Book Review: Foxglove Summer

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch, Peter Grant #5

In the fifth of his bestselling series Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London - to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can't take the London out of the copper.

Travelling west with Beverley Brook Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods. And what's more all the shops are closed by 4pm..

I am a big fan of Urban Fantasy detective, I know it is going to be a shocker but this is my first Peter Grant book that I read. I have been aware of this series for a long but just never got around to reading it. Ben Aaronovitch launched his writing career with the Doctor Who books, after writing several books, he let his creativity loose on the Urban Fantasy genre and started writing the Peter Grant series with the following book: Rivers of London (2011), Moon over Soho (2011), Whispers Underground (2012), Broken Homes (2013), Foxglove Summer (2014) and The Hanging Tree, book six will be released later this year. Even with this being the fifth book in a series and my first, I was hesitant with starting to read it but actually Foxglove Summer provides a very good entry point, of course I don't know what happened before but you can elude several bits and pieces by how the character act and there are plenty of descriptions and information point where you easily catch up. And I also just found out that this book series will be get a comic book adaptation!

Foxglove Summer focuses on London Metropolitan Police Officer Peter Grant, he is part of the police force, but not for the normal cases. Peter Grant serves the Folly which deals with the weird stuff, the unexplainable stuff, the supernatural stuff, amongst others dealing with the fae. For the task in Foxglove Summer Peter Grant has been called upon to investigate a two missing persons case. Before his assignments have all been inside the great city of London but now he has to travel outside of his trusted environment all the way to the little town of Herefordshire. It is always said that in small towns everyone knows eachother but no one has a clue as to where the two missing young girls could have run of to or who would want to take them. Though Peter travels alone, he still has the back up from his supervisor Nightingale back in London. Peter is still able to update him with events that have happenened but when Peter delves deeper into the investigation int he field he is on his own. Now I can't say that this investigation is the biggest, toughest and most dangerous one, what I can say is that it is a highly eventful one, where Ben Aaronovitch doesn't skip a beat to show of his inventiveness in Urban Fantasy. Because what Peter uncovers is a much bigger thing than just two missing girls. Ok granted, it was said that missing person cases often go accompanied with off the track wizards, but there are also unicorns involved. They might look like the unicorns that young children dream of, those elegant beings, but well they are far from it. If you give them the chance... they take everything. As I said before Peter is in for quite a ride! 

When it comes down to the characters of the Peter Grant series. I loved Peter from the start. This is my first encounter so I can't really say what has defined his character in the long run. But I can say that his character is funny when he can be and strict and serious when has to be. This strikes a very good balance in the story and make the reading easy going and highly enjoyable.It is hard to describe but what I can make up from this first encounter is that Peter is a complex character, he has gone through a lot and the experiences definitely show on him. Furthermore from some of the procedures that Peter carries out it comes to show that above everything he is a person of rules and follows everything according to protocol, does this mean that he sticks to it no matter the cost? Well when justice calls... Next to Peter there are plenty of more characters that you see, the significance of them is hard to say for me - yet. But from them I really liked to read about Nightingale. Peter relies heavily on him. Nightingale is the last sanctioned Wizard in England and though I haven't seen his powers yet, from what I have glimpsed of the magic system and what other can do, Nightingale must be serious badass! A added big bonus is the interaction between several characters, it can be witty, fast, sarcastic, ironic and a lot more. It feels lively, precisely as it should be.

The setting that is presented in Foxglove Summer is exceptional. I have read mostly Urban Fantasy in big cities such as New York and London, but taking it to the outskirts to a small town where everyone knows each other, adds something different in the mix and did remind me a bit of the movie with Simon Pegg "Hot Fuzz", but Foxglove Summer was more heavier on the supernatural aspect. Ben Aaronovitch goes quite out of its way to give a very nicely and detailed view of the country side and everything that comes looking around the corner. Now the worldbuilding is far from an information dump, it flows graudally and naturally, this was cleverly done because a lot is revealed during the investigation of Peter in Herefordshire. 

I can only slap myself more for not having begun the series with Rivers of London, Foxglove Summer offers a great way into the series as a standalone, but undoubtedly when you have the knowledge of the previous book you are bound to respect the series much more. That aside, what Ben Aaronovitch shows in Foxglove Summer is that he is an author with a great gift of telling stories. It just flows natural. The whole plot that he has devised in the book is highly creative and with such a police investigation in the book, there are lucky enough turns to keep you glued to the pages, wanting to find out what just really happened. I am curious to find out just how Foxglove Summer fits into the bigger picture of the series and how it will continue. Got to order the first four books asap. Foxglove summer is a great Urban Fantasy, it's fresh and offers many new things, definitely one of the top books that I have read so far. 


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