A meandering river…

False Value (Rivers of London, #8)False Value by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Loved all the pop culture references, as usual. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams features heavily. There is also Terminator, Tolkien, James Bond and a few others.

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith does an excellent job again as a narrator, although in my opinion his American accents are crap. Sorry! 🙂

This book pointed me in the direction of apparently legendary movie set designer Kent Adam. Thanks for that, great stuff!

Possibly my favourite character, although she didn‘t have much page-time: Foxglove. She made me laugh. And FYI, Peter pictures himself as Colin Salmon.

Could his mum please bring me tupperware with left-overs twice a week as well? That would be fab!

So, that leaves me with the story. I liked the alternating timeline in the beginning, it was a nice puzzle. There are some good scenes, I had a few laughs, the drones were a pretty nifty design. But in total the story was not very exciting. The bad guy was not really a bad guy, the climax was almost non-existent. Meh. The plot sort of meanders along, picking up a clue here or there. I think maybe Aaronovich got lost a little in irrelevant details and the pursuit of funny moments. Even in the second half of the book I had problems keeping the characters straight. I had to listen to the last hour twice, because I feel asleep during my first listening. Asleep! In the last hour! Yeah, so, this was not it.

PS: No, I don‘t miss the Faceless Man or Lesley. That story arch dragged on entirely too long anyway.

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#StayHome24in48 #StayHome #WirBleibenZuhause

Fox hunt

Rivers of London Volume 5: Cry FoxRivers of London Volume 5: Cry Fox by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unexpectedly good. Good story, good artwork, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Well, the story was ok-ish, really. The plot idea was actually a little lame. The telling of it was good though. Very good characterizations. Nicely done evil guys, too. I enjoyed the short stories at the end.

And my favourite part of the (nice, but standard) artwork was Abigail.

I might read more of this graphic novel spin-off of the Peter Grant novels, if I found them cheaply.

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Peter Grant again…

Rivers of London Vol. 1: Body Work

Rivers of London Vol. 1: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“A perfect blend of CSI and Harry Potter“

I read the complete series and one of the novellas/short stories and wanted to see, how and what the comic adds to it.

Ok, so I pictured Guleed shorter and lighter, more Middle Eastern looking. And Stephanopoulos thinner and less well dressed. And with dark hair? Peter I picture looking like John Boyega, because I find him pretty cute. Too young for me, but whatever… So, I am pleased that the comic isn‘t that far off on that front. I never had a pretty clear picture of Beverly. I pictured Molly older looking? Undecided about The Nightingale. Anyway, so much for looks.

The plot kinda jumps in after the first few books, doesn‘t it? It‘s fun meeting all those familiar characters in the flesh, so to speak… Good artwork, I like the colouring. The plot not Earth shattering, but solid… I am pleasantly surprised, I hadn’t expected it to be this good.

The additional one-pagers at the end of my edition that are pretty cute and a little funny.

Well worth reading it. I will be reading the next one at some point. I got Volume 5 for free, so I might read that next, as the various volumes seem to be standalone. The numbering of the issues and collected volumes here on goodreads is a little confusing.

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The end. A weird one.

Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London, #7)

Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Halfway through the book I was still trying to find a cohesive plot. No red line in this one, more like the odd breadcrumb of something familiar… the breadcrumbs made up a story eventually and there were lots of entertaining bits and chuckles. I loved Foxglove. But the final battle was a bit WTF, the resolution was a teeny bit lame and the ending left me with a „Wait, what? That was it?“

So, was that really it? The end of the series? Hm.

Not sure how to rate this. 4 stars, because the overall series was great and lots of fun, I guess. Kobna-Smith did another great job of narrating this. Weird ending.

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Second time the magic worked…

Rivers of London (Peter Grant, #1)Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First re-read, July 2018:

My first re-read, six years later and having read and liked all the other available full-length novel. I liked it a lot better than the first time around, although it still felt a bit slow in the middle. I didn‘t remember much of the plot and it was interesting to see, how much this world has developed with the consecutive books.

I guess the perceived slowness was probably due to Aaronovitch spending time on world building and introducing various characters, which are relevant in later books. The plot suffered a bit for it. It was worth reading this again, though. And if this is your first read and you are maybe not totally sold yet, please give the next book a chance.

April 2012, original review:

Modern day London, a copper takes a witness statement, not realising that he is interviewing a ghost. He ends up working for the last wizard of England in a special police unit dealing with the supernatural.

I read the first 70 pages in one sitting. Fresh, witty, great plot, I laughed a lot and had fun. Murder, sleuthing, magic, talking to ghosts. And then those rivers started showing up and the story wandered off into the distance aimlessly. The plot lost its way and I lost interest. I kept putting the book down for days on end, to read something more interesting. Finally I forced myself to finish it with a fair bit of skimming.

What shame. I really wanted to like this book. There was too much going on that had nothing to do with the actual plot. I wish the author had just stuck to the murder mystery and concentrated on developing the three central characters of of Peter Grant, Inspector Nightingale and Lesley. Instead he sidetracked into the story of Mother Thames, her daughters and the Old Man. Which was a nice plot bunny by itself, but had nothing to do with the murder mystery. In the end it was boring and frustrating, because it was so scattered.

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A face for the Faceless Man

Not uninteresting, but it felt like a really long set-up for the final, frantic third of the book. Which was a good last third. Just the „before“ took its sweet time for me. I also had some trouble to keep the rich families plus daughters apart.

Another highlight besides the ending was the swimming pool scene. Aaronovitch does action very well.

Again a well-done police procedural with a nice pinch of humour.

Aaronovitch is good as well at the more thoughtful, quieter moments. Lady Ty‘s conversation with Peter at the end has stayed with me the most. I am really looking forward to what becomes of that.

Guleed seems to become an integral part of the team, which I like very much. In today‘s present climate in the west a positive representation of a devout muslim woman is a great choice.

Yay! to Nightingale playing a slightly larger role.

Kobna Holbrook-Smith did a great job again narrating the book. Apparently his American accents could be better. I am crap at accents, so I can‘t really tell.

There is an entertaining interview of Ben and Kobna at the end of the audiobook, thanks for that!

Ok, I just convinced myself that this deserves 4 stars.

Out of London and into the sticks…

Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant, #5)Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First of the series where I listened to the audio instead of reading it. I liked the audio a lot. Holdbrook-Smith does an excellent job of keeping it lively, real and impersonating the various characters well.

The first of the books not set in London. Nightingale is mostly absent, which is a shame, but the characters that do re-appear or are introduced are fun.

Quite a police procedural (with a twist). I enjoyed the Britishness of it and the countryside setting.

There were two characters that I had expected to play a more pivotal role in the book and who didn‘t. Hopefully they will show up again. For more on their house in Herefordshire go here (after reading the book):

Retiring to the countryside and becoming a beekeeper reminds me of some other great detective. I love all the references to other books and to films that Aaronovitch seeds his books with. And his fascination with architecture.

Why, oh why, did I not like the first book, when I read it a few years ago?

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