Enter into Neth Space and you will find thoughts and reviews of books and other media that fit the general definition of speculative fiction. This includes the various genres and sub-genres of fantasy, science fiction, epic fantasy, high fantasy, hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, new weird, magical realism, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, slipstream, horror, alternative history, SF noir, etc. Thoughts are my own, I'm certainly not a professional, just an avid reader avoiding his day job.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Mini-Review: Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
Whispers Underground is the third book in the Peter Grant urban fantasy series by Ben Aaronovitch (Indiebound, Book Depository, Amazon). These books have essentially
become must-reads for me for a variety of reasons – they are short, they are
fun, they are well-written, and they offer more than just the standard urban
fantasy template, particularly with the police procedural aspect thrown in. And
I suppose that being set in London is another big plus since it’s a city both
foreign and familiar to me that I find immensely interesting.
ignore the description on the back cover of the book. It’s one of the worst I’ve
ever read – it does not in any way reflect actual events and feelings in the book.
Yes, there is an American FBI agent and yes she seems to be a conservative
Christian. However, that is a tiny tangent and not really much of an issue at
all – in fact, she’s rather likeable and I wish the synopsis had not made me
predisposed to disliking her. It’s really unfortunate that the publishers did such
a disservice to the book with this synopsis.
In Whispers Underground Peter is called to
investigate the murder of an American art student and the son of a US Senator. The
murder takes place in a subway tunnel, which of course leads Peter deep into
the Underground, often guided by a particularly untrustworthy informant. The
murder plot itself is not terribly interesting and the eventual solution is a
bit unconvincing. However, the strength of Aaronovitch’s writing is more in the
police procedure and the interlacing of the supernatural with the reality we
all think we know as told from the point of view of a well-created and
out-right interesting main character. In many ways the murder simply doesn’t
matter as the main investigation and a few tangents further real the reality of
Whispers Underground continues in the direction that Aaronovitch has set for the
series – it may be focused around a single investigation, but further
groundwork is laid for growth of the Folly (the team of ‘supernatural’
investigators), for future confrontation with a particularly nasty bad guy, growth
of Peter and Leslie’s (potential?) relationship, and more hints of the wider
world of magic.
In short, Whispers Underground is another great
installment in the Peter Grant series. It may not be the greatest of the
series, but it’s more than good enough to keep me coming back for more.