The Qwillery | category: Broken Homes


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Review: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Broken Homes
Author:  Ben Aaronovitch
Series:  Peter Grant / Rivers of London 4
Publisher:  DAW, February 4, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (Print)
ISBN:  9790756409609 (Print)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own (UK Edition)

Review:  Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame -- whatever that is.

Truth be told, there's a lot I still don't know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England's wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician's apprentice. But even he doesn't have all the answers. Mostly I'm just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast. With the new year, I have three main objectives, a) pass the detective exam so I can officially become a DC, b) work out what the hell my relationship with Lesley Mai, an old friend from the force and now fellow apprentice, is supposed to be, and most importantly, c) get through the year without destroying a major landmark.

Two out of three isn’t bad, right?

A mutilated body in Crawley means another murderer is on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil, who may either be a common serial killer or an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man -- a man whose previous encounters I've barely survived. I've also got a case about a town planner going under a tube train and another about a stolen grimoire.

But then I get word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans, and inhabited by the truly desperate. If there's a connection to the Crawley case, I'll be entering some tricky waters of juristiction with the local river spirits. We have a prickly history, to say the least.

Just the typical day for a magician constable.

Melanie's Thoughts:

Broken Homes is the fourth instalment in the Peter Grant story. Peter continues his magical apprenticeship under the watchful eye of his boss Nightingale while continuing as a constable in the covert arm of the Metropolitan police. Peter, Nightingale, Peter's and friend/colleague Lesley keep up the search for the evil Faceless Man, a magician straight from the dark side. The Faceless Man has been at the centre of every evil plot throughout all three books. Their first big clue to his next nefarious plan comes when a man ends up being BBQ'd from the inside out. This time Peter and Lesley end up going under cover, moving out of The Folly and into a run down tower block in the Elephant and Castle area of London to search for more clues. For those that aren't familiar with this less than salubrious part of London Aaronovitch paints the perfect picture of life in an deprived inner London borough.....well one that is magically enhanced with river goddesses and tree nymphs. The heat is on for Peter and his friends to solve this mystery before anyone else gets hurt and be back in time for tea at The Folly.

I waited a long time to buy Broken Homes as I thought it cost too much. It wasn't until a discussion with Qwill that I found out that the book had been released in UK months before it was released in the US. I thoroughly enjoy this series, nay love it but still didn't want to pay more than a tenner (£10) for the e-book version and don't normally buy hardcovers. In the end I am glad that I waited.

I have been enjoying Aaronovitch's unique brand of humour mixed with some pretty spot on observations of the life of a Londoner. While I enjoyed Broken Homes it didn't grab me as quickly as the other books in the series. Normally Aaronovitch has me sniggering, snorting, and generally tee heeing from the first few pages but in this book I had to wait until the final third of the book before I guffawed even once. One could say that humour isn't an essential requirement in any good UF novel but once you have introduced me to some truly hilarious lines then you can't just leave me with normal, mildly amusing prose.

I thought I would share with you one of the funnier lines from book
You don't get to be a senior investigating officer unless you have a degree in scepticism, an MA in distrust and your CV lists suspicious bastard under your hobbies.
or how about this one
Nightingale gave me the same long-suffering look he gives me when I accidentally blow up fire extinguishers, fall asleep when he's talking, or fail to conjugate my Latin verbs.
I could continue but then I would be repeating the latter third of the book! Suffice to say 'the funny' is still there just not as obvious as in previous books.

There wasn't a terrible amount of development of any of the lead characters throughout the story although there is a HUGE development at the very end of the book. One, I did not see coming and I am still shocked about. I kind of felt like Aaronovitch was holding off having anything significant happen to the characters throughout the story as he wanted to 'sock it' to the reader with the ending. This was kind of risky as I really wanted Peter to make some decisions relationship-wise or to have a big breakthrough magic-wise. Saying all of that it is still a great book, a great murder mystery with some laughs along the way. Bring on book 5....quick!

Melanie's Week in Review - January 5, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review  - January 5, 2014

Happy New Year! I hope 2014 brings you the very best in books. I had a rather successful week in reading despite only having only 2 days of commuting into work. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review  - January 5, 2014Well I finished the two books I mentioned at the end of my WIR last week which were Broken Homes (Peter Grant / Rivers of London 4) by Ben Aaronovitch and Master of Crows by Grace Draven. I also started and finished Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans 1) by Suzanne Johnson. I will be doing full reviews of both Broken Homes and Royal Street so I can't give too much away here. What I can say is that I enjoyed both although Broken Homes more so. Royal Street had very much the 'first book' feel about it...which makes sense as it was the first book in the series and Johnson's first book. You know the type of first book where  the characters aren't fully developed and do the opposite of everything they are told?

I came to read Master of Crows by Grace Draven after the author Ilona Andrews recommended it on her blog. Master of Crows is self-published. I wasn't sure about romantic fantasy but Andrews assured her fan base that it was a great story and I whole heartedly agreed. I LOVED IT! It was high fantasy with characters that were well developed. It really flowed along and there wasn't so much romance that it got in the way of the story. The added bonus was the cover. Check it out! I have added a slightly larger image so that you can see the full affect. GORGEOUS! As you will know I am a bit obsessed by book covers so I spent a lot of time looking at it. In fact I think it is one of my all time favourite covers.

Melanie's Week in Review  - January 5, 2014Since I am on on the topic of book covers have a look at the one for Broken Homes. This is another great cover although doesn't have quite the instant impact as Master of Crows but is a excellent nonetheless. This cover is best looked at on zoom. The cover was created by the artist Stephen Walter who specialises in these funky, graphite maps.

Well I am sure you think I probably have OaBCD - Obsessed about (or a-boot since I am Canadian) Book Cover Disorder as this whole WIR was largely about the covers. I am truly not that shallow that I judge a book purely by the cover but when I see a really great one or a really bad one then I feel I should let you know.

I should get back to reading Silvered by Tanya Huff which I only just started and hope to tell you all about next week. So until then Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review - December 29, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - December 29, 2013

Wow! I can't believe this is my last Week in Review (WIR) of 2013. I also look like a reading hero as I get to tell you about ALL the books I read in the last two weeks. My last WIR was high in rhyming abilities and low in telling you what I read and I have plowed through quite a few books over the last fortnight. At least you have a lot of pretty book covers to look at this time! So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - December 29, 2013
Going back to almost two weeks ago I finished Sins of the Lost by Linda Poitevin (Intermix, October 15, 2013) which is the third in the Grigori Legacy. I got this instalment from the good people at NetGalley and it has taken me much longer than it should have to actually read it. You may know if you have read any of my other posts that I haven't been the biggest fan of angel series. I did however, warm to this series during book 2, Sins of the Son. I liked the fact that Poitevin did the unpredictable with her characters and didn't have the fated end up together. I  am not too sure about this instalment however, as I think that Sins of the Lost is a tad too dark. Odd  to say I know, especially given that this is a story about heaven vs hell but between Lucifer, Seth - who has given up his powers, The One who is dying, and the abused Alex there isn't much a reprieve. It is one major crisis after another. I had also forgotten quite a bit about what had happened in the previous books and was always going 'he/she did what?'. I like a book to be balanced, otherwise I end up wondering how it is possible for the lead character(s) to go on. Hopefully, something remotely nice can happen in the next book....fingers crossed.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 29, 2013I was trawling through Goodreads when I noticed that the fourth and final book of the Book of the Order series by Philippa Ballantine  - Harbinger  - had been released since July and I had never noticed. I could NOT believe that I had missed the release of the final book of a series that I have loved. This final book did not disappoint and I think it is the perfect ending to a fantastic series. Sorcha Farris is my favourite kind of heroine - strong, brave, conflicted and willing to risk everything to save those she loves. In fact, I loved all of the characters, even the baddies. You will know from my recent review of Kindred and Wings that I am a big fan of Ballantine's. So far there isn't a book of hers that I haven't really liked. That isn't an easy feat as I am quite fussy! She also has the most amazing book covers. Check out the cover of is gorgeous. If you like fantasy then I urge you to start at book 1. Geist.

Melanie's Week in Review - December 29, 2013
I then had a bit of a panic attack when I had a look at the results of the Goodreads  - 2013 Reading Challenge. Gulp! I was 4 books behind schedule and just over a week to go before the new year. How embarrassing! I almost ran to my iPad and brought up my Amazon recommendations to find something I could read quickly. I was soooo lucky as I came across Firelight by Kristen Callihan. This is the first novel in Darkest London series which is billed as PNR but is quite dark and has some quite gruesome parts. This is story of the star crossed lovers  - Miranda who is a very beautiful and talented fire elemental but is very, very poor. No one is no more surprised than Miranda when the extremely wealthy Lord Archer proposes. Archer wears a mask and it takes almost the whole book to find out what deformity is hiding behind it. This is just one of the many surprises in Firelight. Lucky for me the first four books have been released and it didn't take
Melanie's Week in Review - December 29, 2013long to get through Moonglow, Winterblaze and finally, Shadowdance. Apart from Shadowdance the other books of the series are the stories of Miranda's sisters, each of which have their own special, magical talents. There is a lot of suspense, intrigues and gory murders galore. Not your typical PNR. I'm not saying there aren't any heaving bosoms or throbbing  manliness but it didn't take precedence over the murder(s) mystery. Overall, I enjoyed this series but had a big problem with book 2 - Moonglow. I thought that the GIM (part clockwork, ghost fueled people) were overtly complicated and they didn't really make sense. I also thought it was illogical to have a immortal being brought low by a very mortal disease. In my mind, this plot device didn't work for me. Having said that I continued on and read books 3 and 4 and am really looking forward to the 5th book in the series, Evernight.

With only days left to go to reach my reading challenge goal I am reading not 1 but 2 books - Broken Homes (Peter Grant/ Rivers of London 4) by Ben Aaronovitch and Master of Crow by Grace Draven. Both books are excellent...very different but great in their own way. I am looking forward to finishing them and not just to make my reading challenge!

Well that is all for me for this week. The next time you hear from me it will be 2014 so until then Happy Reading.

Review:  Broken Homes by Ben AaronovitchMelanie's Week in Review  - January 5, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - December 29, 2013

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