Fiction Reviews

Broken Homes

(2013) Ben Aaronovitch, Gollancz, £14.99, hrdbk, 359pp, ISBN 978-0-575-13246-7


In this, the fourth volume of the 'Rivers of London' series, Peter Grant is investigating several different cases involving deaths and stolen magical texts. These lead to him going uncover with Lesley, to the Skygarden Estate, built by Erik Stromberg and meeting a new verity of fairies. But the Skygarden Estate was built with another purpose that others want to tap into…

Like the previous books in this series (Rivers of London, Moon Over Soho and Whispers Underground), I enjoyed this novel. Aaronovitch is settling into this world-building, filling in the cracks of the history of magic that he has created. New avenues for magic users are established. It is also easy to miss how good he is with research. You could get the sense that the Skygarden Estate and its creator Erik Stromberg could have existed. Aaronovitch also captures a sense of realism with the dull police work. You could believe that he used to be in the force, although he was not.

However, with this book being the fourth in the series, it is starting to pick up some of the difficulties that can emerge. Some plot threads are brought up but forgotten or clearly being kept back for the next book. It also is falling into the problem that series have with having only having one master villain, to rely on as a continuing threat. Admittedly, these are difficulties that a great many other authors face as well, when they are writing a series.

Having said all that, I still recommend this, if you have enjoyed the others in the series. There are some new characters introduced that I would welcome seeing in future books. And there is a character development at the end which should make the next story very interesting.

David Allkins

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