Jazz vampires, faceless magicians and the stink of forbidden love

Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

I’m beginning to think that London must be a magical place. That perhaps, hidden behind enormous swaths of trees, in a forgotten part of the city there is a school for magic. Maybe, even an Albus Dumbledore hiding among the common man and of course a Harry Potter like hero with power thrust upon him, trying to make the world a safer place.

Peter Grant has his work cut out for him in this one. Jazz musicians from all over town are dropping dead with no apparent killer in sight. The only clue is a haunting melody strumming softly from the body of the deceased. As if this wasn’t enough of a problem, a vicious man-hating woman is cutting off male genitialia…with her teeth. Oh and remember the exchange of hostages that Peter orchestrated between the two river gods? His plan hits a major speed bump when he almost gets one of them killed. Peter has his hands full with police work, apprentice lessons and a lovely lady who wants to ravish him every night.

After reading Midnight Riot I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t enjoy the second book in the series as much. It’s the same worry many of us have with sequels. Will it match up to the first? Will it keep the momentum going? Aaronovitch is magic as he builds on the characters from his first novel and allows us brief but breathtaking glimpses into their pasts. The thing is, with books about magic it’s hard to make them even a little bit boring. Mundane problems are mixed in with magical ones and you feel like you’re on roller coaster ride while soaking in each word.

What I love most about this series is originality. I know I bring up the Harry Potter series quite a bit but for me J.K Rowling set the bar for defining the magical world. Aaronovitch takes a different and almost practical approach at magic. Peter is constantly trying to marry science and magic so that they make sense and although certain things such as vampires are beyond the scope of scientific understanding, Aaronovitch through Peter acknowledges that although highly unlikely maybe, just maybe magic could be real. Aaronovitch also spends time relating magic back to the human brain and how essentially anyone can produce magic, you just need to want it and have the ability to work towards it.

All in all, I cannot stop raving about this series. It’s a breath of fresh air and I am beyond excited to dive into the third book. Happy reading!

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