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MandyM

MandyM

Stuff I'm reading... Mostly romance and Scifi/Fantasy.

Review: Broken Homes

Broken Homes - Ben Aaronovitch

Book 4 in the Peter Grant urban fantasy series set in London and surrounds. This book is surprisingly slow paced right up until about 80% when the shit hits the fan in a big way. Peter, Lesley and Nightingale are investigating some gruesome magic-related murders they believe are related to their nemesis, the Faceless Man. Most of the story follows their investigations and the author manages to make the police procedures fascinating by seeing them through the very inquiring, "still-waters-run-deep" mind of junior detective and magician's apprentice, Peter. 

 

I have a big crush on Peter. I love his mind. He has an enormous thirst for knowledge and a philosophical approach to police work. His boss Nightingale is stuck in the past, so Peter spends a lot of time finding the scientific basis for magic and he actually achieves it through the use of both real-life and imagined texts, biology, and rough experimentation. At least he totally convinced me. This series is unique in the way it approaches magic with logic and historical fact.

 

One of the biggest characters in this book is the fictitious housing estate, Skygarden Estate which is modeled on the real-life Heygate Estate, one of those massive concrete social ghettos built in the 60's (see below picture). I first saw these types of estates when I was living in Europe and I always thought they were creepy so I found Peter's investigations and his progress through the maze of flats and underground bunkers suitably oppressive. It was a brilliant choice for a setting.

 

We actually get to see Nightingale do some big magic, albeit behind closed doors. I felt he supported Peter more which was my criticism in the last book. Peter's detective partner, Lesley, continues to be a tormented figure and while she ably assists Peter in the investigation you can feel her discontent and vacillating emotions every time she is on page. At one stage at the end of the book Peter sets a trap to find out what their otherworldly household servant Molly, has been googling on his computer. But we don't find out in this book. Grrr! I'm so frustrated! I really wanted to know. I know it's going to be crazy whatever it is.

 

I'm feeling fairly smug because a big plot twist that I thought might happen, actually did happen. Go me! This has opened up the series to much more emotional destruction and danger and I can't wait for the next installment.

 

File:Heygate Estate from Strata SE1 tower.jpg