Date Published: April 21, 2011
Published By: Del Rey
Number of Pages: 288
Synopsis: Body and Soul. The Song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz musician and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body – a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.
Body and soul – they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace – one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard ‘Lord’ Grant – otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.
While I absolutely loved the first book
, I’m just going to go ahead and say it: this one was better. It has jazz vampires and cat girls and all sorts of freakish things. Plus, Peter finally has a love interest who likes him back – for all sorts of reasons.
The synopsis above doesn’t really explain the other main plot point: there is a seriously evil magician offing people by using a girl with teeth in her vagina as an assassin. Perhaps not the most practical of weapons but I think we can all agree when I say that is legitimately frightening. Also, kind of bad-ass.
So, yes, this book, much like Rivers of London, has two seemingly disparate plot threads until the very end where Aaronovitch ties them neatly together. There were some reviewers who had a problem with the fact that Aaronovitch left so many questions unanswered at the end but he was obviously setting up for future sequels and it didn’t leave me frustrated – it made me want to read the next book. Which I will be doing very shortly.
Also, I love the fact that this series seems to be getting its own Voldemort. The Faceless Man is powerful, mysterious, and very, very dangerous. He only appears at the very end of the book for a showdown with Peter. It is still unclear what his motive is – why the human experiments? why does he need to hide his identity? – but I am positive that all will be revealed in future books. It’s not like J.K. Rowling spelled out Voldemort’s life story in the first Harry Potter book. (Yes, I know I keep making Harry Potter references when reviewing these books but in my defense, Ben Aaronovitch drops them in his books all the time.)
I highly recommend this book to urban fantasy fans, and fantasy fans in general. You know what, I recommend this book to people who just like to read in general. If you are not reading Peter Grant then you are missing out.