Series Review: Peter Grant, Books 1-2 by Ben Aaronovitch

Series Review: Peter Grant, Books 1-2 by Ben AaronovitchMidnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
Narrator: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Length: 9 hrs, 56 mins
Series: Peter Grant #1
Published by Tantor Media on September 28, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

Once again, I’m churning through the purchases I made as I closed out my Audible account. For the most part, I’ve regretted all of those hurried selections, but Midnight Riot I actually liked. Hurrah!

Aaronovitch takes something not so much up my alley (police procedural), and he adds in magic to make something that held my interest. The world building’s a bit strange, but I like it. There are people who are the spirits of rivers, magicians, and ghosts. There’s perhaps a bit too much going on for the amount of development it gets, but I really like the idea. It is pretty funny how difficult the magic is; it’s about the most time-consuming and least-sexy magical study possible.

Peter Grant’s a pretty cool hero, and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith does an amazing job with the narration. I like that Peter’s actually a bit too dreamy and nice to be a great cop, which is a nice departure from the typical dude cop character. Obviously I also love that Lesley’s way better at being a cop than he is. Peter’s also multiracial, which is cool though I can’t speak to the rep quality.

However, I really hated the way the book resolved. It seriously is bullshit that View Spoiler ». The treatment of women in this series isn’t great, which I’ll talk about more in my review of book two, because that’s where I was officially over it, but yeahhhhh.

I’d recommend this to readers who enjoy fantasy and cop books (like my parents), but I wouldn’t recommend it to YA folks.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Peter Grant, Books 1-2 by Ben AaronovitchMoon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Narrator: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Length: 10 hrs
Series: Peter Grant #2
Published by Tantor Media on September 28, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
two-stars

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 drummer 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.

As anticipated, I quickly tired of the episodic nature of the police procedural, and problems I let slide in book one only got worse. That said, people who regularly read mysteries will probably be fairly happy with it, so long as they don’t mind a bit of sexism with their mysteries.

The plot here was whatever. I didn’t like the first one for the plot either. The big reason I don’t read many mysteries and/or police procedurals is that I don’t really give a shit about the plot; I have to care about their characters, and they don’t tend to do much developing. Peter did have a character arc in book one, though a minor one, but Peter’s basically in stasis for this full book, and I was pretty bored.

The bigger issue is the sexism. Every woman in the series who’s anywhere close to a main character (aside from the lesbian detective, who is scary and a lesbian as you find out every time she’s brought up) is a potential love interest. Peter was really into Lesley in book one; he really hoped they would become a thing. Since her face fell off, he’s not so interested. The audiobook also didn’t help with Lesley in this one, because the voice Holdbrook-Smith does for Lesley, because she can’t speak normally due to the face-falling-off thing, is absolutely cringeworthy and awful and just no. View Spoiler »

Peter’s dick gets excited about every single woman he meets. He had a flirtation with one of the river spirits at the end of book one, but then he sent her away as part of a trade between two other river spirits. Whatever. That got her out of the way, so he can bang the girlfriend of one of the murdered jazz guys. Yeah, that’s totally acceptable cop behavior during an active investigation, I’m sure. He’s not even secretive about it, and he doesn’t get in trouble. View Spoiler » The worst thing about all this is that I really just didn’t get why he didn’t ask more questions about her or why he didn’t get read the riot act. It’s really frustrating how straight male characters look at women.

I’m quitting the series here, because I’m not into the characterization of the female characters or for the fact that how much screen time they get depends on how hard Peter’s penis gets for them at the time. It’s a cool concept, if only penis feels didn’t get in the way, though.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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