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Broken Homes (Rivers of London) Mass Market Paperback – February 4, 2014
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*Starred Review* It’s hard to understand why Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, of which this is the fourth installment, is not more well known in the U.S. It’s quite popular in Britain, and rightly so because it has everything: a plucky hero, London Metropolitan Police constable Peter Grant; clever mysteries; entertaining villains; and, just for fun, wizardry. Yes, wizardry. It seems Peter Grant, an ordinary police officer, has been recruited into a special branch of the police department, known as the Folly, which deals with matters of witchcraft, sorcery, and the supernatural. He’s an apprentice wizard, too, which comes in handy when dealing with cases that are decidedly weird. Take the murdered man who might be the latest victim of the Faceless Man, a powerful rogue magician; or take the old German textbook of magic—well, you can’t take that because someone already did, took it from its rightful home in Germany to England, where it turned up in the London police department’s recovered-goods repository (but was never reported stolen in the first place). Oh, and let’s not forget the weird goings-on at a housing estate with an odd past and, apparently, an even odder present. Honestly, this series is so much fun it really deserves an enormous audience on both sides of the pond. It’s a natural for grown-up Harry Potter devotees but also for urban-fantasy fans in general. --David Pitt
"A low-income housing tower gone awry, an old enemy with a bone to pick...and a shocker of an ending—Broken Homes is a delight." —Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times-bestselling author
"The prose is witty, the plot clever, and the characters incredibly likeable." —Time Out
"It's witty, fun, and full of vivid characters, and the plot twists will keep even seasoned mystery fans guessing." —Publishers Weekly
“The perfect blend of CSI and Harry Potter.” —io9
"This book is, at its heart, a police procedural with an overlay of urban fantasy elements. The voice is persuasive and funny as all get-out, and the reader is engaged with the narrative from the very first page. Aaronovitch has written a diverse cast of characters who all feel like real people with their own specific motivations. This book is simply wonderful." —RT Reviews (top pick)
"The most satisfying fantasy thriller to hit bookshelves in quite some time." —SFX Magazine
"The most entertaining book that I have read in such a long time.... It's very funny, it's very clever, it's very nicely written.... It's such a treat." —Nancy Pearl
"Aaronovitch makes the story sing, building momentum until the ending is literally breathless.” —SF Revu
"Aaronovitch has a very witty, casual voice, with a tendency toward sarcasm and humor, which is threaded throughout Broken Homes. And a few crazy plot twists will devastate and delight fans in equal measure." —RT Reviews
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Top customer reviews
As time goes on, the strict "plot" has mattered less to me, and the pleasure of Aaaronovich's turn-of-phrase and social commentary has increased. On those bases alone, I felt disappointed when i got to the end, only because its just so much fun to savor.
This goes for the plot too; clearly we're being "set up" for the next in the series, and that's just great (at least that's hopefully a guarantee there's more coming) but i felt just a slightest bit short-sheeted, as I stared at my kindle in disbelief at the end and searched frantically for the next 50 pages...
Grant, a constable in the Met (the Metropolitan Police Force) and apprentice magician, has such an astoundingly welcoming voice. It draws you in and refuses to stop entertaining you. While I found Grant to be the heart of the series, he's surrounded by numerous other characters, who are just as lively --just as real.
Which makes what happens in the end of this book just plain heartbreaking. No one dies. This is worse. And now I have to wait for the next book in the series. Even if it comes out tomorrow, the wait will be too long.
Buy this book. It's worth the cost.
What's going on with Peter and Leslie's dynamic? They're undercover together, and yet spend very little time with each other.
Huge build-up with Peter and Beverly Brook... but he's oblivious and she never flips her lid and does something drastic?
Nightingale finally has a big fight with another practitioner... Off-page, and we get no details?
If I had to sum this book up quickly it would be: A tease.
This 4th entry in the Peter Grant series carries on with the ironic, tongue-in-cheek, first-person narrative style that made "Midnight Riot," "Moon Over Soho," and "Whispers Under Ground" so un-put-downable. Along with Constable Peter Grant, all of our favorite characters appear, including Nightingale, the unflappable senior magician, various river gods and goddesses, the ever-hungry Zach and his buddies, the Quiet People, and Leslie, the constable who lost her face in a previous episode. It would help to read these books in order, to familiarize yourself with the series' long-running villain, the Faceless Man. The relationships between characters only get more and more complicated as the adventure moves on. Lots of loose ends in "Broken Homes" guarantee further episodes, and I for one, can't wait until they are published.
As "Whispers Underground" concentrated on London's Underground, this fourth book focuses in on certain aspects of London's above-ground architecture, most especially housing projects for the poor. One in particular, "designed by a nutter, built by charlatans and inhabited by the truly desperate" seems to be linked to more than its share of homicide victims who suffered truly bizarre deaths. Constables Peter and Leslie, who are also apprentice magicians, decide to move in to Skygarden and investigate--or act as bait for the Faceless Man, who seems particularly interested in this post-war housing project.
"Broken Homes" has not one, but two hair-raising climaxes: one where Nightingale duels with a rogue magician; and a second where Peter finally figures out why the Faceless Man is fooling around in Skygarden. I had to read this book's ending over and over, again, because I couldn't believe the twist Aaronovitch added to the ultimate confrontation, even though it was perfectly logical. That's what happens when an author creates characters who live and breathe and inhabit the reader's mind just like real people. I absolutely MUST get my hands on this book's sequel as soon as it hits the shelves or the ether, whichever comes first. Ben, how could you do this to me???