Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I found this book the good old-fashioned way – it caught my eye when I was out shopping for books last January at Blackwells in Oxford. Usually when I buy books, I know exactly what i’m going to read from all the hype on twitter or goodreads, so it’s nice to find a book completely by yourself.
I found this book in the Fantasy section (which is next to the YA) but met the author, Ben Aaronovitch at YALC (which is primarily young adult fiction). The characters in the book are not young adults, but this book would be suitable for young adults (read: there aren’t any raunchy sex scenes).
Rivers of London (Midnight Riot in the US) follows Peter Grant, a probationary constable in the Metropolitan Police as he transfers to a proper unit. By chance, he takes a witness statement from a man, who is actually a ghost, and this brings him to the attention of Chief Inspector Nightingale, wizard and leader of the secret supernatural unit. Peter becomes an apprentice wizard and supernatural detective, all the while tending to his crush on his former colleague, Leslie May.
So why did I pick up this book? It’s written really well, with real British humour and a distinct witty voice. It’s a really original take on the genre, and it’s based in London, real London (not just the tourist traps). It’s great to see a book so brilliantly British taking on fantasy and mythology. It is definitely more character driven rather than plot driven, with memorable characters, although the plot is a little more forgettable.
Who would like this book? I think it makes a refreshing change for any YA fan out there, but also any fan of fantasy, mythology and/or murder mysteries should be sure to give it a go. The books are a little expensive on Amazon (£6-7) but they are coming thick and fast – Foxglove Summer, book 5, came out in July, and The Hanging Tree, book 6 is due out in November.
I look forward to reading more of the Rivers of London series, although their current price means that it might be a while before I pick up another Peter Grant novel.