Full review to come. But if you want a book about whales, look elsewhere. If what you want though is a meandering book of Philip Hoare's person1 Star
Full review to come. But if you want a book about whales, look elsewhere. If what you want though is a meandering book of Philip Hoare's personal philosophical ramblings and introspective wankery, littered with purple prose and overblown metaphors, this is definitely the book for you!...more
I've made no secret about my total love for the Rivers of London series (apart from the second book - that one's crap). They're one of my go to's forI've made no secret about my total love for the Rivers of London series (apart from the second book - that one's crap). They're one of my go to's for comfort reading: quick, entertaining, easy to read, and a little bit different from your standard modern fantasy. For a start, the protagonist, Peter Grant, actually acts like a real police officer! He doesn't pull the maverick cop act (much) but co-operates with other officers and departments, does his paperwork, follows procedure (as much as you can do when dealing with the supernatural) and generally acts in a way you expect a real person who doesn't want be fired to act.
And Foxglove Summer really is Peter Grant's book - taken out of London and away from his cast of supporting characters, Foxglove Summer gives Peter the chance to shine on his own for the first time. Regulars like Nightingale, Lesley, and Beverly do make their appearances, but generally it comes from the other end of the phone and, I was surprised to find, I didn't miss them at all. I didn't even miss the London setting, which has always been one of the main highlights of the previous novels. Quietly, and without me really noticing it, Peter has grown up enough to carry a book - and a police case - on his own, and it was great to read him doing just that, and doing it pretty dang competently.
The case itself is an interesting one too - the disappearance of two eleven year old girls from a rural village in Herefordshire. Parallels are drawn, of course, between the Soham case and, as each day passes, the police and families get ever more concerned and desperate, and the press pack outside grows ever larger. Of course, being a Rivers of London book, it soon becomes apparent that it's nothing with such an unpleasantly human explanation. There is something supernatural going on, something that apparently involves one of the girls' invisible friend - 'Princess Luna', an invisible, meat-eating, pony.
More than any of the other Rivers of London books, this one really focuses on the police work and the families. It's a simple, single-narrative story that comes as a nice break and something of a relief, after the tangle of separate, but interconnected cases in previous novels. Perhaps some might (quite fairly) criticise Foxglove Summer for being a 'breather episode' designed to slow things down after the high stakes climax of Broken Homes - but it's a breather episode that I personally think I needed, giving both me and Peter some time to recharge our batteries a bit before going back to fighting the Faceless Man.
Not that the case (or the novel) ends entirely satisfactorily - like a lot of police cases in real life, there are a lot of loose ends that don't get tied up - in fact the whole book ends a little bit suddenly just as you're expecting to get some more answers. But this feels more like an attempt to add a bit of realism than the author writing himself into a hole. In fact, Aaronovitch's writing has improved incredibly since those utterly execrable sex scenes and the uncharacteristic genreblindness in Moon over Soho (I would honestly tell people to skip that book completely if it wasn't for the irritating fact that the subplot there introduces the series' main antagonist). I also suspect, from the ending, that a few of those loose ends will in fact be tied up in future novels too. Future novels that I am very much looking forward to rushing out and buying in hardback as soon as they're released (and I haven't done that for any other series since Harry Potter, so that's pretty high praise).
All in all, another great addition to the Rivers of London series - Peter proves he doesn't need his supporting cast and Aaronovitch proves he doesn't need the London setting to deliver a great piece of amusing, exciting, and very British, modern fantasy....more