Tag Archives: Urban Fantasy

The Furthest Station

2 Oct

Weird bollocks is happening on the Metropolitan Underground line. People are being harrassed by ghosts of people past. Peter Grant, Thomas Nightingale, Abigail Kamara, and Jaget Kumar sally forth to de-weird the bollocks.

Thus is the offering “The Furthest Station” by Ben Aaronovitch, the latest in the Rivers of London series.

This novella is delightful and funny. It gives us an update on Abigail’s progress at the Folly, and also gives us some lovely backstory for Jaget.

I am old enough to remember when books of this length were called novels, not novellas, so I wasn’t worried by the length. I have seen some complaints it was too short. It’s a nice way occupy yourself for an hour or so.

Ben has given us somethings to look forward to in future works in a nice, self contained package.

My favourite book of 2017 so far.

Advertisements

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

3 Sep

I spent the weekend reading “TheStrange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter” by Theodora Goss.

Mary Jekyll’s mother has just died, leaving her poor. She discovers that her mother has been supporting a young girl, Diana Hyde.

Mary begins a quest, with the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, to discover what actually happened to her father, Dr Henry Jekyll, and his association with the Society of Alchemists (I’ve anglicized it. My French isn’t up to it).

Throw in a series of murders in Whitechapel, and the daughters of other society members. such as Moreau and Frankenstein, and you have a marvellous romp of a story.

The book caught my eye when Charles Prepolec was reading it, and he liked it, so I thought I’d give it a go.

I WANT MORE!

Chosen

1 Aug

“Chosen,” the 4th Alex Verus book by Benedict Jacka is better than the third. It held me as well as the first two did.

In this one, Alex’s past is about to come back and bite him on the arse, big time, and it does so in the form of the Nightstalkers, a group of adepts motivated to take out dark mages because the sister of one was killed by Alex’s former master. Naturally, they don’t believe Alex has changed.

This book was interesting in that it showed how some people are incapable of changing their minds even when the facts are being rubbed into their face.

Alex has grown and changed. He is not the youth who was apprenticed to a dark mage. He is an independent mage who would, frankly, rather just be left alone.

The Light Council appears on the periphery, and with every passing book looks more and more unappealing and unpleasant. One thing this series does is show that the lines between light and dark are not distinct.

Highly recommended.

Fated

9 Jul

“Fated” by Benedict Jacka, was recommended to me by Carol on Goodreads, as she knows I love Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series.

In “Fated” Alex Verus is a wizard. A diviner who can see all the threads of the immediate future and work out the best one to use. A relic has been found, and it may contain an artefact of great power. A selection of wizards, all of them not very nice, regardless of their chosen path, all want Alex to figure out how to access it.

So far, so fantasy. Where “Fated” differs is that, unlike a lot of fantasy novels, dark and light are not clearly delinated. In this world there really isn’t much to chose between either side. Most of the wizards are a despicable bunch of outright wankers.

The pace is fast and furious. I sat down to have a look at it to decide if I actually did want to read it, and was hooked by page 3. There’s a nice little Harry Dresden/Jim Butcher joke on page 3 by the way. See if you can spot it.

I like Benedict’s portrayal of Camden, where Alex lives in London. A lot of people view it as all ‘peace, love, and mung beans’. Benedict’s portrayal has a more gritty vibe. More ‘ peace, love, and hand us your wallet and no-one has to get hurt.’.

This is a rare 5 star review from me. And I’ve already reserved book two from my library.

The Hanging Tree

9 Jan

Peter Grant is back in “The Hanging Tree” by Ben Aaronovitch, the 6th of the Rivers of London series.

In “Whispers Underground” Lady Tyburn saved Peter’s life with the understanding that she would be calling in the debt.

She does so – in spades.  Her daughter Olivia is in trouble with the police and Tyburn would like her out of trouble, PDQ.  Poor Peter has to untangle Olivia without getting himself into trouble for corruption, higher ups are becoming more aware of Falcon, the Faceless Man is back, and Leslie is back – with a face!

Like all of the Rivers of London series, “The Hanging Tree” rips along.  You could view this one as the direct sequel to “Whispers Underground”, indeed, several characters from that book make a return appearance.

Ben Aaronvitch writes what I consider quite possibly the best urban fantasy series currently available.  Peter Grant is likeable, quirky, and very well rounded.  As are all the characters.  They have distinct personalities and feel very real.

If you haven’t made the acquaintance of Peter Grant and his friends and enemies, I suggest you do so.

Highly recommended.

The Hanged Man

27 Sep

“The Hanged Man” is a fantastic new novel by P. N. Elrod, the start of a new series: “Her Majesty’s Psychic Service”.

Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury, named for her godmother, Queen Victoria, works for Her Majesty’s Psychic Service.  Mostly Alex works with Scotland Yard as a Forensic Reader, but when a close family member is murdered, Alex finds herself confronting terror and treason at every turn.

Set in a Victorian England where Victoria married an English peer, not a German prince, and where women got both the vote and equal rights in 1859, “The Hanged Man” is best described as historical urban fantasy with steampunk overtones.

The book is a joy to read from start to finish.  The characters are well rounded and delightful.  I am hoping future books will have more of Alex’s cousin James, and his doctor friend Hamish, whose first name actually appears to be John…  We didn’t learn his surname, but I’m pretty much betting it happens to be Watson.

A well plotted and fun read.

Highly recommended.

The Severed Streets

16 Oct

Quill, Costain, Sefton and Ross are back for their second outing in Paul Cornell’s “The Severed Streets”.

In this, the second book of the Shadow Police series, the team have to deal with the return of Jack the Ripper.  Yes, the Ripper is back, but this time he’s targeting white men.  When one particular man is killed, it stops being police work and becomes very personal.  They’ll kick down the doors of Hell itself to get the answers… and vengeance.

In this book we learn a lot more about the Sight and how this occult world that Cornell has created works.

We also meet two fantastic new characters in the shape of The Rat King… and Neil Gaiman.  The wonderful Mr Gaiman has allowed himself to be turned into a character, and I think we’ll be seeing more of him in future books.  What he does you’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out.  Let’s just say it is NOT a cameo appearance by any means.

“The Severed Streets” has all the bounce and verve of “London Falling” as well as massive character development, and some seriously wicked repartee.

If you loved “London Falling” then you won’t be disappointed by its sequel.

Highly recommended to all lovers of police procedurals, urban fantasy, and horror.

Witches, Wierdness and West Ham

18 Mar

“London Falling” by Paul Cornell is probably one of the best new books I have read in a while.

DS Anthony Costain and DC Kevin Sefton are undercover cops, DI James Quill is their boss, with them is Lisa Ross, police civilian intelligence analyst. They are working an operation designed to bring down gang leader Rob Toshack. All goes wrong when Toshack is murdered in the interrogation room by an invisible assailant, in front of Quill and other police witnesses. Suddenly the London Met’s finest are dealing with something they have never had to handle before.

Armed with their wits and the Sight which has been accidentally gifted to them, Quill and his group have to battle an evil that is way outside of their usual operational perimeters.

All four characters have balls by the bucket loads, as well as their own personal demons to battle. The characters are all well rounded and feel very real.

The plot is way, way out of the left field and needs your full concentration. This is not a pick up and flick through book. This is a book you have to give your entire attention to, otherwise you will miss something.

The threads that link the killing, the killer, and the West Ham football club take some following, but do actually make sense, in a warped, twisted sort of way.

There is humour, of the dark, twisted kind. DI Cartwright: The cat is booby trapped? DI Quill: Welcome to my world.

A word about the cat. He only has a short appearance, but whilst he does, he OWNS the book.

Reading the notes at the back it seems “London Falling” started life as a television series proposal that was backed by none other than “Sherlock” and “Doctor Who” evil genius, Steve Moffat, along with Sue Vertue and Beryl Vertue. This goes a long way to explaining just why I loved the book so much.

The BBC need to revisit the idea and make “London Falling” into a television series. It would be brilliant.

I recommend “London Falling” to anyone who likes dark urban fantasy, British police procedurals, and weird fiction. They don’t come much weirder, or more wonderful, than this book.

%d bloggers like this: