Saturday, November 29, 2014

Review: Foxglove Summer

Foxglove Summer
by Ben Aaronovitch

Format: Hardcover, 377 pages
Publisher: Gollancz
Cover Art: Patrick Knowles
Release Date: November 13, 2014 (UK)
ISBN-13: 978-0575132504

The fifth book in the Peter Grant series, Foxglove Summer moves the action to the countryside in the region of Herefordshire.  Two eleven-year-old girls have gone missing and Peter is sent to investigate.  At first, it seems like a standard missing or kidnapping case, but it doesn’t take long for a supernatural element to creep in.  Peter must delve into the strangeness and darkness of the country because time is running out…

The Peter Grant books have become one of my favorite series and Foxglove Summer is another great entry.  First off, Aaronovitch gets the main character out of his usual comfort zone and deep into the country, but the storytelling is just as strong and crisp as always.  All the usual stuff fans have come to expect are present: the quick plot, the snappy dialogue, as well as the numerous genre references.  Peter is once again in fine form, though he is obviously changed due to Lesley’s betrayal.  He gets a new romantic interest, the identity of which should not be surprising to those to have read this far. 

The big difference with this book is of course the change in location.  Set in the rolling hills and rural area of rural western England obviously changes things a little, though the short digressions into historical detail remain.  Once again, it is clear Aaronovitch has done his research to make the location feel true.  The big fantastical bit of this book is the heavy focus on the fae.  I don’t want to say too much so as not to spoil anything, but those who have read some other stories with the fae and the countryside may have some idea of what happens.   

It’s hard to think of any drawbacks with this book.  If there is any problem with Foxglove Summer, it’s that it’s clearly a middle book.  It’s meant to be a breather after the climatic events of the last book, Broken Homes.  Personally, I would have preferred to jump right into the overall storyline with Lesley and the Faceless Man, but that’s just me.  To be fair, Aaronovitch does start laying the groundwork for future books and we do learn some background stuff like the events at Ettersberg and the genealogy of another character. 

Foxglove Summer is another great, enthralling entry in the Peter Grant series.  It does something a little different while maintaining the quality and tone of the previous books.  The only real drawback is that it steps back to take a breather after the last book.  Can anyone tell that I really love this series?  Give me the next book already!

Rating: 9/10.

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