Series: Peter Grant #2
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Gollancz on 13 October 2012
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
Music notes rising from a body? A scientific way of explaining magic? It must be a Peter Grant novel. Peter, or to give him his proper title, Detective Constable Peter Grant is Britain’s first apprentice wizard in fifty years. In this novel, Peter comes across an corpse who died at the hands of something supernatural. Peter soon identifies a pattern and the trail leads him right back to his father.
Peter refuses to accept that magic just happens and constantly turns to science to try to explain the unexplainable. I really enjoyed reading about his controlled experiments and scientific theories. His relationship with Leslie solidifies as he supports her through her recovery (she had her face destroyed in Rivers of London) by teaching her a basic spell that he is still struggling to master it. Not very responsible to let her play with magic but it did help take her mind off her face. His relationship with his mentor Nightingale develops – Nightingale teaches him magic and provides backup while Peter reminds him of his humanity. Peter’s still fairly naive when it comes to romance and things have a habit of just fizzling out or going horribly wrong. I didn’t sense any great passion from the romance – it seemed oddly desultory.
I’m still not sure how this intelligent and trained police officer managed to miss the baddie as I worked it out fairly quickly. Whenever a character appears and does something suspicious, I file it away for later. Whenever an author then immediately directs my attention away from the suspicious behaviour over and over again, I know I’m on the right track. What I didn’t get until the end though was why. This aspect was handled well and made the baddie far more tragic rather than sinister (in my mind at least). The plot meanders much like the Thames with all manner of deviations. I enjoyed these but they did take away from the urgency that should have surrounded the serial killing of jazz musicians.
I enjoyed Moon Over Soho but I missed the old Leslie. I get that magic can’t cure everything but couldn’t it ease a little of her pain? You really need to start with the first in the series Midnight Riot also known as Rivers of London to understand how Peter came to be apprenticed to a magician. It is also worth it for Aaronovitch’s intimate detailing of London which carries over into this novel.