Friday, 16 March 2018

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch Review

Vampiric witches are preying on London’s most gifted jazz musicians – Peter Grant, the Fuzz’s newest (and only) apprentice magic cop, is on the case! 

Moon Over Soho is a bit of a disappointing follow-up to Ben Aaronovitch’s spectacular Rivers of London and I think I know why. Rivers of London had two barnstorming storylines running parallel throughout – the Mr Punch murders and the River Gods’ gang warfare – as well as Peter learning about the hidden magical side of London; there was never a dull moment as Aaronovitch jumped from one to the other. 

Comparatively, Moon Over Soho just has the one storyline: jazz vampires – so there’s no secondary storyline to look forward to if one fails to entice; and unfortunately it doesn’t. Putting aside that I’m not at all interested in jazz to start with – it’s unlistenable nonsense – there aren’t many surprises along the way and the case plays out quite flatly. Peter’s romance with Simone was boring and the Strip Club of Dr Moreau thing was pointless. Generally not enough was happening to hold my attention and I found myself zoning out quite often. 

I really enjoyed catching up with Lesley and finding out how she was coping after the events of the last book – her scenes with Peter were my favourite parts. The world-building continues strongly with Nightingale introducing Peter to the wider magical society in Oxford and some more of the mystery of Ettersburg is revealed. I really liked that a Moriarty-type villain has been brought in who’ll hopefully act as a deliciously evil antagonist going forward. Aaronovitch’s writing remains top-notch and effortlessly accessible and I love the detailed history of the city he drops in every now and then, adding to the richness of the narrative. And that final page is a hella cool cliffhanger. 

Moon Over Soho isn’t nearly as good as Rivers of London but it’s a fairly decent sequel - it definitely hasn’t put me off this series though I hope the next one’s better.

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