Tuesday, March 25, 2014

REVIEW: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Broken Homes (Peter Grant, #4) Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It's book 4 and by far the weakest book of the series. I was never a fan of the writing because it was too dense for my taste, but I tolerated it. Not this time. The writing was too dry and tangential, and it was the yucky result of a meager plot.

+ the plot

The plot didn't hit the ground running till the last third of the book when Peter and Lesley went undercover to sniff out the perp. It was the only part of the book that held any excitement for me, and just barely. The rest of the book was swamped with boring, irrelevant world building shit.

+ the protagonist

The characters showed little growth, especially the star of the series. Peter as the bumbling magician apprentice amused me, but the humor wore thin after a couple of chapters. One of the things I liked about Peter was how he experimented and practiced his magic, but book 4 didn't have this. Peter became complacent, and I didn't like it.

I also didn't like how Peter was jealous of Lesley meeting someone else. What the fuck was that all about? He should have been happy she was moving on with her life. I didn't think Peter harbored romantic feelings for Lesley and that his relationship with her was just camaraderie. I guess I fooled myself into thinking this was one of those rare fictions where the male lead only sees his female buddy cop just as a friend. Genre fiction and TV have taught me better.

+ the antagonists

As for the bad guys, I'm very disappointed with the peripheral role the Faceless Man had after the book hinted so much about him. Case in point, he only appeared for one moment. The book may have been showing there were other magic-capable villains in the world beside the Faceless Man, the series' Big Bad, but these villains came off as mere distractions. They made the mystery feel like an intermission.


I rate Broken Homes 2-stars for it was okay. The writing was bad but I guess I should be happy it wasn't purple prose like in the Matthew Swift series. Regardless, the book broke my enthusiasm for this series. The plot twist at the end felt like a last ditch effort to make the book not frivolous. Nice try, but the book is still a glorified novella.

Book Description

My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame — whatever that is.

Truth be told, there's a lot I still don't know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England's wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician's apprentice. But even he doesn't have all the answers. Mostly I'm just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast. With the new year, I have three main objectives, a) pass the detective exam so I can officially become a DC, b) work out what the hell my relationship with Lesley Mai, an old friend from the force and now fellow apprentice, is supposed to be, and most importantly, c) get through the year without destroying a major landmark.

Two out of three isn’t bad, right?

A mutilated body in Crawley means another murderer is on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil, who may either be a common serial killer or an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man — a man whose previous encounters I've barely survived. I've also got a case about a town planner going under a tube train and another about a stolen grimoire.

But then I get word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans, and inhabited by the truly desperate. If there's a connection to the Crawley case, I'll be entering some tricky waters of jurisdiction with the local river spirits. We have a prickly history, to say the least.

Just the typical day for a magician constable.

Goodreads | Amazon

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