This is a great return to form. Look, I always love the Peter Grant books, but the last seemed a bit uneven, and the back cover referred to a plotline that wasn't in the book. This led my husband and I to speculate that it was taken out because it wasn't working, and that was why the rest was a bit clunky. It was still readable, but not as good as the first two Peter Grant books. So I am pleased to report that this is a great return to form.
Also, regarding the end of the book - eep!
For those who are just joining this particular party - go read the others. We'll wait. Because this is a really excellent British urban fantasy series. The writing is great fun, the stories entertaining, and Peter a really fun lead. And I'm very glad to be seeing it come back to full fighting form.
In this one, Nightingale, Peter, and Leslie are quite the formidable team. And by that, I mean, DAMN, Nightingale! We get to see him in full action at last and it's pretty freaking impressive. Peter, in the meantime, is coming along nicely in the magic, and so is Leslie. But then a whole bunch of cases end up in their laps, and they can't possibly all be connected...can they?
Let's see...there's the old man who blew up his grandchildren's birthday party. There's the serial killer caught with magic and blood all over his car. There's the city planning officer who jumped in front of a subway. And there's a stolen book, which leads Peter to a German architect who apparently was interested in the, ahem, "Industrial Uses of Magic," which sounds even more ominous in the German.
Which leads to a housing development built by that same architect, which may be more than just a housing development. Also, it has a dryad. This is where we get Leslie and Peter undercover, with Toby along to really sell it, of course.
There are also more goings-on with the various Rivers of London, including a grand ceremony with Father and Mama Thames. Peter's sometime junior apprentice Abigail comes along for that. I'm not sure what Abigail will have to do with the overall story at some point, but it's fun to see Peter deal with some of the exasperation I'm sure Nightingale feels every day.
Oh, and then the end. I will not give it away, but it ups the stakes in the series big time, and was quite upsetting. Took me entirely by surprise, too, but it made perfect sense once it had happened - the best kind of reveal, even if it sort of breaks your heart.
I was so happy to be better satisfied by this entry into a series I love very much. Lots of plot threads up in the air still, but since I know Ben Aaronovitch has contracts for the series through book 9, I think it is, I'm happy to wait to see how they'll play out. But still. Ouch.