Title: Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Date Published: 25th August 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit – we do paperwork so real coppers don’t have to – and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.
Now I’m a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden … and there’s something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.
The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it’s falling to me to bring order out of chaos – or die trying.
Okay so my sister lent this to me, last year, I think, so I thought I had best read it and get it back to her!
PC Peter Grant is on track to become part of the Case Progression Unit, the ones who do the paperwork ‘real’ coppers are to busy to do, when he meets a ghost at a crime scene which changes all that. Suddenly his whole world changes and he is taken under the wing of DCI Thomas Nightingale and begins his training as a wizard. If dealing with a spate of violent murders, where random people are attacking each other and their faces falling off, they must deal with a turf war between Father and Mother Thames.
This book has a lot of things I like. Part murder mystery, part fantasy novel all set against inner city London. Also there’s that British self deprecating humour that really reminds me of the late great Sir Terry Pratchett who I am an absolutely massive fan of.
A lot of people have compared the character of Peter to a grown up Harry Potter but, I’m going to do another comparison to Terry Pratchett here, and say I found him to be more like Rincewind prone to accidents and trying to do the right thing and getting it wrong.
Also if you’ve never been to London, you get a real sense of the place. In fact there’s a lot of information which as a non-Londoner myself, will probably come in handy next time I visit.
In all honesty I wanted to like this book, I really did, but in the end I just found my mind drifting while I was reading it. There was also a lot of detail, almost a little too much for my little brain to take in, that just slowed the whole thing down plus the long chapters made it harder to read.
Will I read another one in the series, yes I probably will, just because I find sometimes that series get better as they go along. Fingers crossed!
About The Author:
Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world’s cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin’s New Adventures until they pulped all his books.
Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake’s 7 Audio dramas.
Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller. Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas).
Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.
Bedtime Book Reviews will be going on a little hiatus due to illness but I hope to be back with a new review mid July. Blog Tour posts will carry on as usual x