to the end. I would highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2013
I was put onto this series by a friend and was hooked half way down page one. This is the third outing for the magical detective and it is still a very engrossing read. The characters are well developed and play off each other splendidly. This is NOT a British X-Files. That would be an insult. There is a depth to this series that suggests (hopefully) there will be more to come. There is clearly much more to C/I Nightingale than we know. Personally, I think he deserves a book of his own detailing just what did happen in his past and what happened in Germany to cause such a catastrophy to British wizardry.
If you havnt read the two previous books, dont buy this book. Buy the first two books and then buy this one. Or buy them all together. If you like your police work and your sorcery with a smattering of observational humor you will not be dissapointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2013
Another great book by Ben Aaronovitch. I received the first two books in the Peter Grant series as a Secret Santa present and thoroughly enjoyed it - love that it's set in London, the author literally takes you down the streets of London naming well known buildings to the little pub round the corner. A good mystery with a side of comic humour.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2013
Just as good as the first, possibly better as we know the characters so well from the first. This is the best series I have read in a long time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2013
I love all of the books in this series and can't wait for the next one. Being a Londoner it's quite amazing to read a book set in your own town, set in places you have actually been, or could go to. The characters are brilliantly developed, but as the story is so unpredictable, so are they. Well done Mr Aaranovitch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Just to add my voice to the chorus of praise for this book (and this series) - it's immensely enjoyable.

It is a load of old hokum really, of course, but it's very well written and takes itself seriously enough to be an involving and exciting read, but not so seriously that it gets all ponderous and self-regarding. The narrative voice of Peter Grant is very engaging, there is a decent number of good laughs and there's a lot of very interesting stuff about the history, architecture and infrastructure of London, all delivered in a readable, enjoyable form.

I think this series is a real pleasure: exciting, humorous and engaging but with some real content to mull over, too. Very warmly recommended.
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