‘Lies Sleeping’ by Ben Aaronovitch

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Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Peter Grant, Police Procedural, Mystery

Similar books: Dresden Files, Iron Druid Chronicles

Previous books in the series reviewed: Midnight Riot, Moon over SoHo, Broken Homes, Foxglove Summer, The Hanging Tree, Whispers Under Ground

Rating: Recommended, Start at book 1. Book one (Midnight Riot(US)/Rivers of London(UK)) is Highly Recommended.

Here’s the TL;DR for my review (SPOILERS!):

  • Pros
    • Fun characters, fun setting. The author does an excellent job of researching ancient Roman England/English Folklore and incorporating it into his books.
  • Mixed
    • If you like the previous books in the series, this is more of the same. If you didn’t like the previous books in the series, this is more of the same.
  • Cons
    • This book contains similar flaws to all the previous books in the series. If you’ve read books 1-6, you know just about what flaws are in this one too.

Spoiler-tastic Review

While I enjoyed reading this, I don’t think it was the best book in the series. This book reminded me most of ‘Hanging Tree,’ the previous book in this series. This book didn’t serve to increase the scope of the series, instead featuring the usual heroes and villains doing their usual heroics and villainy in the same city of London which the previous six books were also featured in.

To be blunt, this series is getting repetitive. The heroes (Peter, Nightingale, Molly, Waleed, +1 cop) must team up and defeat the bad guys (The Faceless Man (Men), Leslie, Faerie baddies). They must do this by travelling around London, solving small crimes to figure out bigger ones. Also they must talk with the gods of the Rivers of England for advice, maybe going back in time on a spirit-vision of past events. In the mean time Peter gets to either have wild sex with his girlfriend Beverly/have unresolved sexual tension with Leslie.

As a reader I don’t like repetitive. It’s boring, because by definition I’ve read it before. I think that all the plot lines which were resolved in this book could of and should have been resolved in the prior book when they were all originally brought up. This book felt like a two-parter with ‘The Hanging Tree’ in that a lot of the plot points which were raised in that book were closed in this one.

Now that said, in this book the author definitively wrapped up the Faceless Man storyline in a rather ‘terminal’ sort of way, if you catch my drift, so it’s not possible for the author to repeat that storyline. After reading a ton of these books in quick succession, I can say that the Faceless Man has been a/the villain in five of the seven books. It’s well past high time that the author introduced someone new. Peter and Nightingale don’t have a good rogues gallery like Dresden does.

Also Peter’s and Beverly’s relationship has certainly gone up a notch in an equally no-going-back sort of way. This is good, even though I wish it happened sooner in the book instead of at the very end of the book. I also liked how Molly finally got some characterization and plot development, for the first time since book 1.

I don’t like how Nightingale has remained static since book 1. I want him to get some character development! I want to see him go out on a really awkward blind date with someone, or something equally funny. He’s had literally zero character development since even in book one.

My biggest complaint for this series is that the characters have been emotionally stagnant since book one. I think it’s about time that they start growing and changing as people. Hopefully the twists brought in at the end of this book will plant the seeds for that growth in the future.

I am going to read at least one more book in the series. No promises after that though; I’ve been burned by Urban Fantasy series which have gotten repetitive before. I need new villains, I need Peter and Nightingale to grow up a bit, and maybe even a new setting. London’s cool and all, but seven books set there is getting a bit long in the tooth.

Alternately if there are no more books in the series, then this book ends at a satisfactory spot with basically all the major plot points wrapped up. This would be a high note to end the story on. So fingers crossed there will be more books, but if not at least we got this wrap-up book.

My rankings for this series so far are

  1. Foxglove Summer
  2. Moon Over Soho
  3. Whispers Under Ground
  4. Midnight Riot/Rivers of London
  5. The Hanging Tree
  6. Lies Sleeping
  7. Broken Homes

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