After a painful betrayal in Broken Homes Peter Grant is focused on getting through the day. He is still in the process of being debriefed for three separate Formaturgical (magic related) cases and sees no end in sight since the investigations were complete disasters. One, specifically, ended his involvement in it by being tasered in the back by a good friend and colleague. As a result, he spends his time practicing both normal police procedure techniques as well as those formers Nightingale has been teaching him for the not so mundane magical confrontations. When two young girls go missing Nightingale sends him to the country to find out what he can do. The Folly has a responsibility in cases of child abduction. Apparently, children are used frequently in the practice of unethical magic. So, it’s off to the country for our London Constable to rustle up any hedgewitches and the like. Nightingale says it will do him good to go to the country and take his mind off things. In the tradition of Peter’s wit he can’t help but think, “because nothing cheers me up like a good child abduction…”
How I’ve missed Aaronovitch’s characters. I will not lie, I wanted some resolution or at least information regarding Leslie. She abruptly stopped working with the Folly and is nowhere to found. Aaronovitch placing Peter in the country for this book very soundly put a stop to this kind of thinking. This is an entirely separate case. It provides no satisfaction or progress towards the case with the Faceless Man who has caused vexation and suffering since ‘Midnight Riot.’ That said I still enjoyed this book and every once in a while Leslie Mai texts Peter to let him know she hasn’t forgotten him and that he is in her thoughts.
Peter, Londoner through and through, gets some help from the River Beverly Brook. It’s a good thing because he doesn’t know the first thing about the country, and the country isn’t sure how to take him. One of my favorite lines is when a group of white boys are staring him down and Peter thinks, “The hard thing about being a racist in the country is you don’t get a lot of practice.” It made me laugh. His diversity both of being black and magical cause many moments of humor. Nightingale sent Beverly as support and she is cathartic for Peter. She helps him to express his anger and process his emotions regarding the mess at Sky Garden. While he can not be a temperamental goddess that will bring thunder and lightning he also can’t lock it away and pretend it didn’t happen. Her aid in the investigation strengthens their friendship and provides some other benefits as well.
Peter also gets to meet an old colleague of Nightingale’s who fought with him at Ettisberg during World War II. The elderly gentleman is a kind soul who broke his staff after Ettisberg from a broken heart. The information he provides helps Peter see a much larger magical community that between he, Professor Walid, the Rivers, and the Fey could develop into a revitalized magical community.
The key story, however, is about the missing eleven year old girls. Parents awake to their children missing, and after it was confirmed they were not sleeping over at another childs house, West Mercia Police gets overrun with reporters. Peter is there to ensure no magical problems are to blame, but there are magical problems that include very angry and dangerous unicorns. One of whom was a good friend to the missing girls by the name of Princess Luna. Don’t let the name fool you, she might sound like a kind, rainbow grazing beast but these unicorns prefer meat and goring Peter if he gives them the opportunity. Peter finds the girls but where were they? One of them seems to have her own magical gifts and her friend is convinced she isn’t who she says she is. Enter the question of changelings.
‘Foxglove Summer’ is wonderful. This is good urban fantasy mixed with police drama. If you have not read any of the series start with ‘Midnight Riot.’ I’ve never been disappointed by Aaronvitch. He has a capability of taking magic and diversity and being able to blend it with an Alternate London that feels natural. Many have compared The Rivers of London to the Dresden series. I don’t find it that similar, but it is urban fantasy and it is a magical police procedural book. I recommend this to people looking for a non young adult version of urban fantasy who like their books with sarcasm and a bit of dry wit. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith narrates the audible series. He does a fantastic job. I prefer to listen to this series rather than read it because of his talent. I encourage you to pick up either the book or the audible version. Fans of the series will not be disappointed and I am confident the rest of you are just fans in waiting.