Since I read Ben Aaronovitch’s first and second books on consecutive days, this is more of a review of Ben Aaronovitch in general. In my review of his first book, Rivers of London, I essentially said that although the premise is strongly reminiscent of The Dresden Files, this series is sure to develop in more unique ways as it progresses. With the second book, Peter Grant is already beginning to come into his own.
Truth be told I wasn’t entirely pleased with Rivers of London because there were three main elements in the book. One, our protagonist finds out magic is real, accepts it very easily, as does his friend Leslie, and begins his apprenticeship. Pretty standard. Two, two competing gods have a spat over something pretty stupid, and our hero has to sort it out. The only interesting plot line was based on <mmmffuff> and <uummfffuu> which I shan’t divulge. And I only found that interesting because I’ve always felt that the story of <mmmffuff> and <uummfffuu> was the most horrible story I have ever heard, and for some reason it is always told comically, with puppets. Why, British people, why?
The second book was much better because it laid the ground for what will hopefully be some really cool stories in the future. Sadly, Thomas Nightingale has an even smaller role in this book than the last, because he was injured the whole book. His past seems much more interesting than Peter Grant’s present. Hopefully as the series progresses we’ll see more of him, and learn the story of how he became England’s last wizard. The second book also sets up an evil nemesis, and in the end reveals that Leslie, a good character from the last book who suffered a grievous injury, isn’t going to go silently into that good night where forgotten characters go.
This series is looking more promising by the volume, and I am looking forward to the next installment, which I shall definitely purchase in some London bookshop on the day before I come back from Europe. It comes out in late February and will cost about eight quid, which isn’t bad at all.