Review: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

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Cover for Foxglove Summer by Ben AaronovitchFoxglove Summer is another superb book in the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. Peter Grant, police constable and apprentice wizard, is sent to Herefordshire to make sure that there is no magic involved in the recent abduction of two girls. His initial check reveals no wizardry, but he volunteers to help anyway, and is soon deep in detective work and, yes, magic.

The Rivers of London books are a perfect blend of police procedural and urban fantasy. Peter uses police resources and follows department policies while working to solve cases that involve a magical element. As he is just learning magic, and as there is a lot of magic no one has figured out, he has to work on learning what magic can and cannot do and why. Generally, he has to do this while on the case.

Aaronovitch’s world-building skills are admirable. He recreates the police culture for those of us unfamiliar with it, giving it texture and weight and showing how and why the people act as they do. The magical world is equally meticulous. Human wizardry a history, laws, and reasons. Then there are all of the other beings that Peter encounters—each with their own culture and laws.

Foxglove Summer is the fifth book in a series. Each book has a single mystery and could be read alone, but there is a larger mystery slowly developing over the series, and readers who start with Foxglove Summer will, inevitably, have parts of previous books spoiled. The primary focus is the case of the two missing girls, one which turns out to be eerie and unexpected. The countryside has its own magic, a type Peter has never encountered before. He is also still developing his relationship with Beverly Brook—who is a brook. The larger, over-arcing plot is seemingly on the back-burner for now, although Peter does learn some more about what happened at Ettersberg and is struggling to recover from the fallout of events in Broken Homes.

Foxglove Summer is recommended for people who like mysteries, magic, and strong world building. The series as a whole has occasional violent moments, although Foxglove Summer is more restrained.

Foxglove Summer came out January 6, 2015.

The Rivers of London series:

Midnight Riot aka Rivers of London in the UK.
Moon Over Soho
Whispers Underground
Broken Homes
Foxglove Summer

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