Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Review: Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Having established most of the themes of his books in Rivers of London there is perhaps no surprise that this is more of the same with different ghosts to battle and a different part of London central to the action.
The first book, Rivers of London, concentrated on the Covent Garden area but this moves focus slightly towards Soho with the Cafe Royal and some of the dingy strip clubs that populate the side streets being venues for some of the action. You still get the history lessons about those parts of the capital and some of the major events and it is from something that happened in the second world war that the main story develops.
At the same time we get to know Peter Grant, the main character, that bit better and find out that as well as a policeman, trainee wizard and son of a jazz musician he is also a lover.
Some of the threads left at the end of the first book are picked up here and developed and others remain largely in the background, presumably with the intention of being picked up in the third or fourth volumes.
This is a darker book compared to the first, which had its moments as well, and there are some scenes that will impress themselves on your dreams. But the humour is there to create a good balance.
As Grant develops more of his skills the story of the police wizards, and magic more generally, starts to unfold. This is when it does get a bit Harry Potter with the idea of good and evil and the thought that there could be a Voldemort type figure out there waiting to try and put Grant and his boss out of business permanently. That is left hanging with the main case solved and the disruption to London and explained away by a Met keen to brush the existence of magic well under the carpet.
In many senses this is a second book that will appeal to anyone who enjoyed the first. The danger is that the casual reader will find the barriers to entry too high. All of the ingredients are here for this to run and run with different areas of London providing the backdrop for another story. it will be interesting to see what lies ahead in the third book and whether or not it will keep that edgy feeling or go more in the direction of explaining the wizard's story, which might not deliver quite the same experience.