highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
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Currently Reading: Hutcheon with Flynn, 'A Theory of Adaptation'. Homg. Adaptation theory makes me happy in the brain.

Recently Finished: Okay so I think this time I've actually exhausted KJ Charles' entire catalogue of historical m/m romance novels. MAYBE THAT WILL BE THE END OF THIS. Or maybe not.

Jackdaw (The World of A Charm of Magpies)Jackdaw by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I just didn't like this one as much as the Magpie books. I'm not sure *why*, entirely. I didn't like the premise, I suppose - the "obstacle" to be overcome in this romance plot was "one dude massively deceived the other leading to dude #2's doing gaol time", and... perhaps I would have liked it better if the POV protag were Deceiving Dude (he had reasons; the tension of 'i must do this thing but it is terrible' might have worked for me). Perhaps not.



Rivers of London (Peter Grant, #1)Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I had expected the text form not to live up to Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's narration, but perhaps I've listened to that enough times to memorise it by now. Or perhaps, coming off the back of A Charm of Magpies, my standards are a little lowered. Aaronovitch's worldbuilding skills still outrank his actual crime writing skills, though. And I could still do without Peter commenting on women's tits and legs every other chapter. Or... I dunno, it feels *forced* somehow. I have been known to check out ladies in my time, but that makes the dissonance of Peter's POV even weirder - especially in the first two books. By book 5 his perspective on hot women seems a lot more familiar to me. I don't know if that's supposed to be character development, or if Aaronovitch got over the need to assert his PROTAGONIST'S HETEROSEXUALITY all the time.



Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant, #2)Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


When I reviewed the audiobook I said I thought the detective plot was stronger in this one than in Rivers - I'm no longer sure of that. There were too many hanging threads, aside from the opening gambit with the Faceless Man. Still, it remained a good read.



Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant, #3)Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I absolutely loved this the first time I read it, and I think it's still my favourite - I'm a sucker for urban history. This time, though, I was reading it fast on the heels of Rivers and Moon, and there seemed to be a disjunct in Peter's characterisation. Previously he had lacked the marks to get into the science course he wanted, and his vast and disparate knowledge of London was attributed to documentaries, his father's jazz history, and wide-ranging interests with little focus. In this one, he gains a specific interest in architecture, which follows through to book four: it's GOOD, but the piece doesn't slot smoothly into his previously established history and mind-type.



Broken Homes (Peter Grant, #4)Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Plot-wise I think this might be the strongest since Rivers, and as usual, it resolved my discomfort with Moon and Whispers' treatment of Leslie. (Apparently some people object to 'making her evil'? I saw 'recognising she got a SHIT FUCKING DEAL and Our Heroes aint helping').



Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant, #5)Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I only gave it a 3 star rating when I read the audiobook - I was frustrated by the sloppy denouement. Which is still true, but I think I enjoyed this round much more, and appreciated a lot more of the small details.



Rag and Bone (Rag and Bone, #1)Rag and Bone by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


At the end of the Magpie books, I griped that I wanted Stephen to become Magical Captain Vimes: I would accept Crispin Tredaloe and Ned Hall as alternatives, and devoutly hope Charles will write more on them. I liked seeing Esther without Stephen; I liked the graphomancy plot (although the palimpsest of Ben Aaronovitch seemed even stronger underneath this one than the others). I enjoyed the pairing, the attention to the matching of two men who are consistently underestimated by others around them.

My only qualm was the consistent use of the phrase "people/men of colour". I get it, an awful lot of the vocabulary used in Victorian London for black men is NOT something you want to repeat in your fun romance novel. But the phrase "person of colour" is historically specific to 20th c America (excluding the use of 'free person of color / gens colouriées libres' as a legal category in slave-trading societies), only really took off there as an umbrella term in the 1970s, and is still not as widely used in other anglophone countries as it is in the US. And... what's wrong with describing Ned Hall as a black man, remarking that there are few black men in magical London, and so on? 'Black' is still a term used, does not have an exclusively pejorative signification, AND fits reasonably well into the historical context. That's how John Shakespeare is described, in Society of Gentlemen, and I'm not sure why it won't do for Ned.

I also read the short story 'A Queer Trade', from the 'Charmed and Dangerous' anthology, and liked it very much. It's a solid, discrete story, and has a bit of a sounder plot than this one does, I think - this one feels like a bridge between the Magpie books and something future, which I hope it is.



And that, I think, is enough reviews for one post. I'll hold over the Society of Gentlemen ones for another post.

Up Next: SO MANY WORK THINGS. Also the Charmed and Dangerous anthology, which I read only one story from before going back to devouring the KJ Charles novels. Plus I have more Patricia C Wrede books now!




Music notes: hmm, not much change (still into Amy MacDonald), but I just bought another Gillian Welch album to add to the collection ('Hell among the Yearlings', because I liked the title).
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