Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
Ever since I first read a Kate Griffin book I’ve developed a serious love for urban fantasy set in London. I’m sure I could be persuaded to read books set in other locales, but really, London is my favourite. So I’ll pretty much take any chance I can get to head back to a magical London, which was why I was so excited for Ben Aaronovitch’s latest novel.
‘Whispers Under Ground’ is the third in a series featuring Peter Grant, an officer in the Metropolitan Police and the last apprentice to the last sorcerer in London. We’re taken back inside the Folly, the ad-hoc department headquarters for Grant and his master, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who are called upon when things start getting … off.
This time, there’s been a murder, and the victim is lying bled out on the platform of an Underground train station. Peter Grant is called in because things feel … off. Here starts a somewhat rambling murder-mystery that takes Grant – and his colleague Police Constable Lesley May – all across London as they hunt the killer. Things quickly turn out to be more and more confusing, and things turn pear-shaped pretty quickly after Peter gets washed away through the London sewer system.
Unlike Aaronovitch’s previous books, Whispers Underground is not as much of a kick in the gun as the previous books were. The climaxes are not as high, and the moments fraught with concern are not as worrying. It’s like the whole book got put on anti-depressants; the peaks and lows have been minimised.
On top of that there were some atrocious editing mistakes littered throughout the book that really took me out of the story.
One other aspect of the book which is liable to be interpreted as a negative is the sheer number of pop-culture references used throughout the book. Now, for me personally – and I imagine this is a very personal-opinion topic – I don’t really mind. I was a bit surprised, to be sure, when I was reading references to Doctor Who, Terry Pratchett, and Lord of the Rings page after page, but it did somewhat cement the book and what happened within in a time and place I am familiar with. And Aaronovitch is not required to write a book that will stay “relevant” for the decades to come; he is writing for an audience today, not tomorrow.
I have no doubt that for some people, the pop-culture references will drag them out of the story. It did me, at times, though in a way that was sort of entertaining. I think maybe Aaronovitch overdid it at times, but maybe that’s just one of those things an author learns along the way.
Whispers Underground is not the best in the series, but it was a book that I didn’t put down and read in a whole night. It was fun, and I loved spending time with Peter Grant again, and the world he is only just beginning to understand. Definitely a great read.
This Whispers Under Ground book review was written by Joshua S Hill
All reviews for: Rivers of London series
Rivers of London
Rivers of London series: Book 1
My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Ser...
Moon Over Soho
Rivers of London series: Book 2
I was my dad's vinyl-wallah: I changed his records while he lounged around drinking tea, and that's how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it's why, when Dr Wali...
Whispers Under Ground
Rivers of London series: Book 3
Peter Grant is learning magic fast. And it's just as well - he's already had run-ins with the deadly supernatural children of the Thames and a terrifying killer in ...
Rivers of London series: Book 4
A mutilated body in Crawley. Another killer on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil; an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man? Or just a co...
Rivers of London series: Book 5
Peter Grant travels 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 disa...
Have you read Whispers Under Ground?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Whispers Under Ground reader reviews
Nikitas from UK
I agree with Joshua's review. The book is generally enjoyable. Similarly to previous books, there is a nice flow to the story telling and some nice moments where I smiled with what I was reading. However, there is something missing. Everything is solved too easily and the story ends without too much excitement. I fear that the whole story is a bit blant.
7/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Powder Mage Trilogy
The alchemy of gunpowder fused with the magic of sorcery. In a time of upheaval, resurgence and corrupted Royalty Privileged, one-man’s love for his lost wife and his...
The Poppy War
R F Kuang
When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who cou...
The Magicians series
In a secret world of forbidden knowledge, power comes at a terrible price... Quentin Coldwater's life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turn...
In the first age of Andeira, men and dragons brought together the two halves of the elemental magic of the world to create a union through which their magic, and the world,...
The House of Shattered Wings
Aliette de Bodard
Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and...
When a man is tired of London he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford - Samuel Johnson. In fact, Dr Johnson was only half right. There is in Lo...
Winter Be My Shield
Sierra has a despised and forbidden gift - she raises power from the suffering of others. Enslaved by the king's torturer, Sierra escapes, barely keeping ahead of Raste...
Mark de Jager
Stratus wakes alone, with no memory of his past. All he knows is his name and that he is not human. Possessing immense strength, powerful sorcery and an insatiable hunger, ...
The Dresden Files
Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Reasonable rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment. Harry Dresden is the best and technicall...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: