After reading Moon Over Soho, I wasn’t too sure where this series was going and I started this with some trepidation. Luckily, there is so much for me to love in Whispers Underground. Peter Grant is really starting to grow on me. Ben Aaronovitch has a way with words, which he aptly puts into Peter’s mouth as exemplified on page 41 when Peter “instructs” another driver after that one had collided with a car while overtaking Peter’s in the first heavy snowfall that winter (this sentence sounds awkward, but I can’t be bothered to try again just now):
Despite the cold, I lowered the window as I drove carefully past and explained that the superior handling characteristics of a four-wheel-drive vehicle were as naught if one were deficient in basic driving skills.
There were so many references to popular culture, British and other, I delighted in and probably twice as many I didn’t even catch. Pratchett, Tolkien, Lovecraft, Blackadder, Doctor Who, The Last Airbender, Dungeons & Dragons, Conan The Barbarian, Star Trek, The Hulk, etc.
There’s action and suspense and Grant’s dynamic with the supporting characters is always fun and getting better and better. Everyone Peter deals with has a distinctive voice, is funny and witty and adorable in his or her own right. Oh, London would be the place to be if people really were as depicted in Aaronovitch’s novels. Alas, it’s fiction, fantasy even. :) Even tough I’m sure that the percentage of agreeable people is higher in the UK I’m sure they have their fare share of jerks as well. Still, Whispers Underground offers a great escapism fantasy. I want to be in that place and hang around with those people.
Whispers Underground is gripping fun. The main character seems less self-possessed than in the first two books. He might be a bit more humble, but he’s still quite cocky in the face of authority.
I would have loved to have a bit more interaction with Nightingale, but the few mentions there were, were quite gratifying. When Peter finds himself in hospital after being buried alive, this little conversation between him and Leslie ensues:
“Has anyone else visited?” I asked. […]
“Nightingale turned up,” she said. “He was hoping to shout at you a bit to show his affection in a gruff manly and safely nongay way but you were asleep so he just sort of milled around for a while and then off he went.”
Since I still seem to be holding a grudge because of the negligent copy editing of the previous novel, I kept an eye out for avoidable typographical errors. There were nowhere near as many as in the book that disgruntled me so much because of them. So while knowing I’m anal I’m also appeased.
I would recommend Whispers Underground to everyone looking for a quick fun read with a bit of geek cred.