Foxglove Summer

 I don’t read that much these days, because it’s difficult to find stuff that really grabs my attention.  There are, however, a few exceptions, and the DC Peter Grant books (The Rivers of London series to some) are in that group.  I’ve been looking forward to the paperback release of the 5th book (Foxglove Summer) since it was announced (on account of me being too cheap to buy the hardback), and have been reading it in my lunch break at work since it arrived.

Ben’s style is very easy going, and that makes reading the books very easy as well.  The tone is informal and inviting and I often think, regardless of the content, I could spend hours just reading his prose and enjoy it in the same way you might enjoy a warm bath.

As is common in the kind of urban fantasy I read, Foxglove Summer has a crime to solve, and in the background there’s a long running arc, some impending doom or event that is being foreshadowed.  Painted over those two features are the lives of the characters that inhabit the story.  Unusually, Ben pretty much pushes all of the key characters into the sidelines in this outing, with DC Peter Grant being sent off out of London.  Other than Beverly Brook, the other regulars (Nightingale, Molly, Leslie, et. al) are all pretty much handled at arms length.  Peter is on his own, and while that presents some challenges, it also left me feeling a little bit bereft.

Two girls have gone missing, and what starts out being a routine check on practitioners for Peter, turns into a full-on Falcon event (the Police terminology in the book for ‘weird shit’).

The pace was okay, although as with some of the previous books, I felt again that the ending was quite damp.  This may be because I had to stop only a chapter from the end and then pick it up again, but it all feels quite gentle.  Maybe this is intentional, police work doesn’t finish with the final chase, but rather with all the paperwork afterwards, but it still leaves me feeling deflated.  In combination with the lack of supporting characters, this means I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the fourth in the series which I feel was much stronger.

However, it’s not all bad.  The police procedural elements are as fascinating as ever, the new characters were great, the setting was interesting and the magical elements were worth the effort.  Foxglove Summer is another quite low key story in the magic department after Broken Homes’ must stronger magical element, but as usual it’s blended with the other elements perfectly.

The humour is great, most of it being delivered through DC Grant’s PoV, which is as engaging and witty as ever.  I really could spend hours just reading about DC Grant going about regular police work.

The plot has twists, and the long running story arc is interesting (but you need to have read the others to get it).

Foxglove Summer is an interesting, entertaining read, albeit diminished by the reduced cast.  What the book lacks in tension, it makes up for with humour, wit and intelligence.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Ben Aaronovitch
  • Series: Rivers of London (5)
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Gollancz
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Divine Misdemeanors

Meredith Gentry chose the life of a loved one rather than be crowned Queen of the Unseelie Court of the Fey.  Living in exile in LA with her loved ones, she now works as a private detective.  When there are a spate of Fey murders, she is called in to consult by the LAPD.  Merry realises that she hasn’t left everything behind that she thought she had.  Blood and death are as present here as the Unseelie Court, and even immortals can die.

I’ve been a long time reader of both the Merry Gentry and the Anita Blake series’, but even I’m starting to get jaded.  I really enjoyed the previous book, Swallowing Darkness, and had been looking forwards to this one, as I was optimistic that Hamilton had found her way again.  Now I just feel disappointed with it.

It started off well and there was some actual plot and detective work going on which was surprisingly good, but that kind of fell by the wayside while Merry had to sleep with yet more of the fey.  I foolishly thought that now she was pregnant with twins, that the character focus would be on her and the six fathers (plus the one or two other lovers who have to be in on it for various reasons).  Frost and Doyle are probably my favourite characters and I hoped we would start seeing them as the two major characters behind Merry, but they seem almost relegated to the sidelines for this book.

Even worse,  more get added to the entourage.  The cast is just too large now, and I’m struggling to keep up with it.  I’m also really fed up of the phrase ‘brought me screaming up off the bed/floor/bath etc.’, it’s used way too often and some new euphemisms or descriptions are really needed.

I also get she is a very lucky girl and every time she has sex, gets to have multiple orgasms and all that but really, I’m getting tired of reading about it.  It’s not even that erotic anymore since it just seems to be the same thing over and over.

I’m fairly sure the aim is for her to have sex with every single creature of the fae (that are on her good side, unless it’s really important of course), so she can awaken their powers.  Just have an orgy and get it over with.

Very disappointing after the previous book and could just be the end of the road for me and this series.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)