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Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
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Whispers Under Ground (edition 2012)

by Ben Aaronovitch

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Member:crobins
Title:Whispers Under Ground
Authors:Ben Aaronovitch
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Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

  1. 30
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Jannes)
    Jannes: For all your "supernatural secrets in the London underground" needs.
  2. 10
    A Madness of Angels: Or, the Resurrection of Matthew Swift by Kate Griffin (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: Offbeat magicians in London
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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
I love this series but the earlier two books had a few too many flaws to warrant 5 stars. It's like starting Discworld in chronological order and at last getting to the really good ones like Wyrd Sisters or Guards, Guards, only quicker. Frankly, it would be harder for a mixture of comic fantasy, police procedural and psychogeography of a firmly multicultural 21st century London to be better than this. I hadn't been looking forward to the interpolation of lots of Americanisms, in a plot featuring a US murder victim and the FBI agent who arrives in his wake, but none of the local atmosphere is lost and Agent Reynolds never hogs the limelight although she's very good at her job.

It's great reading about streets you can remember walking down yourself, especially whilst in such a good mood that you forget to be sad about missing them.

And I really like the characterisation of Lesley here. (Also, those people who criticised her situation, or the female characters generally, in Moon Over Soho definitely jumped the gun.) In the previous book, Aaronovitch was excellent and realistic about the social isolation she experienced whilst having to live out of town with her injuries. Here, whilst she's back working to a limited extent, he still shows alongside a realistically slow adjustment process, how even if you want to be robust and have a sense of humour about things, other, well-meaning, people's responses to odd disabilities can still really hurt - plus also there's also mention the odd paradox of still being attractive in some ways, even whilst the other stuff has become a serious and unattractive obstacle on both sides.

Just like Pratchett, there are lots of references here to keep the well-informed and smug entertained. Material about role-playing where I may have missed a few things, architecture, centuries-old writers repurposed, and my favourites, unsignposted things that you have to know to spot, e.g. "Kevin bloody Nolan". (Though D&C, high street men's clothing - not G, it's obviously lower-end than that - remains a mystery, Google still bringing up the more established and distinctly less pleasant first associations for those letters.) Mentions of "Grant and May" and Hermione and Harry that confirm, as if it wasn't already obvious from his intelligence, that Aaronovitch knows exactly who his characters' antecedents are.

Sgt Kumar of the British Transport Police, their own, less official ghostbuster - and in his spare time urban explorer and potholer - is another character I'm looking forward to hearing more of in subsequent books. The series is doing a very good job of having enough of a self-contained story in one volume whilst also building up characters and carrying over a few plot elements from previous books. ( )
  antonomasia | Sep 7, 2014 |
This one has a bit of the Faceless man but he isn't the full part of the story. An American student dies in the Tube tunnels and Peter investigates it and finds out there is more to it than first appears. It also doesn't help that the victim is politically connected so there is a FBI agent tracking him and he tries to hide the use of magic from her at the same time. The plus for me is Lesley is becoming part of the team instead of being a has been cop since her injury in the first book. Good read and I'm waiting for the next one. ( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jul 8, 2014 |
Mind the Gap takes on new meaning as Peter Grant, intrepid newly recruited (not by choice, mind) spelunker, searches the underground and the sewers (lovely), in hopes of finding out just who, or perhaps WHAT, killed an American student living in London. Poor Peter.

“You burn down one central London tourist attraction, I thought, and they never let you forget it.” ( )
  majkia | Mar 18, 2014 |
In the middle of the night the victim of a stabbing staggers out from a Tube tunnel and dies on the station platform. He is the son of a US Senator, so Peter Grant not only has to navigate the tricky waters of dealing with the normal police but also has an observer from the FBI to contend with.

This series gets better and better as it goes on, with good pacing and more and more world building as Peter learns more about the magical world. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Feb 22, 2014 |
Disability tag for characters with disabilities. Gender-politics tag for an excellent balance of women and men in power, plus a young girl with an overprotective African father. GLBT interest tag (corrected!, with thanks to the author) for Stephanopoulous.

Lots of people of color, lots of multiculturalism and interesting sociopolitical critique of contemporary London.

Better than Book 2! The main plot was well structured, but the sub-plots had absolutely no connection or coherence and the lack of segues were very confusing. I suspect the various plot threads were each written separately and then chopped up and rearranged afterward. That's fine, of course, but the lack of transition or context was annoying.

Peter remains engaging and charming. Lesley was less interesting this time, damn it, and there's still too little characterization there. Nightengale was bizarrely absent in ways that made no sense whatsoever, except when they needed him to swoop in and play Batman. Not sure if there's a hidden plot there or if it was just lazy writing.

The cliffhanger was intriguing. I'm looking forward to the next one.

Addendum: I absolutely love the world-building. I keep going on (in general) about how much I dig a well-deployed setting, and I suppose I took it as read this time. Very satisfying. ( )
  sageness | Feb 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ben Aaronovitchprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holdbrook-Smith, KobnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knowles, PatrickCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walter, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I would say to them as they shook in their fear,

"Now what is your paltry book,

Or the Phidian touch of the chisel's point,

That can make the marble look,

To this monster of ours, that for ages lay

In the depths of the deaming earth,

Till we brought him out with a cheer and a shout,

And hammer'd him into birth?"

—"The Engine," Alexander Anderson
Dedication
In memory of Blake Snyder (1957-2009) who not only saved the cat but the writer, the mortgage and the career as well.
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Back in the summer I'd made the mistake of telling my mum what I did for a living.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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When the son of a wealthy, politically powerful family is found dead, London constable and sorcerer's apprentice Peter Grant investigates this case, which is linked to a rogue magician known as the Faceless Man--and which takes him deep within the deadliest subway system in the world.… (more)

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