This book has been on my to-read list for ages. I had heard of this series as being "Harry Potter for adults", a term which is applied to practicallyThis book has been on my to-read list for ages. I had heard of this series as being "Harry Potter for adults", a term which is applied to practically every fantasy book nowadays. I had read The Magicians Trilogy based on the same recommendation, and loved those books. So I thought I wouldn't be risking much by trying these books. I'm glad to say I was proved right.
I immediately felt comfortable in the world of PC Peter Grant, as I watch tons of British procedural shows. I did like that we meet Peter when he's still in his probationary period as a copper on the beat. Too often police officers in shows I watch and books I read are detectives. Certainly that means we get to see a lot more detecting and action, but it was nice to see Grant having to deal with unreasonable superiors and the politics of the Met. I immediately like Peter as a character, and I felt like his background from a mixed-race family informed his character and gave him a greater dimension than other characters in similar books I've read. His relationship with his partner Leslie, was also lovely. At the beginning he clearly has a crush on her, but he never pushes his advances too far, and she keeps him totally in line.
The supernatural element was also superbly interwoven into the story. I loved the idea that the Met has a supernatural division and it's headed and staffed by one older gentleman who carries a silver-tipped cane everywhere. The rules of magic appealed to me and reminded me of the rules from The Magicians, wherein magic only works if you really practice it, using the right hand motions, saying the right words, and in the case of this book, remembering the feel of the forma perfectly. Another refreshing change was the addition of river spirits who guard the Thames. First there's Mama Thames, a former Nigerian immigrant who was about to plunge to her death before becoming the guardian of the river inside the city limits. She has many daughters, named after the various tributaries branching from the mighty river. One daughter is Beverley Brook, who becomes Peter's liaison amongst the spirits. Outside of the city, the river is ruled by Father Thames, and he and his sons have started a war against Mama Thames and her folk. It becomes Peter's job to mediate the conflict. Meanwhile, strange and unnatural murders are occurring all around the city, the first of which introduces Peter to the supernatural side of the city. While guarding a body, he meets a ghost, and from there, falls straight in the path of a dark and twisted magic.
I really enjoyed this first book in the series, and I loved Kobna Hold-brook Smith's reading. His accent and timbre were perfect for the part, and he imparted a great sense of liveliness and sarcasm into the reading. I am greatly looking forward to the next few novels in the series. ...more
I've been loving the Phryne Fisher mystery series, but this one left me a little disappointed. For one, the story takes Phryne away from Melbourne andI've been loving the Phryne Fisher mystery series, but this one left me a little disappointed. For one, the story takes Phryne away from Melbourne and all of her delightful family and companions except for Dot. The lack of those fun characters really took something away from this book. It was interesting to read about her going to Sydney, but I'm sure it would have been even better had I known a bit more about the city. Also I hated every dull passage about cricket, which is a completely incomprehensible sport to me. I'm sure Greenwood knew what she was talking about, but I did not enjoy reading about it.
As for the mystery, it was a bit of a mess. There were just too many side plots and red herrings and strange motives. I kept getting the university students and professors mixed up, and Greenwood didn't do an amazing job of keeping everyone distinctive. I would much have preferred if she had focused on the search for Dot's sister. Instead, there was some bizarre foray into the world of mysticism and possession. I really wasn't a fan of the strange Isis worship.
I'll keep going with the Phryne series, but I'll definitely say this one wasn't my favorite....more