Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.
As I started reading this book, I was beginning to think it would be one of those funny, British humor style books akin to Pratchett. But it wasn’t long before this puzzling murder led to a very shocking event, one that most people would say isn’t funny in the slightest. I had to adjust my attitude toward the book. This wasn’t a bad thing, just not what I was expecting. It’s interesting to me to see so many people say this book is funny. The plot itself was alright, though it started to become overly complicated. There were a few subplots that didn’t really seem to tie into the main whodunit story.
Being an American who has never visited London further complicated matters. There were some references that I just didn’t know or couldn’t get. This was a book club selection, and one of the members said he actually did research while reading so he could understand it all. This might not be an issue to all, and I found that I could get the gist of most of it and just dealt with the rest.
The characters were okay, nothing overly memorable. I did enjoy how the main character was self-deprecating. I loved how they tied magic to science, which I think is a fun way to have magic in an urban setting. For me, it seems this book just comes down to your style. There was nothing wrong with this book. No one hated it in our group. In fact, a couple members went and picked up the rest in the very long series. It was a quick read. I just don’t typically enjoy urban fantasy or crime novels, so since this is a mish-mash of the two, it wasn’t off to a great start for me. I enjoyed it for what it was, but not enough to feel tempted to continue on in the series.
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Format Read: Kindle
Category(s): Urban Fantasy, Crime
Pages: 298 (Paperback)
Series(?): 1 of 8 (Rivers of London)
As I looked through my reads these past few months, I wanted to rectify the books that lacked a full review. But as time has passed and memories fade, it didn’t seem fair to give my full write-up involving plot, characters, and writing style. Instead, I’ve shared a brief review of my overall thoughts and feelings. I hope you enjoyed, but be sure to check out some of my more in-depth analyses.