Whispers Under Ground + Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch – Review


Whispers Under Ground

Broken Homes

Since I don’t have my shit together, I’m doing two mini-reviews for books 3 and 4 in the Rivers of London series. I’ll be honest, I just plain forgot to write reviews for these in a semi-timely manner and while I don’t want to just ignore these books I so enjoyed, I also don’t want to dedicate a full scale review for each. Now on with the brief reviews!

Whispers Under Ground presents us with an improving Lesley May who has joined up as the Folly’s newest initiate. She and Peter are investigating the death of a US Senator’s son on the tracks of the London Underground and the weapon of choice appears to be… magical pottery. Their journey leads them in strange directions and introduces some interesting new side characters that stick around through at least the next book. All the while, they continue to try to track down the Faceless Man – a powerful rogue magician. 

In Broken Homes the duo are looking into several mysterious deaths and some odd goings on at a housing estate built by a mad architect that happens to house a tree sprite. They come face to face with a terrifying Russian practitioner and spend a good portion of the book skulking around the housing estate with their dog asking people questions and trying to figure out how the Faceless Man might be involved. 

Both books were tremendously entertaining and I never tire of Peter Grant’s narration of events. The humor is absolutely spot on for me and I love the “case of the week” theme, which keeps the books feeling fresh while also still progressing the larger overarching plot. It definitely keeps things from becoming repetitive and it lets Peter’s growth as a practitioner build in a natural way. He doesn’t suddenly become this brilliant magician overnight – you see him become better as the story progresses but he definitely makes plenty of errors.

Both books are a solid 4 stars, with Broken Homes edging out Whispers Under Ground as my favorite of the two, simply because of the shocking ending in Broken Homes! I can’t wait to listen to more of the audiobooks and highly recommend that format due to Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s brilliant narration.


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