January 16th, 2015


2015 Book 3: Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Book 3: Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant #2).
Author: Ben Aaronovitch, 2011.
Genre: Urban Fantasy. Police Procedural. Black Comedy. Myth and Legend.
Other Details: Hardback 375 pages. Unabridged Audiobook (10 hrs) Read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.

I was my dad's vinyl-wallah: I changed his records while he lounged around drinking tea, and that's how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it's why, when Dr Walid called me to the morgue to listen to a corpse, I recognised the tune it was playing. Something violently supernatural had happened to the victim, strong enough to leave its imprint like a wax cylinder recording. Cyrus Wilkinson, part-time jazz saxophonist and full-time accountant, had apparently dropped dead of a heart attack just after finishing a gig in a Soho jazz club. He wasn't the first.

No one was going to let me exhume corpses to see if they were playing my tune, so it was back to old-fashioned legwork, starting in Soho, the heart of the scene. I didn't trust the lovely Simone, Cyrus' ex-lover, professional jazz kitten and as inviting as a Rubens' portrait, but I needed her help: there were monsters stalking Soho, creatures feeding off that special gift that separates the great musician from someone who can raise a decent tune. What they take is beauty. What they leave behind is sickness, failure and broken lives.
- synopsis from UK publisher's website.

I found the events at the conclusion of 'Rivers of London' quite upsetting and as a result I ended up waiting far too long to pick up the second in the series even though I have bought hardback copies of all in the series to date. I decided to make this right in 2015.

Aside from being a superb urban fantasy, Ben Aaronovitch does a wonderful job with presenting a convincing police procedural. A friend who is a police officer says Aaronovitch is spot on in his depiction of the Met - of course aside from the secret magical department. Though who knows, Aaronovitch makes it seem quite credible. In addition, he presents fascinating details of London's history and architecture. As with the first novel there are plenty of pop culture referenced and sharp witty dialogue.

This is one of those series that I enjoy so much that I both read and listen to the audio edition. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith does a brilliant job of capturing the voice of the laddish Peter Grant. Perfection on all levels.
  • maribou

First College Page; Little Immortal City

First Test and Page, by Tamora Pierce
Keladry is the first girl in her kingdom to be allowed to attend page school (the first step toward becoming a knight), which makes these both a school story and also a medievalesque fantasy story. Highly satisfying to my inner 9 year old, and I will finish the series (and read more by Pierce) in due course.
(12, O6; 13, O7)

College Libraries and Student Culture, edited by Linda M. Duke and Andrew D. Asher
The writing style was very dry but the information was quite interesting.

The Just City, by Jo Walton
This is a wonderful book, so much so that I had to keep reading it even though some things come up, having to do with sexual consent, which are *really* not what I need to be thinking about just at present - they were very well-handled and relevant to both the plot and (especially) the underlying questions of the book. I'm already looking forward to rereading it once my current problem is not so much the case. And it was quite splendid - I'm not even sorry I read it at this inopportune time, because I loved it so much, just sorry that my experience of it was fettered on this first read. It's earnest and witty and warmly intelligent and running in many parallel tracks, all of which were compelling. Plus it's a rare and good thing when someone imagines a god's perspective and I think "Oh, yes, that's how I would expect him to behave" AND "Oh! That's rather surprising, but I suppose he *would* think that, wouldn't he?"
(15, O8)

The Little Bookroom, by Eleanor Farjeon
Somehow I had mixed up Farjeon with Meindert de Jong and so I was expecting a very different (and less pleasing-to-maribous) book than I got. This is a collection of modern (well, mid-20th-century) fairy tales that are sincere, but also self-aware and self-amused. Somewhere between E. Nesbit and Diana Maria Mulock Craik. Lovely.
(16, O9)

The Immortal Dragon of Sylene, by Rafael Tilton (reread)
So I read this more than two years ago and I really wasn't all that impressed even though the writing was quite good. After which I stuck it in my kids' book collection and told myself to try it again later. Have now tried it again, still not very impressed. Perhaps if I were more traditionally Christian, I would like it better.
(17, O10)
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