Title: Whispers Under Ground | Series: Peter Grant #3 | Author: Ben Aaronovitch | Publisher: Gollancz | Publication date: June 21st 2012| Num. Pages: 419 | Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
3.5 stars – an alright book but a little lacklustre
A WHOLE NEW REASON TO MIND THE GAP
It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.
At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful . . . and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well.
“I’d have been a bad scientist.”
Whispers Under Ground was once again an incredibly well written book however I found myself slightly disappointed in it. Not in the writing style itself or even the characters – because I still love Peter, Lesley, Nightingale and the rest – but in the plot.
The plot of Whispers Under Ground was a little lacklustre; it didn’t quite have that spark that the previous books had, it was good but not great. It followed Peter as he continues his training as a magicians apprentice and police officer, the ‘weird stuff’ was few and far between with some small sections of magic. Lesley showed up more in this book which I really liked as I like Lesley.
There was a murder – or two – some weird Earthbending from a possible chimera and a subsequent burying, a little bit of magic and a whole lot of policing.
The internal monologuing of Peter Grant was sarcastic and humourous as always:
Once you’d exhausted the possibilities of drinking, feasting and wrenching, torturing someone slowly to death probably helped break the monotony.
You burn down one central London tourist attraction, I thought, and they never let you forget it.
The best line – single greatest line in the entire book was:
Fuck me he’s an Earthbender.
The writing style stayed consistent although my kindle edition had quite a few errors in editing which was a smidgen annoying but it didn’t detract from the overall storyline. There was a consistent British feel throughout, which occasionally, can drop from other books set in London and a distinct American feel drops in its place.
The magic in this book was, as mentioned previously, few and far between which as a magicians apprentice was a little disappointing. The Quiet People was quite an interesting concept; a whole contingency of paranormal creatures that live in the sewers under London, keep pigs and make… pottery.
That was basically the only proper magic in the book which is I think where I was disappointed. A lot of the book consisted of Peter being a police officer first and an apprentice second – as part of the Murder Team it made sense but it wasn’t what I would have called enjoyable.
If Whispers had been a little less police-beaty and more magical it would have got a solid 4 star rating but I don’t feel comfortable giving it anymore than 3.5.