Book Review: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

After the last installment of the Rivers of London series, I was chomping at the bit to get to Foxglove Summer. If you’ve read the book, or my spoilery review, you know why. Unfortunately for me, the massive, twisty not-quite cliffhanger isn’t addressed very thoroughly in this volume. That’s fine; it was still a great read, and I’m still exceedingly satisfied with my reading experience and this series as a whole.

Let me just say right now: you can’t really read and enjoy these books unless you read them in order. Too much either won’t make sense or will have little to no impact upon you as a reader if you aren’t already familiar with what’s going on. Aaronovitch expects you to keep up and unforgivingly gives very little in the way of plot/character rehashing.

A lot of ongoing series have a volume or two that takes our primary protagonist out of their primary setting. The author picks them up and plunks them down somewhere entirely new. This was the first of such books in this series. I’ve found that this type of book can be hit or miss for me. If it occurs in the proper place in the series, it generally works well. If the writer tries to do it too soon, for me, it doesn’t go over well. A series that I love with all of my heart and soul did this in the second volume. That, to me, was entirely too soon. We’d just started getting to know the heroine and knew next to nothing about her world and the way that things worked, then we’re whisked away to what was (at the time) an insignificant place to deal with insignificant things. Now I understand the reasoning behind this alternative setting, but I still think that it could have come a little later in the series and had the same overall impact. Plus, I feel like the book would be better received and enjoyed by new readers to the series. Anyway.

Some spoilers. I don’t ruin too much for you, because I’m a nice person.

The long and short of it is this: some children to missing. Peter is dispatched to the countryside to determine whether or not this is a case that might involve the Folly (whose call sign / code name within the London police department is “Falcon”). At first glance, it’s nothing to concern the supernatural arm of the law, but of course that’s not correct. There’s plenty for Peter to do, and Nightingale sends Beverley Brook to assist. Why can’t Nightingale come? Because, damn her, Lesley is still at large, and nobody knows what she’s doing, planning, or what she’s shared with the Faceless Man. Thus, Nightingale must stay close to home to ensure that the Folly and all of its secrets remain safely under lock and key.

And? AND? Lesley starts texting Peter, almost taunting him with what she knows about his actions and predicament. Now that I’ve had a few days to sit with my thoughts on Broken Homes, I can sort of understand why she made the decision that she did. Still, when she started sending those texts to Peter, I got rather irritated with her. I’m not even a little sorry, either — I love Peter, and I get protective of those I love, even when they’re fictional. Maybe especially when they’re fictional.

I did quite like the fact that we get some real insight into Molly and what she is. Except now, I want to know more. How and why did she leave fairyland? Is she hiding from someone? I missed her as much as one can miss a character that doesn’t speak. I was delighted when she sent Peter two ginormous trunks filled with mostly useless gear. Bless. She tries so hard, and it just makes me so happy.

I’m anxious to see what happens with Peter and Beverley’s tryst in the river Lugg. I snorted with laughter when Beverley suggested that they check back in ten years to see if the new river demigod (because she believes that it will be a boy river) is watching Doctor Who in order to confirm whether or not Peter is the “father.” (Let me remind you that, if you’ve decided to read this far, that if this doesn’t make any sense, you really need to read from the beginning.)

Now I find myself at an impasse. I can start the next book in the series, or I can take a side trip into the graphic novels. From what I can gather, they’re part of the canon, and I don’t really want to miss out on any important points. On the other hand, I’ve got so much to read as it is. I’m going to finish my current read (Widdershins, which is the first in the Whyborne & Griffin series by Jordan L. Hawk) and decide after that. Which, given that I’m nearly a quarter of the way through after less than twenty-four hours, should be Saturday (but only because I have to be at the day job for nine hours tomorrow).

So, until next time…

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