Review: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovich

18210706My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame — whatever that is.

Truth be told, there’s a lot I still don’t know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England’s wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician’s apprentice. But even he doesn’t have all the answers. Mostly I’m just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast. With the new year, I have three main objectives, a) pass the detective exam so I can officially become a DC, b) work out what the hell my relationship with Lesley Mai, an old friend from the force and now fellow apprentice, is supposed to be, and most importantly, c) get through the year without destroying a major landmark.

Two out of three isn’t bad, right?

A mutilated body in Crawley means another murderer is on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil, who may either be a common serial killer or an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man — a man whose previous encounters I’ve barely survived. I’ve also got a case about a town planner going under a tube train and another about a stolen grimoire.

But then I get word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans, and inhabited by the truly desperate. If there’s a connection to the Crawley case, I’ll be entering some tricky waters of jurisdiction with the local river spirits. We have a prickly history, to say the least.

Just the typical day for a magician constable.

Ohhhh Peter, that PLOT TWIST.

I wish I hadn’t accidentally been spoilt.

My heart is breaking for him.

Broken Homes was an odd book. A fair amount of the first section didn’t have all that much going on, but frankly, I’d read a book about Peter doing pretty much anything and be quite happy about it, so it wasn’t like I was upset about there being less action than there was in Whispers Underground.

Once they begin a stakeout in the Skygarden building in Elephant and Castle, though, it starts to get really messy, really quickly. We have a crazy Russian witch on the loose who has no hesitations in killing police officers, and then there’s even three mad fight scenes that culminate in several million dollars worth of damage, in typical Folly style. There’s also a rather large party and Toby is adorable throughout.

The ending blew me away though. Without spoiling too much, it was heartbreaking and since I knew what was coming, I picked up on the little cues that lead up to the big reveal, or, as the Faceless Man puts it, the “moment of decision”.

…and I think I understand the motives. It’s something that would be hard as hell to refuse in their situation, and I would probably be hard pressed to go the other way myself, if it meant that I could live normally too. I don’t think I blame them, and I think that they went out of their way to make sure Peter wasn’t hurt physically. I think that there will likely be a healing of the breach, but the trust will be gone in any case. I still love them, even if it breaks my heart.

I didn’t like this as much as Moon Over Soho, but I think if someone hadn’t told me the ending, I would have. I need to get onto Foxglove Summer asap!!

4/5 stars


2 thoughts on “Review: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovich

Tell me what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s