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Jen

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Book 8 of rivers of London series

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 26-02-20

It had been a while since last listening to a Peter story and at the start of this one I did wonder if íd missed/forgotten a major plot point. However, as I kept listening the situation was explained and it became evident my memory wasn’t that rusty. As we're back in London with this book it was a delight to hear Kobna Holdbrook-Smith narrating again with all the familiar characters. I even found I was fondly enjoying the musical break between chapters - something I generally dislike greatly!
Yes this book did seem at time to make geeky references that I think will delight some readers but I think most of them are one liners that won’t impact someone’s enjoyment if they don’t “get” the reference. This is book 8 in the series and I strongly suggest you start with book 1 to fully appreciate character’s backstories and their relationships. There were several parts that had me smiling at conversations and one that did have me chuckling aloud with delight, which I feel had that stronger impact because I knew the interplay between characters.

A “marmite” book, one you either love or hate.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-02-20

This book has a mix of highly rated reviews and much lower scores and appears to inspire “marmite” reactions. So let me see if I can add some extra thoughts so you can judge for yourself if it’s something that you’ll love, rather than hate. I’ll start by saying this is one I’m returning - something I think I can count on one hand I’ve done before with over 650 books in my library over many years. I tried on several occasions to complete this book but could not make it to the end. Some books do take longer to get into but I’d expect that to have happened way before the half way point of the book. I mention this to be upfront that it’s possible that there are surprise twists in plot and tone in the final 38 % of the book I haven’t heard.
Normally with a murder mystery, even if I find a character annoying, I can at least keep listening to see how the plot evolves - I just couldn’t find myself caring about the plot or any characters after persevering listening for 6 hrs 55. When it reached the stage when for the last 30 minutes the only thing that kept me listening was to try and work out why I didn’t like this audio I decided enough was enough and time to move onto another book.
The narrating seems, to my ear, to be relatively slow paced and quiet melodramatic. Something that isn’t noticeably changed regardless of which character is talking or if it’s narrative. This is read by the author, rather than a separate profesional voice artist. That’s not always a bad thing, I’ve several books in my library read by the author I’ve enjoyed - this isn’t one of them. I’d recommend ensuring that you listen to all the sample and judge for yourself if that’s the pace and style you want to listen to for the 11 hr 5 min length.
The book is set in Victorian Scotland and, as is not uncommon for books set in this time, there’s the usual dismissive and condescending attitudes on display. I’ve read several books and series set in this time, not to mention having read many primary sources from this period, so that in itself isn’t anything new to me or a deal breaker. I think the difference here, is that it felt that there was no “light and shade”. At over the half way point, there’s no noticeable character breaking from stereotypical roles. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in a book, I just prefer that trait in a “light reading”/fluff story where there’s at least one likeable character. With this I either disliked or didn’t care about any of the characters and the general tone set is continuously dark and miserable.
If there was any “who done it” mystery to try and solve ahead of the narrative, it passed me by. At least as far as I read; it was mainly if/how is the “bad guy”, already known to us, going to get caught? You will know if you like your crime novel to be a battle of wits to figure out the perpetrator before the “big reveal”. If you prefer the focus on the investigation with the “suspense” of “plots and intrigue” and other stuff getting in the way of the perpetrator being brought to justice etc then this is more to your taste. I personally didn’t find it particularly suspenseful but I’m guessing from other reviews that’s another personal preference and judgement thing.

A wonderful sequel

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 26-08-17

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend this book to others, with the strong suggestion that you read book 1 first.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

On more than one occasion I found myself laughing in real life at what I had just heard. Without giving too much of a spoiler there is a section where the history of a, new to this book, group of characters is being explained to a visitor which I particularly enjoyed.

Any additional comments?

Whilst there is a recap at the start of this book about what happened to the main characters in book 1 I think this works best as a reminder to a reader who has already read book 1 rather than as a way of being a good jumping in point for a new reader. If you have read any of Jodi Taylor other books you'll be familiar with the sense of humour that shines through various characters exploits and I was delighted to find that it was evident in this book as well.

One year later ...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-04-17

This book is set a year after "Thicker than water". As the main story unfolds we also get a series of flashback chapters that reveal what has been happening in Jessica's life. I mention this as it's not immediately obvious that this is what is happening and I initially thought I'd missed a book somewhere.
If you've enjoyed the rest of the series I see no reason why you won't enjoy this book. There's not the same interaction with the usual team but given the context of the story that's appropriate. As a one off I enjoyed it though I'm not sure if I personally want this to be a permanent career development for Jessica.

1 person found this helpful

Like having Siri reading a book to you

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-12-15

This is the closest I've come to returning a book and it was purely because of the narration. Conversations are better then the rest which is delivered/technically tweaked in such a way it was like having Siri read the book to you. It's a shame as the story itself is above average.

Great filling back story for loved characters

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-12-15

I really enjoyed listening to how some of the regular St Mary's team came to belong. As other reviews have mentioned this is read by Jodi Taylor so it may take a bit of adapting to a different voice reading the much loved characters.

4 people found this helpful

5th book in PC Peter Grant series

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-14

Have you listened to any of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have listened to each book in the PC Peter Grant series - all read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith so to my ear he is Peter Grant and all the other characters. This book carries on the same excellent level of narration.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It is a book I'd have happily listened to all in one sitting - which as it's 10 hours 45 mins long I guess is technically possible, though "real life" annoyingly got in the way of actually listening to it all at once!

Any additional comments?

I've read other some comments about this being a short book, in running length it's actually longer than the previous four in the series. As a story I think it would be possible to hear this as the very first Peter Grant story and still easily follow what was going on - however that option would obviously give spoilers about what had happened in previous stories. So my personal recommendation is to start at book one and work your way through to get maximum delight from the readings and the story.
For those who have already read/listened to the previous 4 books this story is set outside of London so some of the previous "regular" characters we've already met don't feature as much, if at all, and we meet new characters.
I'm already looking forward to book 6 :)