On reading Rivers Of London I was bowled over by the author's world-building. I loved the characters and found the dry humour irresistible. The main reservation I had was that the plot felt a bit vague and meandering, and didn't grab me as much as I had hoped. I am delighted to say that I found Moon Over Soho much more satisfying in this regard. The mystery/crime-solving element is solid and I was gripped from the start.
I liked Peter Grant already, but even more so after reading Moon Over Soho. He's a really strong and engaging protagonist and I can't see myself tiring of him any time soon - I can imagine this series will run and run. Sure, he has his moments of idiocy and a fondness for a pretty face that often clouds his professional judgment, but at the same time he shows real skill and intelligence. I love reading about his thought processes and the experiments he conducts to attempt to understand how magic works. A quibble I've often had when reading other fantasy books with a contemporary setting is that I find it irritating when a character is confronted by something extraordinary or supernatural and swiftly accepts it without question. Peter uses magic on a daily basis but retains an acute awareness that his situation is incredibly bizarre, and is always trying to find a scientific basis for the paranormal phenomena he observes.
It's a delight to read, chock-full of genuine laughs and great one-liners. I have been tentatively increasing my Kindle reading lately, and while I'm not a fan of the 'popular highlights' function it was very interesting to note the significant number of highlighted passages in Moon Over Soho compared to any other book I've encountered. It's very quotable:
"For a terrifying moment I thought he was going to hug me, but fortunately we both remembered we were English just in time. Still, it was a close call."
"It’s a truism in policing that witnesses and statements are fine, but nothing beats empirical physical evidence. Actually it isn’t a truism because most policemen think the word ‘empirical’ is something to do with Darth Vader, but it damn well should be."
I have Whispers Underground lined up to be read very soon, and this time I don't think I will be leaving it quite so long to catch up with events at The Folly. And if you're one step ahead of me, the fourth book in the series, Broken Homes, is available to buy in the UK since last week!