Fangs for the Fantasy's Reviews > Moon Over Soho

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
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Jun 08, 12

Read in June, 2012

Peter is back in another magical mystery in London. With Nightingale recovering from his bullet wound, Peter must pick up a lot of the slack on his own. And there’s some major events that call for his attention.

The discovery of vestigia on certain bodies points to a supernatural reason for the death of a large number of jazz musicians not just in the present but going back through history – and something that touches very close to his own life and family.

Or the series of men found with their penises ripped off – which in turn leads to another magical practitioner in London – perhaps even a whole cabal of them. It’s a discovery which leads to far more magical history and, more frightening, a true look at the extent of dark and dangerous magic in the wrong hands. We also see how it connects to London’s own underworld and corruption in the police.

Add in Lady Tyburn’s ongoing antipathy, Molly’s moods, a whirlwind love affair, his father’s musical come back and Leslie’s recovery and he certainly has a lot of balls to juggle

Reviewing this book is difficult for me, simply because I’m sorely tempted just to write praise after praise. It’s especially difficult after reviewing the first book because everything that book got right, so did this one. It’s a great sequel for building on that foundation and continuing the plot and the world development.

The first thing I like is that it is a continuation of the last book, the canon hasn’t reset and a lot hasn’t magically happened in the downtime. Lady Tyburn still hates Peter. Leslie hasn’t been magically healed and nor has Nightingale. Which is very surprising in so many series where people take a bullet wound then next episode/book are right as rain with nary a twinge.

We have another wonderfully real feel to London. The author is a Londoner and it shows in every word. The setting and theme are such that you could almost be there. The humour is constant, dry, wry and wonderfully snarky. You will smile. You will laugh.

The story itself twists back and forth and brings several plot lines together and they come together really well while still being separate. Sure Peter connects them and his connecting brings the storylines together. The depiction of the evil wizard is both frightening and really well described –the magical fight was epic yet the discovery of his den was truly and utterly horrific and carries the full level of that horror in the description. It was really well written and disturbing. The other storyline with the jazz musicians was a wonderful break in between, lighter but still vital and very very personal to Peter with his personal history. It also didn’t require you to know about jazz to follow, but you could feel the passion behind their music.

Peter is a wonderful character – his experimenting with magic to Nightingale’s endless frustration is amusing and innovative. The way he interacts with everyone, including his family (and he’s an urban fantasy protagonist with powerful family bonds), is both fun and real. He’s not perfect, he makes mistakes and he’s not a wunderkid – he’s also not spunky - he listens to advice and, usually, takes it and gets himself into scrapes in a funny (and reasonable) manner, even if they do end up touching the farcically amusing because of the sheer enormity and weirdness he’s dealing with. He fits this story perfectly and he’s an extremely real character.

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