Ben Aaronovitch did a really smart thing with Foxglove Summer, which was to de-escalate, take it down a few notches, and bring us back to basics. I complained after Broken Homes that things were getting too complicated and also sort of repetitive. Foxglove Summer is a breath of wonderfully Peter Grant-laden fresh air.
When you study Shakespeare, at some point or another, you get to the idea of the Green World. My college advisor was deeply in favor of Northrup Frye’s theory, and I have been indoctrinated for life, it would seem, because I can’t help but apply this concept to what Aaronovitch does with this story. In the midst of a serious crisis of personal faith, a certain loss of innocence and a following necessary emotional threshold crossing, and a no-good, very bad series of decisions to make, Peter Grant gets to go to the country, find himself again, move forward with the badness but in a safe-ish vacuum, and also solve a challenging crime with a supernatural edge.
The country does him good, as a Green World is supposed to do. He refreshes and rebuilds and grows up a little, even making progress in his love relationship, which normally isn’t something I’d root for, but is so exciting for him that it became exciting for me. And we get a little brain cleanser along with him, sorbet for the reading mind, as it were.
Plus, as supernatural procedurals go, this one is super cool! It’s got kidnapping, unicorns, changelings, botany, bees, history, alternate history, fae, and UFO’s! Nightengale is barely around, but we get a taste of him (and Molly and Toby) without him mucking up the works. As a bonus, we meet a retired compatriot of his who fills in a little more backstory, and gifts Peter with an incredibly nifty tool.
Bravo for this. It could have gone off the rails, but instead the whole package got even better. Next up in this series is a pile of graphic novels! Talk about keeping it fresh!