Author: Ben Aaronovitch | Publisher: Gollancz
The second book in the popular Peter Grant series, Moon over Soho lives up to every expectation set for the reader by the excellent Rivers of London. If anything, it’s just better: slicker, smarter, and even more addictive simply because you’re already invested in the characters.
Let’s just get one thing out of the way first, before I start complimenting the s**t out of this book: I would be lying if I said that Peter Grant was my favourite protagonist. Or my favourite detective. Or in my top 10 favourite wizards. He’s just… blah. I find him a little juvenile, as a character. However, I do very much like his mentor, Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale. Nightingale is enigmatic, mysterious, and dapper; in other words, my kind of wizard… I only wish he’d played a greater role in the books so far! If not because he’s just a better character, then to appease my orderly little soul – which finds it a little implausible that a junior police officer would be allowed to run amok, totally unsupervised, in quite the way Peter Grant does; that’s not really likely, is it? In fact, I like all of the characters – except for the protagonist. The introduction of Simone, as a sort of anti-villain, in Moon Over Soho was inspired. Jazz vampires…? Yes. All about that!
I love the way Moon Over Soho and Rivers of London utilise the city as a setting. It gives the books a real sense of place and, as a Londoner, with it being so familiar, it makes it all too easy to fall right into the story. I love the way the author threads the real-life details (right down to noting the best patisserie in Soho – which, by the way, is awesome, in case you were wondering) into the fantasy world he’s created.
The story is suitably fast-paced, action packed and just complex enough to leave you guessing. It also has a few interesting little twists, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. If it didn’t have the same moments of shock as Rivers of London, Moon Over Soho felt like a more a settled follow-up. A more established author in a more established world. I also like the way the story gently dropped a hint here and there about some of the worldbuilding elements that the reader is curious about, like Nightingale’s school and past, or Peter Grant’s family. Was it still a little too farfetched at points? Probably. But it’s definitely good fun.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Moon Over Soho. This is turning out to be a fantastic series. Ordering the next book RIGHT NOW!
4.5 Archimedes / 5 Archimedes