Book Review: The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

Title: The Hanging Tree

Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Blurb: Suspicious deaths are not usually the concern of Police Constable Peter Grant or the Folly—London’s police department for supernatural cases—even when they happen at an exclusive party in one of the flats of the most expensive apartment blocks in London. But the daughter of Lady Ty, influential goddess of the Tyburn river, was there, and Peter owes Lady Ty a favor.

Plunged into the alien world of the super-rich, where the basements are bigger than the houses, where the law is something bought and sold on the open market, a sensible young copper would keep his head down and his nose clean. 

But this is Peter Grant we’re talking about.

He’s been given an unparalleled opportunity to alienate old friends and create new enemies at the point where the world of magic and that of privilege intersect. Assuming he survives the week…

My Thoughts

Coming off the previous book in this series, Foxglove Summer, which is considered a bit of a “break” from the main plot, I was delighted to find that this book finally starts to get to the meat of the main conflict between Peter and Nightingale, and their archenemy, the Faceless Man. This time, the battles are bigger, the magic is more prevalent than ever, and a lot of the tension that has been building since the very first book begins to reach a breaking point.

In addition to the exciting plot, I felt a lot of the recurring characters, particularly Tyburn, got a considerable amount of development, and I think the significant focus on characterization in this book made the main conflict feel all the more dangerous and genuine. Peter’s ongoing issues with Leslie May were also brought to the forefront from where they’d been stewing for more than one book, and we got hints as to where their highly emotional personal conflict may be heading in the next installment.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is how it brings together so many of the supernatural elements that have been introduced throughout the entire series in a sensible and meaningful way to create an action-packed plot that answers a lot of the questions that have been presented from book one on. In so doing, this book expands the supernatural world-building by a considerable margin and sets up the future installments of the series to cover a much larger scope as the overarching plot speeds toward a grand, impressive finale.

Overall, I thought this book was a very strong entry for the series, and I’m looking forward to picking up the latest book, Lies Sleeping, in the near future.

Rating: 4/5

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