Rivers of London (Peter Grant, #1)
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.

Rivers of London (Peter Grant, #1) Details

TitleRivers of London (Peter Grant, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 10th, 2011
PublisherGollancz
ISBN-139780575097568
Rating
GenreFantasy, Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Paranormal

Rivers of London (Peter Grant, #1) Review

  • Patrick
    January 1, 1970
    Great book. Urban fantasy. You should read it. Why? Here's why.... 1. It's witty. 2. It's not cliché. 3. It's smart. 4. It's set in London, and written by someone who obviously knows London. 5. The main character has a great voice. 5. The language is great. (See below.) 6. It hasn't been dumbed down for the American audience. Well… okay. They did change the title in the US from "Rivers of London" to "Midnight Riot." That was a shame. But they left a lot of good stuff in. I don't think I've ever Great book. Urban fantasy. You should read it. Why? Here's why.... 1. It's witty. 2. It's not cliché. 3. It's smart. 4. It's set in London, and written by someone who obviously knows London. 5. The main character has a great voice. 5. The language is great. (See below.) 6. It hasn't been dumbed down for the American audience. Well… okay. They did change the title in the US from "Rivers of London" to "Midnight Riot." That was a shame. But they left a lot of good stuff in. I don't think I've ever read anything else published in the US that has as much legitimate British slang in it. It was lovely. 7. The author is obviously a proper geek. It's rare that someone references Tolkien, Newton, and The Last Airbender all in one book. If you don't know anything at all about London, Brittish slang, or culture other than the last three decades of American history, this book might stretch you a little bit. You might occationally have to absorb some information, learn a new word or two, and figure things out from context clues. If you have a problem with that? Well, I guess you can go back to watching Entourage and re-reading Twilight. Or you could jump into a dry well and kill yourself. It's a horse apiece, really. For the rest of you who realize that one of the main joys of reading (if not life itself) is learning and broadening your experience of the world… well… this book is for you. Congrats. You win.
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  • Nataliya
    January 1, 1970
    Rivers of London is a fun mix of so many things that I love in my pleasure reads - the geekiness and the science, the dry British humor², and the magical/mythical/phantasmagorical stuff in a big city³. What's not to like? My whole life, basically. Really.² Examples - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, even some of China Miéville's stuff.³ Examples - Harry Dresden books, China Miéville, Neil Gaiman, even Sir Terry."Carved above the lintel were the words SCIENTIA POTESTAS EST. Science points east, I wo Rivers of London is a fun mix of so many things that I love in my pleasure reads - the geekiness and the science¹, the dry British humor², and the magical/mythical/phantasmagorical stuff in a big city³. What's not to like?¹ My whole life, basically. Really.² Examples - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, even some of China Miéville's stuff.³ Examples - Harry Dresden books, China Miéville, Neil Gaiman, even Sir Terry."Carved above the lintel were the words SCIENTIA POTESTAS EST. Science points east, I wondered? Science is portentous, yes? Science protests too much. Scientific potatoes rule. Had I stumbled on the lair of dangerous plant geneticists?"The US-titled Midnight Riot (which used to be called Rivers of London before some American publisher undoubtedly decided that the target audience should NOT be aspiring US-based geographers) is a great read for me, a self-proclaimed devout Dresdenite (as in Harry Dresden, the Chicago wizard for hire, and not so much the German city). It has all the surface similarities to that series - a magically-inclined PI constable collaborating with the police force of a big city to solve magical crimes, while interacting with a slew of mythical creatures and engaging in self-deprecating pop-culture-references-laden humor (and, in case of Peter Grant, lacking the borderline-misogynous chivalry). But before you, those who do not share my affection for the Dresden universe, run away screaming from this book, please listen - it apparently appealed even to those who cannot stand Harry Dresden. All the similarities aside, this book has a very distinct and fun voice, and is less pulpy, much lighter on the magical stuff and whimsy, and heavier on dry humor and police procedurals as well as geekiness than the Chicago wizard books. "I'd like to say that I remembered the practice of exchanging hostages from school history classes or from stories of precolonial life in Sierra Leone, but the truth was that it came up while playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was thirteen."Peter Grant is joining the ranks of my favorite characters with his self-deprecating humor firmly rooted in pop-culture and modern world, as well as his own complicated family dynamics. A probationary constable who is recruited into a small (now consisting of 2 people) department of London police dealing with the supernatural, he approaches learning magic from a viewpoint of a natural scientist, carrying out experiments, creating theories, and even using science and valid deductions to counteract the villain in one of the major confrontations. All helped along with humor, and told in a narrative voice that is very even-keeled, even when the protagonist is faced with a life-or-death situation, and which, in my opinion, adds to the appeal of this story."We did an hour of practice, at the end of which I was capable of flinging a fireball down the range at the dizzying speed of a bumblebee who'd met his pollen quota and was taking a moment to enjoy the view." And the city - Ben Aaronovitch's love for London is contagious. London is very much a character in this story, and way more than just a setting. The history, the streets, the landmarks, even the rivers in this story are captivating. I love when that happens in books, and I thoroughly enjoyed it in this story. "Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the "London once-over" - a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport - like BASE jumping or crocodile wrestling."--------------------------------------But wait there for a second, Nataliya, you must be wondering, if you loved this book so much then (a) why don't you marry it? and (b) why the hell did you just 3-star it, huh??? Well, here's why. While I love the narrative voice and the protagonist to pieces, I find the storyline(s) not very memorable or compelling. I'm sure I'll remember Peter Grant for years to come, but I'll be hard pressed to remember what the hell the story was about. No, it's not hard to follow, but it's just not that memorable, and, honestly, not that engrossing. Moreover, the two main stories in this book, aptly represented by the titles that the different sides of the ocean have chosen - Midnight Riot and Rivers of London - felt to me quite separate from each other, connected only by the fact that Peter Grant was involved in both of them. I think Aaronovitch should have either connected them together in a more meaningful way, or has chosen one of them to focus on. Despite my gripes with the storylines, I was so enamored with the narration and the humor and the protagonist that I will without a doubt read the next book in the series, and will highly recommend this one. Peter Grant for the win! 3.5 stars."If you ask any police officer what the worst part of the job is, they will always say breaking bad news to relatives, but this is not the truth. The worst part is staying in the room after you've broken the news, so that you're forced to be there when someone's life disintegrates around them. Some people say it doesn't bother them - such people are not to be trusted."---------------By the way, here is my review of the second book in the series, Moon Over Soho.For the review of the third book, Whispers Underground, head over here, and for the fourth one, Broken Homes, over here.
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  • Felicia
    January 1, 1970
    Well, I'm always looking for a great Urban fantasy book series, and this one is another one I'll be following with joy! Very much in the style of Harry Dresden, and my other fave, the Alex Verus series. This series is set in modern-day London, and features a black male lead character, who's a cop, and finds himself drafted into the magical investigation unit arm of the police. I love the sensibility of this book, it's incredibly dark at the same time, quippy! The worldbuilding is very interestin Well, I'm always looking for a great Urban fantasy book series, and this one is another one I'll be following with joy! Very much in the style of Harry Dresden, and my other fave, the Alex Verus series. This series is set in modern-day London, and features a black male lead character, who's a cop, and finds himself drafted into the magical investigation unit arm of the police. I love the sensibility of this book, it's incredibly dark at the same time, quippy! The worldbuilding is very interesting as well, and the characters are fun to follow. I will be reading more as soon as I can get my hands on it!
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  • Julio Genao
    January 1, 1970
    city people be like:first of all, i wasn't too keen on what happens to lesley, but i guess you can't make an omelette without—*ducks flung shoe* anyway.this painfully-white guy i used to know read this book too, and he said aaronovitch's handling of race annoyed him, because while there is awesomeness like various london water goddesses being nigerians, aaronovitch himself is not nigerian, and people who speak authoritatively about races not their own are typically embarrassing and distasteful.a city people be like:first of all, i wasn't too keen on what happens to lesley, but i guess you can't make an omelette without—*ducks flung shoe* anyway.this painfully-white guy i used to know read this book too, and he said aaronovitch's handling of race annoyed him, because while there is awesomeness like various london water goddesses being nigerians, aaronovitch himself is not nigerian, and people who speak authoritatively about races not their own are typically embarrassing and distasteful.and it's true, mostly. that's gross.usually.but somehow, i got through this book and all the way through the next one in the series without once being offended by that stuff.i noted it; read up on the author's background; but mostly i was just like... hah, yeah, all the nigerians i ever met were totally like that.i think a certain thing happens to you when you live in a huge, multicultural city like london (or nyc) that entitles you to a kind of bald and horrendously un-PC pragmatism about our differences that some people (who don't happen to grow up living on top of one another in a glorious shitpile of cultures) never have a reason to develop.it's not something i'm proud of, exactly—not exactly—but life in a place like that encourages a certain... a certain... well, look. when someone in the neighborhood asks me where to buy bootlegged (and thus cheaper) cigarettes, i send them to "the arabs."it's just a thing. that we do here. it sounds gross, but ...the place is literally run by arabs. and all places like it in this city are almost always run by arabs. like, that's where one goes. to the arabs. and everyone here knows what that means. when you want some twee macrobiotic coconut water shit, you go to the korean market. a greasy spoon: a greek diner named for athena or zeus or whatever.a bag of chips and a sandwich: your local dominican bodega, of course. (ayo, bodega cat! get off muh chipz, ok! i'm rilly serious this time!)diamonds?you bettuh believe your goyim ass is going to the jews.and just you try to catch a yellow cab not driven by a south asian dude. (the 'gypsy' cabs are all driven by dominicans, which i know not just because i live here, but because i am a dominican and i literally used to be a dominican gypsy cab driver. and yes disappointed drunk people on their way home from bars or clubs often ask to pay their fare in blowjobs)so as a native new yorker in love with new york, i appreciated aaronovitch's plainly visible love for his london in just those ways. and while i've never lived there, i can certainly believe everything he wrote about it. i recognized new york in it.i felt like i got it, the racial side-stuff, and nothing bothered me about it, especially since i was pretty much over the moon with having a mixed-race MC and various non-punchline queers and very strong female characters to boot.the mystery isn't bad at all; its your basic paranormal police procedural, and i'm really happy i read it, as it diverted my feeble mind during a difficult time—trying to quit going to the arabs for cigarettes.------------PS: hilariously, it is somehow also NYC convention to pronounce "arabs" like an appalachian hillbilly or something, for no reason i can fathom. as in: "yo, i'm gonna go to the AE-rabz for a loosie, you want?"
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    I'm giving this top marks for an UF for several reasons.1. Plain enjoyment! (This one should be obvious but it doesn't always work even with a lot of other titles I respect across the board. I may love bits and pieces of them, but then you come across writing that is a breeze to fall into and enjoy throughout, and then you know you've got a real winner on your hands. That's this one.)2. Geeky, rather a loser London Police Constable with a bit of a new magical talent, a heavy steeping of modern s I'm giving this top marks for an UF for several reasons.1. Plain enjoyment! (This one should be obvious but it doesn't always work even with a lot of other titles I respect across the board. I may love bits and pieces of them, but then you come across writing that is a breeze to fall into and enjoy throughout, and then you know you've got a real winner on your hands. That's this one.)2. Geeky, rather a loser London Police Constable with a bit of a new magical talent, a heavy steeping of modern sf/f culture, and an even heavier steeping of police procedural and depth of characterization. It feels real and I just love this guy.3. It's not light on the Londonite scene! This is great grounding and full of great humor and history, bringing in some of the weirdest tidbits of the past centuries like the proverbial grab-bag and shaking it about a bit and giving us a hell of a weird novel. It's a total blast.Any one of these reasons should have been enough, but damn... who cares! It's a great read! Some of the best UF created, in fact. I can't wait to delve into the rest!
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  • Luffy
    January 1, 1970
    Peter Grant is a Probationary Constable, a term I wasn't familiar with until I began reading. At the beginning the London of Peter Grant is a normal one. The genre is not in Fantasy waters from the beginning. But then Grant witnesses a ghost at a crime scene.The author reminds me of Ian Rankin when there is police procedure of the mudane type, and Jim Butcher when magic is involved. I liked how imperfect the hero, Peter Grant, is. There is, however, always a trade off. I found the writing style Peter Grant is a Probationary Constable, a term I wasn't familiar with until I began reading. At the beginning the London of Peter Grant is a normal one. The genre is not in Fantasy waters from the beginning. But then Grant witnesses a ghost at a crime scene.The author reminds me of Ian Rankin when there is police procedure of the mudane type, and Jim Butcher when magic is involved. I liked how imperfect the hero, Peter Grant, is. There is, however, always a trade off. I found the writing style slightly prominent, which is not good for me as a reader.Grant is surrounded by a world that is alive because the characters are alive. So the author did his job well. But my memory is quite haphazard so I still didn't remember all the people in the book. It is hard to pinpoint why the book is relevantly brilliant. I think that the slow pacing of the book helps establish its world for the necessary sequels. What I'm saying is that the book is must read and is a wonderful springboard for a series.
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  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Midnight Riot is the kind of book that people like me, absolute anglophile and devoted BBC lover, couldn’t help but like. The humor and the texture to the narrative in this book reads delightfully British, but in a fashion that suggests that England isn’t just Jane Austen or Charles Dickens. It’s also Doctor Who, Blake’s Seven, Being Human, Law and Order: UK, and Luther. It’s upper crust and working class. It’s a mix of past and present. Even deeper, it’s the everyday lives of Britons, not all N Midnight Riot is the kind of book that people like me, absolute anglophile and devoted BBC lover, couldn’t help but like. The humor and the texture to the narrative in this book reads delightfully British, but in a fashion that suggests that England isn’t just Jane Austen or Charles Dickens. It’s also Doctor Who, Blake’s Seven, Being Human, Law and Order: UK, and Luther. It’s upper crust and working class. It’s a mix of past and present. Even deeper, it’s the everyday lives of Britons, not all Northern European either. It was so refreshing to have a hero who is mixed-race, but seen as black by some; and to others, ethnically uncertain. He couldn’t get on the tube without getting nervous looks from some people who had made up their mind what his place in their world was, without asking him about it. On any given day, due to how much sun he gets, some might think he’s African, or some might think he’s Arab. Peter is unselfconscious about his ethnicity, although very aware that not everyone is comfortable with it. His mother is Sierra Leonan, and her culture infuses him, from her attitude towards hard work, to her frugality, and her penchant for making food so spicy that he has to drink a liter of water to douse its fire. His father is a white former musician with a thirty year heroin habit, and that colors the narrative just as much, for we are not in a small degree who our parents make us. That is either due to rebelling against our parents or through a childhood of being shaped by their rearing. As a reader of black heritage, I have to say that it’s good to see stories that feature characters of black ethnicity. There are a lot of our stories to tell, and they don’t seem to see the light of day, and not in the diversity that reflects the black African disapora. I hope that more leads in urban fantasy novels in the future are of color, because it adds something to a read to see someone who is like you, at least in some small way.I enjoyed Peter’s character. He’s an insightful narrator, and full of wit. I liked seeing London through his perceptive gaze.The police procedural aspects were great. Better than watching an episode of a BBC cop show, because Peter explains the ins and out of the Metropolitan Police to a degree I have never caught onto in my varied viewing pleasures. Peter’s acceptance of the workings of enormous wheels of bureaucracy turning in the Met makes what might have been boring, very fascinating, especially with his deadpan humor delivery (classic British wit). As I read this novel, I felt as though I had learned a lot more about the police in the UK, which is similar but different to the US.The paranormal aspects were good and rather unique. I like how magic is presented here. The way it leaves an essence (called a vestigium that has a taste, feel, and smell) that Peter is able to pick up. When he’s recruited as an assistant and apprentice wizard to Thomas Nightingale, for a part of the Met that deals with the odd and magical crimes, he finds the niche he’d been searching for, with this inquisitive mind, and his insight into science. He doesn’t take things at face value, but he’s open-minded enough to accept that London has denizens that are not human, such as vampires, trolls, and malevolent ghosts who draw energy from those they possess, leading to their gruesome and violent deaths. It was interesting to watch Peter and Nightingale use a mix of police investigative techniques and magic to solve the inexplicable attacks of violence that seemingly normal London citizens are perpetrating against each other. He also comes to realize that the rivers of London are alive, gods and goddesses, if you will. And Peter needs their help to keep the peace in London, but also to resolve the territorial disputes between The Old Man of the River and Mama Thames, who both believe that they have a right to rule the Thames, and their tributaries. Ben Aaronovitch has already secured his place in pop culture as the writer of Doctor Who novels. It’s great to see him put the fruits of his imagination to the page with this first in the Peter Grant series. After falling for Peter Grant, and his unforgettable narrative of London, he is going on my must read list.
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  • Lois Bujold
    January 1, 1970
    Rivers of London (U.S. title: Midnight Riot) by Ben Aaronovitch, 2011 I received this book as a gift a rather long time ago. It sat in my to-be-read pile for far too long because, I am embarrassed to admit, of its cover, which looked dreary and literary. I should instead have looked at the first page, which opens:“It started at one thirty on a cold Tuesday morning in January when Martin Turner, street performer and, in his own words, apprentice gigolo, tripped over a body in front of the West P Rivers of London (U.S. title: Midnight Riot) by Ben Aaronovitch, 2011 I received this book as a gift a rather long time ago. It sat in my to-be-read pile for far too long because, I am embarrassed to admit, of its cover, which looked dreary and literary. I should instead have looked at the first page, which opens:“It started at one thirty on a cold Tuesday morning in January when Martin Turner, street performer and, in his own words, apprentice gigolo, tripped over a body in front of the West Portico of St Paul’s at Covent Garden. Martin, who was none too sober himself, at first thought the body was that of one of the many celebrants who had chosen the Piazza as a convenient outdoor toilet and dormitory. Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the ‘London once-over’ – a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport – like base-jumping or crocodile wrestling. Martin, noting the good-quality coat and shoes, had just pegged the body as a drunk when he noticed that it was in fact missing its head.” OK. That got me in for the next paragraph, which took me to the next page, and by the time I had reached the end of the first scene and figured out the book was to be written in first person, normally an allergy for me, it was too late to opt out. But the first paragraph had given me glimpses already of what were to be salient ongoing features of the book – a strong voice, a wry sense of humor, and an utterly convincing sense of place. There exists a quality of a book that I do not have a name for; it is approached by terms like “mode” and “voice” and “the writer’s world-view”, but isn’t quite any of these. I short-hand it as, “What kind of head-space am I going to be stuck in now?” And is it one I that will enjoy being stuck in? We seek out, I think, any favorite writer’s other books, even if they are varied, in the hopes of entering that agreeable head-space again. So while a lot of the events of this book were quite dark, its head-space, mediated by a young 21st Century London copper named (we eventually find out) Peter Grant, was not. Before the first chapter is out, he finds himself witness-interviewing a ghost, in his best police-procedural style, and events spin out from there. The plot seems discursive at times, but winds itself up in a very nice knot before the end, leading me to want to reread it very soon, to watch how all the cards were so neatly palmed. But no amount of plot legerdemain would take me back to a book if I hadn’t developed some affection for the characters, which Aaronovitch brought off and did not (though he had me worried at points) betray. My problem these days with coming-of-age, young-man-discovers-his-mojo books, of which this is one in a long, long line (to which I have myself added), is that the protagonists, who ought by rights to be the literary heartthrobs for any right-thinking geek grrl reader, are now all younger than my children. It... just doesn’t work on that level anymore. Instead, I find my attention drawn to the mentor-figures. Now, in this kind of book, being a mentor is an extreme sport indeed – their chances of making it out of the book alive are by no means secure, as they can be routinely sacrificed right and left to supply the proper amount of angst and secret generational triumph to the young protagonists. Aaronovitch offered quite a charming older mentor figure in one Detective Inspector Thomas Nightingale, last wizard of London, upon whom I was quite willing to bestow my senior-citizenly affections, except for this risk. Don’t get attached, I kept telling myself. Drat it. His fate did provide plenty of suspense from my point of view, quite apart from what proved to be the truly bizarre plot. I see Inspector Nightingale makes it to the sequel, Moon Over Soho, now on order from my public library, but, y’know, that’s still no guarantee. But if he is ever butchered to make a Roman holiday speed bump for the kid, I shall be peeved. Highly recommended, if you haven’t figured that out by now.Ta, L.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Posted at Shelf InflictedI’m a fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, even though I got tired and stopped reading after #9. After a while the stories became too repetitive and I didn’t see any significant growth in Harry’s character. His smart-ass comments that were amusing in the earlier books started getting annoying towards the end. In the hopes I would find a fun read similar to the Dresden books, I picked up Midnight Riot. It wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t a great one either. Peter Gr Posted at Shelf InflictedI’m a fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, even though I got tired and stopped reading after #9. After a while the stories became too repetitive and I didn’t see any significant growth in Harry’s character. His smart-ass comments that were amusing in the earlier books started getting annoying towards the end. In the hopes I would find a fun read similar to the Dresden books, I picked up Midnight Riot. It wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t a great one either. Peter Grant was an interesting character. He is a constable in London’s Metropolitan Police who wants to be a detective, but his superior thinks he is better suited for pushing paper. Finding a headless corpse in The Actors’ Church in Covent Garden and talking with a ghost who witnessed the crime draws him to Thomas Nightingale, the force’s investigator of supernatural crimes. Under Nightingale’s patient tutelage, Peter learns how magic works and how to hone his investigative skills. He is kept very busy as the body count increases and his negotiation skills are called upon to help resolve the differences between the magical rulers of the Thames River. This is when the story seemed to lose focus for me. There were two stories in one, and neither was compelling enough to keep my interest. I found my attention wandering numerous times and took breaks to read other stories. I loved that Peter is mixed race, his father a failed jazz musician and his mother a cleaning woman from Sierra Leone. While I enjoyed how the ethnic and racial diversity of London was portrayed, I couldn’t really get a feel for the city. I need more than street names, mention of famous landmarks, and references to TV shows or movies I haven’t seen or heard of. Too many acronyms became confusing and I found myself going back in the story to find out what they stand for. Overall, the story was fast-paced, but not especially gripping. I liked Peter’s voice, his witty sense of humor and his scientific approach to magic. But like Harry Dresden, his sexual maturity never exceeds the level of a teenage boy, even though he is attracted to his colleague, Leslie, and Beverly Brook, daughter of Mother Thames. I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the series.
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  • carol.
    January 1, 1970
    Thoughts on the book:my review.Thoughts on the audio version:As many people have noted, Kobna Holbrook Smith is a fabulous reader. Turns out he is an actor and director is well, with a long list of tv credits, which is kind of a bummer because I hope he continues to have time for the Peter Grant series.Holbrook Smith is clearly a talented voice actor who can understandably convey a range of London accents, from that of an 19th century itenerant to Nightingale's 'posh' early 20th century to curre Thoughts on the book:my review.Thoughts on the audio version:As many people have noted, Kobna Holbrook Smith is a fabulous reader. Turns out he is an actor and director is well, with a long list of tv credits, which is kind of a bummer because I hope he continues to have time for the Peter Grant series.Holbrook Smith is clearly a talented voice actor who can understandably convey a range of London accents, from that of an 19th century itenerant to Nightingale's 'posh' early 20th century to current police vernacular. I also found his Danish and Jamaican accents amusing. Ever since an unfortunate experience with the Stephanie Plum audio, I'm particularly impressed when actors are able to voice characters of the opposite sex without making it sound fake. Holbrook Smith is able to give Leslie a decent voicing, but it really shines when (view spoiler)[she transforms into Punch. (hide spoiler)] I did feel like quite a few bit characters ended up with a Jamaican-sounding accent, which may or may not reflect London demographics. Interestingly, I noted that I didn't find the audio version quite as funny as I found the paper version. As an American, I wonder if this is an example of the 'dry' British humor, that the pause or infliction I expect is missing. I certainly found phrases snicker-out-loud funny when my inside voice read it. That said, his reading of the following dialogue made me laugh out loud: “You don’t think she and Nightingale…?” asked Lesley. “Ew,” said Beverley. “That’s just wrong.” “I thought you and her were friends?” I asked. “Yeah, but she’s like a creature of the night,” said Beverley. “And he’s old.”I will note that there were two moments in later chapters when it sounded as if the recording was taken up weeks or months later. It was still the same reader, but something about the tone of the recording and the closeness of the voice changed. I did love the jazz introduction between chapters.Overall, a great audio. I'll definitely continue revisiting the series through audio.
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  • Annet
    January 1, 1970
    Well, this was something different. It had to grow on me. Which, in the end it did. Fun characters, out of the box weird story, humor here and there and all playing in London, one of my most favorite cities in the world. Many streets I could envisage for me, especially Covent Garden, the prime place of crime. It is of course a fantasy story, a young man, starting out as a cop, turns into a learning wizard cop. No, it's not like Harry Potter.... it's kind of a weird fantasy story playing in Londo Well, this was something different. It had to grow on me. Which, in the end it did. Fun characters, out of the box weird story, humor here and there and all playing in London, one of my most favorite cities in the world. Many streets I could envisage for me, especially Covent Garden, the prime place of crime. It is of course a fantasy story, a young man, starting out as a cop, turns into a learning wizard cop. No, it's not like Harry Potter.... it's kind of a weird fantasy story playing in London. I would say... 3.7ish. There is more to gain by this writer I think and to improve. But... good start. I'd like to try more of this series and see how it evolved. And... thanks Caro, for the great tip! To be continued.
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  • Megan Baxter
    January 1, 1970
    Too. Much. Fun.But not too much. Just the right amount of fun. Ladies and gentleman, if you're looking for a relatively light read, with overtones of the theatre and English puppetry, and undertones of feuding rivers and power struggles, all sifted through the eyes of a police constable who has just discovered that magic is real, and he's been chosen to police it, then this is the book for you!Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enfo Too. Much. Fun.But not too much. Just the right amount of fun. Ladies and gentleman, if you're looking for a relatively light read, with overtones of the theatre and English puppetry, and undertones of feuding rivers and power struggles, all sifted through the eyes of a police constable who has just discovered that magic is real, and he's been chosen to police it, then this is the book for you!Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
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  • Richard Derus
    January 1, 1970
    UPDATE 27 June 2013: A TV series is on the way! Maybe 2014! Rating: 3.5* of five The Publisher Says: 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 UPDATE 27 June 2013: A TV series is on the way! Maybe 2014! Rating: 3.5* of five The Publisher Says: 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. My Review: I'm on record everywhere as disliking phantasee nowvels with Randomly capitalized woordes misspelled to make them majgicqkal. So why the hell would I even pick this book up? Need an easy target to aim brickbats at? No. I feel about this book the way I feel about candy bars: Okay. I won't buy one, normally, because I don't like them much (except Little Debby Nutty Bars, which are Perfection, but this is so self-evident as not to need discussion), but there are times and places for everything, right? I found a time and a place for this book. I liked it fine. It's more what I'd hoped for when I heard the fuss about the Harry Dresden, Wizard for Justice, series. Which I did not like at all after about book two.Peter Grant and his London are intimately connected. The prose makes sure you know this by referencing the ways in which Peter interfaces with London constantly. Tube stops, the names of branch lines, references to bus lines and street names and the oh-so-British shorthand about a character by referencing the newspaper he or she reads...highways and exits and town names...the UK title of the book, The Rivers of London, is absolutely the proper title for a book that uses those rivers, from obvious and huge like the Thames to small, obscure, and vanished, like the Tyburn, as characters to be reckoned with, and whose central myth-making (highly reminiscent of American Gods) dates the age of some riverine characters to the time when England began to clean the rivers up and bring them back to life...well, Midnight Riot just doesn't do the book justice.So...Harry Dresden meets American Gods, two things that have elicited negative reviews from me, and I give this three and a half stars. Senile? Drugged? Honest. This book is meant to be fun to read, and it is, while still being built with a consistent mythical background, and it is, with...and here's the key to my pleasure in reading this as opposed to Dresden or Gaiman...a main character whose journey through the pages of story causes him to alter his perception of himself and his place in the world. Harry Dresden's boring agonizing and obnoxious chauvinistic 'tude towards women are absent. Gaiman's ultraubermega cool world-building is present, but without the static characters. Score!Okay, that sounds like more than three and a half stars, right? Yep. If the book had had some issues ironed out, the rating would be higher. One big issue is Peter Grant's attitude towards the whole majgicqal mystikal world he's suddenly in touch with. “Oh...okay.” Not enough, Mr. Aa. Another issue is the pacing. How, in this day and time of 11945663-page, 29846-volume series novels, is it possible to make 298pp have draggy spots?! Seriously. Draggy spots! How? And there is the question of series-ness...one doesn't want to give too much away to preserve the fun of discovery for future installments, but the cicerone character of Nightingale, Grant's police superior and apparently a very, very old man, is not so much mysteriously vague and intriguing as annoyingly unexamined.Flaws exist in all things made by humankind, and one person's flaw is another's bliss, but these are pet peeves of mine. Character development and pacing are crucial to my personal enjoyment of a novel. I'm inclined to be forgiving of first novelists in these matters, but not vets like Aaronovitch, who has written several very influential Doctor Who novels.So three and a half stars it is. And I'll read Moon Over Soho, the next installment in the series, because I like Peter and his majgickqal world that much. Pretty high praise coming from a mean old curmudgeon like me. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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  • Sam Quixote
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my gaaaaawd, you know what I’ve just discovered? This is the first novel I’ve five-starred in nearly 20 GODDAMN MONTHS (the last being a re-read of Chuck Bukowski’s Pulp, thank you GR stats)!! The hell with it, this calls for an adult beverage - this is a motherloving EVENT! Join me, won’t you? I know you’re all secret alcoholics too… ah booze, you beautiful beast you… slurp… Peter Grant is the London Metropolitan Police’s newest recruit, hoping for a fun, rewarding placement that’s not gonna Oh my gaaaaawd, you know what I’ve just discovered? This is the first novel I’ve five-starred in nearly 20 GODDAMN MONTHS (the last being a re-read of Chuck Bukowski’s Pulp, thank you GR stats)!! The hell with it, this calls for an adult beverage - this is a motherloving EVENT! Join me, won’t you? I know you’re all secret alcoholics too… ah booze, you beautiful beast you… slurp… Peter Grant is the London Metropolitan Police’s newest recruit, hoping for a fun, rewarding placement that’s not gonna stick him behind a desk filling out endless paperwork. Which he almost gets until a chance encounter with a ghost one night in Covent Garden introduces him to Detective Chief Inspector (read: Most Powerful Wizard in Ingerlund) Thomas Nightingale, the head - and up to that moment, the only member - of the Met’s secret paranormal branch. Together, the sorcerer and his apprentice set out to stop the malicious spirit of Mr Punch (yes, the puppet!) from murdering Londoners and resolve a turf war between the Thames river gods. That’s the way to do it, Ben Aaronovitch! Supernatural coppers ain’t exactly original with The X-Files TV show and the Hellboy/BPRD comics springing to mind, and even the idea of a fantasy story about murderous Punch and Judy puppets has been done before in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld short story Theatre of Cruelty, but Aaronovitch definitely makes the concept his own here - Rivers of London is the best novel I’ve read in, well, too damn long!I enjoyed every part of this book. The story is full of charming characters. Our protagonist Peter is very likeable and is the right amount of clueless and capable as the story demands. Nightingale is a brilliant Obi-Wan to Peter, Lesley is a great Scully to Peter’s Mulder (sorry for the disparate pop culture comparisons!), and even minor characters like the terrifyingly silent housekeeper Molly and Lesley’s boss Seawoll made powerful impressions in their brief appearances. I also like how the cast is growing organically with new additions being made as the story progresses, like Toby the dog joining the group after a particularly gruesome episode. And - though it’s a cliche to say this - London itself is a distinct character with its sprawling and unique areas, world-famous landmarks and impossibly dense history playing a central role throughout. The world-building is expertly done in such a way as to sell the fantasy in a wholly convincing and unforced style. Everyone from the first ghost to the vampires and river gods we meet along the way feel natural and believable-enough in the narrative context - think Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Aaronovitch has found the perfect balance between police procedural and fantasy, taking the best elements of both genres and fashioning a compelling hybrid from them. All of the incongruous pieces work beautifully together and make sense within the logic of the story. I liked The Folly, Nightingale’s “Sanctum Sanctorum”, and his magic lessons with Peter, introducing werelights and vestiges, were interesting in themselves; as well as being necessary plot devices, they also never felt like clunky exposition. It wasn’t a huge concern to me as I found them both compelling but I did wonder if the two alternating plotlines had anything to do with one another and, yes, Aaronovitch does manage to tie them together in an inspired way by the end. Absolutely brilliant! I loved Rivers of London. Well-written, cleverly-constructed, imaginative, original and thoroughly entertaining, I heartily recommend it to one and all but especially to fans of Terry Pratchett’s City Watch books and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.
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  • Lia °booksnpenguins°
    January 1, 1970
    "When I’m considering this I find it helpful to quote the wisdom of my father, who once told me, Who knows why the fuck anything happens?” Funny, fresh and awesomely weird. I still have some minor complaints, but I couldn't put this down 😯
  • Cyna
    January 1, 1970
    Goddammit. I wanted to like this one. I really, really, really did. It has a lot going for it. Midnight Riot, also known as Rivers of London across the pond, has, while not the most original premise, certainly an engaging voice. It's got that dry British humor going on, an initially likable hero, an intriguing world and diverse cast, a science(ish)-based magic system, and a POC protagonist who doesn't read like a white guy with a paint job. It was close, SO CLOSE, to enjoyable.Unfortunately, it Goddammit. I wanted to like this one. I really, really, really did. It has a lot going for it. Midnight Riot, also known as Rivers of London across the pond, has, while not the most original premise, certainly an engaging voice. It's got that dry British humor going on, an initially likable hero, an intriguing world and diverse cast, a science(ish)-based magic system, and a POC protagonist who doesn't read like a white guy with a paint job. It was close, SO CLOSE, to enjoyable.Unfortunately, it's first and foremost a blatant male wish-fulfillment fantasy, which I could have endured, if the female characters hadn't ended up a casualty of the male-centric plot. Midnight Riot is heavy on the sexism: sometimes subtle, sometimes...not so much, but present and grating enough to make it a problem for me.Sigh.But let's talk about the good things first for once, eh?Four Things I Liked About Midnight Riot:1. It's FunnyAaronovitch knows his stuff. Midnight Riot tends towards dry and subversive humor, and Aaronovitch is very good at using characters and archetypes familiar to the genre in funny and unexpected ways. The dialog is, for the most part, sharp and conversations have the sort of timing you'd expect from someone with a history of penning witty television shows. Riot and its world and its characters have the feel of a slightly wacky, weekly supernatural police procedural, and I could easily see it working as one.Not every joke works, of course, but more than anything else the deadpan tone of the novel kept me reading and interested, even through two seriously meandering, disconnected plots, and an often history-heavy narrative.2. It Has a Truly Diverse CastMidnight Riot was one of the few books with a POC protagonist where I feel like the author didn't just label a white protagonist black or Asian or Native American and been done with it. Peter's race actively impacts his life and his experiences - the way people react to him on the subway, or during a riot, or even in his job, he is aware of how his skin color makes a difference. It's not heavy-handed or preachy or the point of the story, it's just an aspect of Peter's life, and I think Aaronovitch handled that aspect quite well.There's also a higher-than-average number of characters of color, in general. Dr. Walid, the coroner, is Scottish Muslim, and Peter's mother, of course, is an immigrant from Sierra Leon. His love interest, Beverly Brook, the powerful Mama Thames, and the majority of the rivers of London are African women. They all seem to largely avoid stereotypes, though I find the success of Bev and Mama Thames' portrayal a little sketchier - but that has more to do with the treatment of their genders than their race.3. The Magic System is Really, Really CoolI'm not one to give a shit about this sort of thing, usually, but Midnight Riot's science-based magic system caught my fancy. Peter is actually surprisingly inquisitive after he's chosen to begin training as a wizard, and doesn't let the revelation of magic and monsters and ghosts shake his confidence in the laws of science and nature that make up his understanding of the world. Like a hero after my own heart, Peter doesn't just accept that magic works "because magic". Instead, he immediately begins applying the laws of physics to them.Peter questions. He experiments. He formulates theories, and then he tests them, and through his reasoning, we get a basic understanding of how magic works, in more scientific terms than usual. Magical spells are discussed in terms of joules and newtons; conservation of mass, energy, the laws of thermodynamics - they all apply. It's not all hand-waving and mystical force - the magic has consequences.One memorable example is when Peter runs a series of experiments to discover why casting spells results in the destruction of nearby electronics - including his cell phone. After a series of tests, he is not only able to give a reasonable explanation as for why, but also figures out how far the sphere of damage extends, and how to avoid it all together. It's neat stuff.Granted, SCIENCE! can only go so far in explaining supernatural phenomenon, and there comes a time when both Peter and his teacher have to admit that they just don't know how some magic works, scientifically, but there was enough detail that I didn't really mind when we got to that point. What I liked was that the magic was limited; it has rules, it requires repeated practice and study and patience, so Peter can't just whip out a wand and deus ex machina his way through the book with some random badass spell ten levels above his proficiency (though, of course, this doesn't prevent other magical deities from deus ex-ing to their heart's content).The point is, the system more firmly grounds Peter Grant's world in reality than most any other urban fantasy series I've come across. It's well thought-out and detailed, and I appreciate that.4. Peter Grant Has the Potential to be a Cool CharacterI'm of two minds about Peter. On the one hand, I wanted to like him. He's not a dick-head Alpha male convinced he knows better than everyone else. He's actually got an underdog feel: he's not quite attentive enough to be a good police officer, he's best friends with a woman he desperately wants to date, and he's destined for a life of paperwork, until the ghost shows up. He commits to studying magic, but he's still got to practice like anyone else, and he makes plenty of dumb mistakes on the long road to solving the book's mystery. He's just kind of an average guy.So what's the problem? Well, I mean, did you read that last paragraph? Every last bit of that makes Peter a perfect nerd wish-fulfilment insert. He's the meek, ignored, everyday beta-male who is chosen by fate to become the hero, who gets the super-sweet magician's apprentice gig instead of the mundane paper-pushing desk job he dreaded, who saves the day and gets the hot girlfriend and shows all those doubters what's what.One Thing that Utterly Killed Midnight Riot for MeMisogyny!Given the over-saturation of male wish-fulfillment characters in the general media, this kind of story isn't for everyone, but I really could have gotten past that, if, if, the women hadn't been so completely filtered through this lens. Like, how so much of Peter's story seemed designed to pointedly get the one-up on his dastardly friendzoning female counterpart, Lesley...Read full review at You're Killing.Us.
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  • Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky)
    January 1, 1970
    “You put a spell on the dog," I said as we left the house."Just a small one," said Nightingale."So magic is real," I said. "Which makes you a...what?""A wizard.""Like Harry Potter?"Nightingale sighed. "No," he said. "Not like Harry Potter.""In what way?""I'm not a fictional character," said Nightingale.” 2META4ME :DI loved this little gem. It was hilarious, snarky, well paced and good hearted. A funny, easily digestible read that is eager to delight the reader. Where do I start with the many wa “You put a spell on the dog," I said as we left the house."Just a small one," said Nightingale."So magic is real," I said. "Which makes you a...what?""A wizard.""Like Harry Potter?"Nightingale sighed. "No," he said. "Not like Harry Potter.""In what way?""I'm not a fictional character," said Nightingale.” 2META4ME :DI loved this little gem. It was hilarious, snarky, well paced and good hearted. A funny, easily digestible read that is eager to delight the reader. Where do I start with the many ways this book delighted me? “Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the "London once-over" - a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport - like BASE jumping or crocodile wrestling.” The snarky POV was absolutely hilarious. I highlighted like 40+ hilarious passages where Peter commented on modern life. The writing was tonal perfection. Then you have this daft, nerdy, oft- underestimated protagonist who thinks sexually inappropriate thoughts and gives you nuggets of wisdom like this: "When I'm considering this I find it helpful to quote the wisdom of my father, who once told me, "Who knows why the fuck anything happens?” “If you find yourself talking to the police, my advice is to stay calm but look guilty; it's your safest bet.” “Keep breathing,’ I said. ‘It’s a habit you don’t want to break.” The plot was arguably the weakest aspect of the novel. I knew who the villain was like 20 pages in with very few surprises. Although some aspects (view spoiler)[e.g. the murder of the baby (hide spoiler)] did shock me. However, I didn't mind this in the slightest- I was too busy having fun to notice the pedestrian UF mystery, which seemed incidental to hanging out with my new fave crew of characters. Recommended for: anyone with a sense of humour, fans of Finn Fancy Necromancy, people who enjoy UF free from rampant, unacknowledged sexism.
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  • Catie
    January 1, 1970
    I have to admit that a moderate portion of my liking for this book is probably due to the fact that I am one of those Americans who is instantly charmed when faced with a page of British slang and references. I don’t know if it’s in the genetic memory or what, but I pathetically cannot help myself! Guh…it’s like thar speakin’ mah language but diffrint! However, this book isn’t just a compendium of British slang. I found quite a lot more to love within these pages.Peter Grant is a young constable I have to admit that a moderate portion of my liking for this book is probably due to the fact that I am one of those Americans who is instantly charmed when faced with a page of British slang and references. I don’t know if it’s in the genetic memory or what, but I pathetically cannot help myself! Guh…it’s like thar speakin’ mah language but diffrint! However, this book isn’t just a compendium of British slang. I found quite a lot more to love within these pages.Peter Grant is a young constable with the London Metropolitan Police who has just completed the required stint as a street cop and is about to be assigned to a higher duty. He’s hoping for something flashy like the murder squad, but is disappointed to learn that he will instead be asked to make a “valuable contribution” as a paper pusher. But fate takes him in a different direction one night when he ends up interviewing a ghostly eye witness to a strange murder. Soon he’s signing on as apprentice to the enigmatic Inspector Nightingale of the Economic and Specialist Crime Unit, where he must begin training in magic, arrange a truce between two river deities, and track down a raging revenant.This book is hilarious, in a dry and silly way that will appeal to fans of Terry Pratchett. The main character is a young man, with a love of risk, high definition television, and his petite blonde coworker (not to mention the flirty river spirit), but he’s also cunning and analytical. It’s exciting to see him come into a world inhabited by ancient beings and traditions, and breathe new life into it with his more contemporary attitudes. He’s a science geek! He ponders the force required to levitate an apple, and where that energy might come from; he runs sensitivity trials on his own magic; and he counters the magic of an enemy using wave interference. He really comes across as authentically young, but clever. Here is one of my favorite quotes:”I’d like to say that I remembered the practice of exchanging hostages from school history classes or from stories of precolonial life in Sierra Leone, but the truth was that it came up while playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was thirteen.”He tends to view everything and everyone in a humorous light, but he has a complicated relationship with his family, and there’s a bit of mystery surrounding his past and why he ultimately decided to join the police that I can’t wait to find out more about. Basically, I love everything about this guy. I wish that there had been more explanation about how the magic works, but I understand that that’s probably in the cards for later books in the series. I’m really looking forward to some more mad science out in the carriage house!I’m not sure if I would classify this as urban fantasy, but I guess it’s more like that than anything else. It reads like a humorous police procedural with just a dash of the paranormal. So, I wouldn’t go into this expecting lots of thrilling action or heavy magic use. Perfect Musical PairingBelle & Sebastian – Funny Little FrogThe dry, witty lyrics of Belle & Sebastian really remind me of this book. I know they’re from Scotland and not England but…oh, hang on a second. Really? Huh. Okay then. I’ve just been informed that Scotland and England are actually both a part of the U.K. So yay! This is a love song for an imaginary girlfriend, which is just perfect because I have a little announcement: I am officially throwing over my current fictional boyfriend for one Peter Grant, science geek, constable, and apprentice wizard. Sorry Gilbert, but we’ve had a good twenty one years. I’d be lying if I said that things haven’t gotten a little dry lately. I mean seriously, I’ve had Anne of Windy Poplars on my currently-reading shelf for over a month. Look at this guy…he runs validation studies on his own magic powers and uses fun words like, “faffing, “gastropub,” “knickers,” and “fancy” (as a verb!). Can you really blame me?Also seen on The Readventurer.
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  • Will M.
    January 1, 1970
    Peter Grant dreams of becoming a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Being granted the dreadful assignment of Case Progression Unit, Grant did everything he could so that he may be promoted to detective. His uncanny ability of seeing ghosts was his ticket to his dream. Brutal murders lurk in the city and the gods apparently meddles too. Peter Grant was really likeable, but only during the first half of the novel. I got bored after about 50% because nothing grand was happening. Nothing gru Peter Grant dreams of becoming a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Being granted the dreadful assignment of Case Progression Unit, Grant did everything he could so that he may be promoted to detective. His uncanny ability of seeing ghosts was his ticket to his dream. Brutal murders lurk in the city and the gods apparently meddles too. Peter Grant was really likeable, but only during the first half of the novel. I got bored after about 50% because nothing grand was happening. Nothing gruesome, or big enough to capture my attention. The murders were mediocre and the other characters were also mediocre. Nightingale was a delight to read, but aside from Grant and Nightingale, there were no other good characters. The setting was great, but it really lacked action. This first novel felt more like an introduction to the characters and the setting, so hopefully the sequel would be a lot better than this.3.5/5 stars. I honestly liked the Dresden Files more, but I heard that this series improves along the way. This was not bad, don’t get me wrong, but it could’ve been way better.
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  • Stamatios
    January 1, 1970
    The books starts off quite promisingly, with a mysterious murder in the centre of London, only to change its focus almost immediately and take us through a boring and totally mundane sub-plot about two opposing factions of rivers, whose petty conflict nobody cares about, least of all the reader. Apparently, they disturb "The Queen's Peace", so a scuffle amongst youngsters in Richmond is more important than a beheading in Covent Garden. Go figure... So for the better part of the first half of the The books starts off quite promisingly, with a mysterious murder in the centre of London, only to change its focus almost immediately and take us through a boring and totally mundane sub-plot about two opposing factions of rivers, whose petty conflict nobody cares about, least of all the reader. Apparently, they disturb "The Queen's Peace", so a scuffle amongst youngsters in Richmond is more important than a beheading in Covent Garden. Go figure... So for the better part of the first half of the book we get introduced, in painstaking detail, to Mama and Papa Thames and an ensemble of characters that are irrelevant to the story. Yes, you heard me right. The title of the book has practically nothing to do with the main plot, with the exception of two elaborately orchestrated deus-ex-machina moments.The story spans over a few months, but surprisingly little happens. The fun returns about three quarters into the book, but by then it's too late. Until then, the two protagonists, members of the London Met police, go about their own business instead of investigating the case. Nightingale (the master wizard) admits somewhere in the middle of the book that "we have no idea what's causing this". One chapter later they get a lead. But alas, not thanks to good old police-work, but by pure coincidence.This frustrating lack of urgency is complemented by the weird casualness with which all the characters discuss murder and magic over a pint at their local pub. Everyone talks like a bad soap opera actor. And despite being under oath of secrecy, Peter Grant (the apprentice wizard) can't stop blabbering about his training to everyone he meets, as if this "great" secret was common knowledge.Besides acting like puppets, the characters lack any likeability. Peter is clever, but has the sexual maturity of a 13-year old. He stares at boobs and gets an erection whenever a woman touches him. Nightningale, who is at first presented as a secretive, century-old, powerful wizard, turns out to be an old man completely out of touch with the times and a hopeless teacher who is so old that he has forgotten his own lessons. The author's only good idea was to portray the art of magic as music, with spells as notes that can be combined to create more complex spells, and the sense of magic itself as feelings/memories. But in his attempt to merge magic and science he drives himself into a corner to the point where Nightingale (again) has to admit to his apprentice that "nobody really knows". Readers don't want to have magic explained to us. We just accept it as it is. The last time someone tried to explain magic in scientific terms he coined the term "midichlorians". And we all know how that went down with the fans...I was very surprised to find out that Ben Aaronovitch is actually an accomplished script writer, since this book reeks of amateurism (his or his editor's). Peter speaks Latin before he admits that he doesn't know any, he uses the name of a spell before he learns it, and so on. Characters come and go without impact and certain events happen out of nowhere with no follow-ups. It's as if a large portion of the book has been edited out. I can't help thinking that readers who liked this book have set the bar too low. If great urban fantasy set in modern London is what they're looking for, then I advise them to read Neverwhere by the far superior (and a personal god of mine) Neil Gaiman.
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  • Orient
    January 1, 1970
    This night I had a problem to solve: to read this book till the end or to sleep. And I thought: hell, why do I need sleep when I’m on a date with Peter Grant <3The idea to present an ordinary human, who reveals super powers in himself, is not quite new, but in “Rivers of London”, the plot, the setting, and the main characters are new and interesting to me and they definitely helped me to have an extremely fun reading experience.Ben Aaronovitch surprised me with a wise plot, because I found a This night I had a problem to solve: to read this book till the end or to sleep. And I thought: hell, why do I need sleep when I’m on a date with Peter Grant <3The idea to present an ordinary human, who reveals super powers in himself, is not quite new, but in “Rivers of London”, the plot, the setting, and the main characters are new and interesting to me and they definitely helped me to have an extremely fun reading experience.Ben Aaronovitch surprised me with a wise plot, because I found a mix of professional police stuff, touch of magic and the main character, whose role is to be a good detective, good magician apprentice and good diplomat while staying sane and professional. I was intrigued to find mysteries and horrible crimes in the story about London, moreover the answer to the mystery and the identity of the killer is gripping. I loved that the mystery involved mythology of the Rivers of London as persons– Mother Thames, Father Thames and their daughters and sons like smaller rivers and of course there was theatre involved. I admired how Mr. Aaronovitch entwined crimes and the story of London into the setting. “Rivers of London” is full of so called British fun and interesting stuff, I enjoyed the humor especially.If I eat these, you’re not going to expect an obligation, are you?’ asked Beverley.‘Don’t worry about it,’ I said. ‘I have an air freshener in the bag.’‘I’m serious,’ said Beverley. ‘There’s a geezer at my mum’s flats who turned up to repossess some furniture in 1997. One cup of tea and a biscuit later, and he’s never left. I used to call him Uncle Bailiff. He does odd jobs around the place, fixes stuff and keeps the place clean and my mother will never let him go.’ Beverley jabbed me in the chest with her finger. ‘So I want to know what your intentions are with this sandwich.’ ‘I assure you, my intentions are honourable,’ I said...The main character, Peter, tells the story from the Londoner, cop, immigrant and magician point of view. He clearly speaks on behalf of variety and difference of the immigrants in UK, as he himself is of mixed nationality. He questions everything and everybody, from police to magic. And the lack of answers inspires him to grow as a character. Everything has its price. I liked that he has disadvantages, that means he is human. It was interesting, funny and sometimes ironic to read about his relationships with women and his efforts to find a way in life.Sometimes I wonder whether, if I’d been the one that went for coffee and not Lesley May, my life would have been much less interesting and certainly much less dangerous. Could it have been anyone, or was it destiny? When I’m considering this I find it helpful to quote the wisdom of my father, who once told me,’ who knows why the fuck anything happens?I liked the “Folly” team a lot. The witcher and the creepy maidI think the little yappy Toby is awesome too. He’s mean but lovely. After all he is a part of the ghost-hunting-kicking-monster-ass team.They definitely added spices to the story. I’m eager to continue my relationship with Peter Grant and the “Rivers of London”. P.S. I just loved the cover, it’s so unique and it definitely represents the tasty candy what is wrapped inside. Enjoy ;)
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  • carol.
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book, so much that I didn't want to review it right away because I was still immersed in Peter Grant's London. It's the urban fantasy take on the detective novel, a police procedural that gives a close-up view of a modern London with undercurrents of magic and magical beings. I love the tone of this book--it's wry and humorous, but doesn't let the humor take over the scene. It's one thing to be ready with a quick line, another entirely to go through one's entire life wisecracking, I enjoyed this book, so much that I didn't want to review it right away because I was still immersed in Peter Grant's London. It's the urban fantasy take on the detective novel, a police procedural that gives a close-up view of a modern London with undercurrents of magic and magical beings. I love the tone of this book--it's wry and humorous, but doesn't let the humor take over the scene. It's one thing to be ready with a quick line, another entirely to go through one's entire life wisecracking, especially in times of great danger. Aaronovitch walks that delicate line like a pro.Peter is a probationary constable who is about to be shifted into a paperwork division. He and his co-probationary officer and friend are guarding the perimeter of a murder scene when he sees a ghost. Peter is a very likeable hero, wry, intelligent, loyal, aware of class and race issues around him, and while he has family issues that include a heroin-dependent father, he doesn't spend every moment agonizing and reliving the past. We are told he did well in the sciences in school, just not well enough to get him to the next levels. It's magic's gain, as he sets his analytical skills to understanding the magical world, using his free time for experiments. I love those little experiments, because it breaks up the action and makes Peter's experience seem all the more real--who wouldn't be asking a lot of questions if they discover there are magical beings and magic in the world? Many people would be asking the 'hows' and 'whys;' Peter attempts to answer some of the questions himself through the scientific method, to the surprise of his technologically-challenged boss.There are few wizards left, and I liked that Aaronovitch didn't make magic easy. It takes Peter hours of study and practice to advance, and we get a sense of the effort and thought Peter puts into it. It isn't until a third into the book when he finally raises his own werelight, and we are ready to cheer with him when he does: "Fuck me, I thought. I can do magic." It's a refreshing change from the all-powerful heroes of other books. Similarly, he's aware that even though he has two years on the force, he still makes mistakes, such as when he and Leslie "obtrusively" piled out of the car during surveillance.Aaronovitch has a real gift for bringing life to his characters, even the most bit parts. Molly doesn't talk at all, and we still get a very good sense of her, her dedication and her potential. Seawoll, an initially scary superior, and Leslie's immediate boss, gets imbued with humanity when Peter watches him question witnesses. We're also given a good look at the subtleties of the police department, when Seawoll "interrogates" Peter after a shooting. "Then we continued lying through our teeth while telling nothing but the truth." It's a perfect tone that conveys so much about the officers' loyalty, the bureaucracy of the department, and the unspoken understanding to follow the letter of the law without coming close to the spirit.I loved it, and the re-read was even better than the first time through. There are a lot of British-isms, but most of them can be puzzled out from the surrounding sentence(s). A great read, and I'll be looking for a hardcover to add to my own library.great lines:"I left in a hurry before he could change his mind, but I want to make it clear that at no point did I break into a skip.""Number two was a magical library where all the direct treatises on spells, forma and alchemy were kept, all of them written in Latin and so all Greek to me."Four investigative stars.
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  • new_user
    January 1, 1970
    Ben Aaronovitch is funny. Midnight Riot's appeal stems from protagonist Peter Grant's humor:"Do we have a plan B?" "Molly can do haemomancy," said Nightingale [...] "It might be possible to find [the suspect] that way." "Why can’t we do it that way now?" I asked. "Because the odds are five to one against you surviving the experience," said Nightingale. "So, yeah," I said. "Probably best not to do it that way now, then."Aaronovitch delivers on his claims and doesn't make the mistake of claiming t Ben Aaronovitch is funny. Midnight Riot's appeal stems from protagonist Peter Grant's humor:"Do we have a plan B?" "Molly can do haemomancy," said Nightingale [...] "It might be possible to find [the suspect] that way." "Why can’t we do it that way now?" I asked. "Because the odds are five to one against you surviving the experience," said Nightingale. "So, yeah," I said. "Probably best not to do it that way now, then."Aaronovitch delivers on his claims and doesn't make the mistake of claiming too much. Rookie-copper Peter Grant's voice refreshes after slews of sword-wielding heroines and underachieving detectives. Peter doesn't whup every baddie with time for takeout, but he doesn't wallow in mediocrity either. He dares risks and brandishes wry humor when out of his league. Neither do the baddies stretch our understanding or disbelief. They're familiar characters and very British. In fact, Riot's well-developed place enriches this urban fantasy. Peter Grant's asides paint London for readers, and may I say Aaronovitch's development -not tokens; I could hug Aaronovitch for the little gems of West African wisdom- of her multicultural nature shames the multitudes of authors writing big US & UK cities who have failed miserably to recognize the richness of those cities. I've seen reviewers ranting on everything except for this-- and this is more deserving than any of it. I also learned about London's cop culture and sundry other items, but do I need to know the origins of Bow Street or street directions to the pub? I'll never be lost in London now, LOL. A few too many encyclopedic details marred my enjoyment- As well as the sameness of tone. Riot's honest narration is endearing when we read all the little asides Peter would be embarassed to say aloud and showcases one of the advantages of first person narrative. However, Peter Grant never despairs or rhapsodizes. He never climbs or peaks. He experiences death and drama with the same, even mildness and humor, meaning that Riot had no momentum. Readers will continue because they're enjoying Peter and his encounters rather than because the pace or mystery compels them. That smacked of Dr. Who. At the same time, Peter's young voice balances the old-school detective work, elbow-patched suits, and 60s-model Jaguar flavor of his companion, Nightingale. Peter's probably among the best developed of urban fantasy protagonists simply because his history is so relevant to his present whereas other authors assume for whatever reason that protagonists, like Cabbage Patch children, spring out of the dirt fully grown with mannerisms and beliefs ready and guns cocked. Peter's history is tangible, realistic and believable, whereas some authors apparently assume a generic, if there is such a thing, amorphous background for their leads. I don't know why. There is no one who grew up like someone else. Also, 1000 points that scientific Peter wonders how many tons of force a fireball exerts, LOL. I can understand that.The big question: will I read the next book? Probably, now that I'm prepared for the mild pace. Would I recommend it? If humor is a must for you, then yes, definitely. :)
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  • Lyn
    January 1, 1970
    London’s Burning with a great urban fantasy series, beginning with this gem.Ben Aaronovitch's 2011 novel, originally titled Rivers of London in the UK, starts the Peter Grant series of police procedurals that includes magic walking the lanes and etched in the stones.Peter Grant’s Career Opportunities included a time in the police academy and he was ready for getting payed for playing Police and Thieves for real. Then he happens upon a ghost amidst some already strange occurrences and we’re off o London’s Burning with a great urban fantasy series, beginning with this gem.Ben Aaronovitch's 2011 novel, originally titled Rivers of London in the UK, starts the Peter Grant series of police procedurals that includes magic walking the lanes and etched in the stones.Peter Grant’s Career Opportunities included a time in the police academy and he was ready for getting payed for playing Police and Thieves for real. Then he happens upon a ghost amidst some already strange occurrences and we’re off on a grand urban fantasy adventure.I’ve read some other urban fantasies that quickly made me ask Should I stay or should I go? But here I knew early that this was a special book: stylish, fantastic and fun, with an edge of the detective story to fill things out. I’m so Bored with the USA when I can get a great story like this set in London.Turns out there is a secret section of the London Metropolitan Police that deals with this kind of paranormal crime and Grant finds himself swept into things as an apprentice wizard. There’s some bad stuff that almost sends our hero Straight to Hell.Like Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Aaronovitch has set up a world building where amongst the supernatural characters, we also have personifications of natural gods and goddesses, in this case the rivers of London. Seems Old Man River is having some trouble with the missus. Charlie Don’t Surf and no one can when the water spirits are in a feud that gets Peter wrapped up in the trouble.Binding this very cool narrative together is the Scooby Doo crime solving mystery with Peter trying to nick the ghost who Fought the Law. Aaronovitch finally Rocks the Casbah with a mind bending White Riot of urban fantasy good times.I’ll be in line for the next book in this series, Moon Over Soho and I’ll make sure to have London Calling playing while I read.
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  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    Note: This book is AKA Midnight Riot in the US. Review originally posted at The BiblioSanctum. I didn't even get past a quarter of the way through this book before I thought to myself, "Okay, this one is totally going on my 'favorites' shelf." In a word, it was fun. So, so fun. I really can't think of any other book in recent memory that has made me laugh out loud so much.It definitely helps if you're a fan of the kind of paranormal action-adventures by Jim Butcher or similar authors, but someho Note: This book is AKA Midnight Riot in the US. Review originally posted at The BiblioSanctum. I didn't even get past a quarter of the way through this book before I thought to myself, "Okay, this one is totally going on my 'favorites' shelf." In a word, it was fun. So, so fun. I really can't think of any other book in recent memory that has made me laugh out loud so much.It definitely helps if you're a fan of the kind of paranormal action-adventures by Jim Butcher or similar authors, but somehow, I think even non-readers of the urban fantasy genre would enjoy this book. First of all, I don't even know if "urban fantasy" would most accurately describe it, as there is also so much of the book that sets it apart and makes it an original and refreshing read.I suppose it's best to describe Rivers of London as a police procedural mixed with a heavy dose of the supernatural, topped with a dash of dark comedy, mystery and action. The book features Peter Grant, a London Metropolitan Police constable fresh out of probationary hoping to be assigned a decent permanent post, until one day while working on a case he finds himself encountering a ghost. His impromptu interview with the dead witness brings him to the attention of detective Thomas Nightingale, who is also a wizard and the only member of the Met's little-known paranormal investigative unit. Peter becomes Nightingale's apprentice, and soon the two are running all over the city trying to solve a series of murders involving exploding faces.The book is also almost like a love letter to London. Rich descriptions of the city's history, landmarks and architecture fill its pages, instilling everything with feeling and practically making the setting itself a character all its own. And I haven't even gotten around to talking about all of the rivers in and around London being personified as semi-divine spirits, which I feel is probably one of the most unique and defining concepts in the novel.As the main protagonist and narrator, Peter Grant pretty much single-handedly made this book amazing for me. I love his dry British wit. I love the unruffled way he approaches weird X-Files moments like ghosts and exploding faces with nothing more than a shrug and a c'est la vie. I love the fact that he is inherently a "good guy" who wants to be a policeman for the right reasons. I love that he tries to approach magic with a scientific mind.It is that last point about Peter that really resonated with me, because I'd like to think I would react much the same way in his shoes. Also, it is the "science-y" bits in Rivers of London that in my opinion roots the story more to reality than a lot of other books in the genre. That said, sometimes the magic system still has that unfinished, not-entirely-developed feel to it, but I imagine this will be further explored in subsequent novels in the series. Speaking of which, I'm off to find the sequel.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    I was suitably charmed but not wowed by this urban fantasy set in London. Yet the young hero, Constable Peter Grant captured my affection and respect and I believe from what I hear that the series gets better.Rather than the flash and pizzazz shown by wizard Harry Dresden waging desperate war against legions of bizarre magical creatures in Butcher’s series, this tale thrives mostly on conventional police procedural efforts that home in on a single powerful ghost. By contrast, I found it easier t I was suitably charmed but not wowed by this urban fantasy set in London. Yet the young hero, Constable Peter Grant captured my affection and respect and I believe from what I hear that the series gets better.Rather than the flash and pizzazz shown by wizard Harry Dresden waging desperate war against legions of bizarre magical creatures in Butcher’s series, this tale thrives mostly on conventional police procedural efforts that home in on a single powerful ghost. By contrast, I found it easier to identify with Grant’s quiet brilliance and social awkwardness. At the end of his probationary period, he seems headed for a desk job. Yet after a strange murder involving a beheading, his ability to take in stride the appearance of a ghost near the scene of the crime and have the chutzpah to interview him as a witness reveals special talents recognized by an old detective, Inspector Thomas Nightingale. He takes him on as an apprentice in his one-man department responsible form handling cases with a supernatural element (a joke is made over it not having the label of “Ministry of Magic”).The magical aspects are restrained. Grant slowly learns from his mentor how to make a light and to pull off limited levels of telekinesis, which he has a cool enough head to apply when caught in the middle of a dangerous and violent situation later in the story. His skill lies in imaginative problem solving, which combines intuition with a playful application of scientific thinking. London comes alive in the plot, as the mayhem wrought by the enemy leads to the pursuit of clues and disaster responses all over the city. Grant is lonely and subject to serious desires for his former partner, Leslie, but the romance elements stay nicely in the background. The pervasive wry British humor comes across as natural instead of an over-the-top method to manipulate the reader. Overall, Aaronovich’s ride was not as fun and thrilling to me as a Dresden story or as mesmerizing and mythical as a Harry Potter tale, but I enjoyed it a lot and expect different forms of pleasure from future reads in the series. I look forward to further development in the affectionate but competitive interplay between Peter and Leslie, as illustrated early in this book:Leslie: “Let’s be honest, I’m bloody amazing as a copper.”“And what am I?”“Too easily distracted.”“I am not.”“New Year’s Eve, Trafalgar Square, big crowd, bunch of total wankers pissing in the fountain—remember that?” asked Leslie. “Wheels come off, wankers get stroppy and what were you doing?”“I was only gone for a couple of seconds,” I said.“You were checking what was written on the lion’s bum,” said Leslie. “I was wrestling a couple of drunken chavs and you were doing historical research.” …”I like you, I think you are a good man, but it’s like you don’t see the world the way a copper needs to see the world—it’s like you’re seeing stuff that isn’t there.”…”Seeing stuff that isn’t there can be a useful skill for a copper,” I said.
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  • Lata
    January 1, 1970
    This was my second time through this book, and I enjoyed it even more. The first time, I listened to the talented Kobna Holdbrook-Smith introduce me to Peter Grant, Leslie May, Nightingale, and a variety of other characters. This time, I got a chance to carefully read the text through, and really admire Ben Aaronovitch's way with words.I had a better grasp of the main mystery, and the little details that make bigger appearances in later instalments, too, this reread. (The benefits of reading, ve This was my second time through this book, and I enjoyed it even more. The first time, I listened to the talented Kobna Holdbrook-Smith introduce me to Peter Grant, Leslie May, Nightingale, and a variety of other characters. This time, I got a chance to carefully read the text through, and really admire Ben Aaronovitch's way with words.I had a better grasp of the main mystery, and the little details that make bigger appearances in later instalments, too, this reread. (The benefits of reading, versus listening and driving.)I'm loving the tour through London in this series, with all of Peter's dry commentary on the city. The characters though, are what really convinced me to put this series on my favourites list. Wonderful Leslie May, who's a damned good copper, silent and creepy Molly, DS Stephanopolous, and Mama Thames and her daughters. You do not want to mess with Mama Thames. I really enjoyed spending time with the cheeky bugger Peter Grant, and look forward to rereading book 2 now.
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  • Mike (the Paladin)
    January 1, 1970
    5 Silver Stars as opposed to Gold star....see the comments.Another hard to rate book in that I can't really say I like it as much as my favorite books...but it it deserves more than 4 stars. So...5 stars, but not quite the top of my 5 star rating (?).This is an urban fantasy, a genre that's become so chock full lately that you can't swing a kobold without hitting a new one. Most are(sadly) of the mediocre vein but every now and then you stumble on (or as in this case are directed by a friend on 5 Silver Stars as opposed to Gold star....see the comments.Another hard to rate book in that I can't really say I like it as much as my favorite books...but it it deserves more than 4 stars. So...5 stars, but not quite the top of my 5 star rating (?).This is an urban fantasy, a genre that's become so chock full lately that you can't swing a kobold without hitting a new one. Most are(sadly) of the mediocre vein but every now and then you stumble on (or as in this case are directed by a friend on Goodreads) a gem. Peter Grant is a young man just finishing up his probationary period on the Metro police of London and about to become a full fledged Constable (complete with helmet thank you). However, the night before his final interview he's one of a large number of police personal involved in controlling the area around a strange murder...and in the "wee hours of the morning" (of course) he's approached by a witness, who's a ghost. Predictably enough Peter is somewhat reticent to report to his superiors that he has talked to a ghost who saw the murder. While it looks like he will be "condemned" to one of the more boring areas of police work, his interview not going exactly as he hoped Peter can't let the murder investigation (and the fact that he apparently talked to a ghost) go. Upon going back and waiting around till the nearby pub closed still hoping to meet his ghost a second time, Peter is approached by a man...who turns out to be a ranking inspector...and Peter tells hims he's looking for a ghost. Peter wonders what possessed him to admit this to an inspector and figures he's about to be pegged as a nut...until the next day when he finds that the inspector, Nightingale, is a wizard. He (quietly) handles supernatural and uncanny things that "come up" for the police. And he wants Peter to work for him....Our story takes off from here.Good book. And while I suppose comparisons with other urban fantasies must arise (I'd say especially with Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden books) enjoy this for what it is, itself. While I freely admit that I came on it as I wait (impatiently) for the release of the next Dresden novel (as I'm a huge fan) this is a good book in its own right. While our protagonist is a bit of a wise guy with a quirky sense of humor I didn't find the character quite a well done or as likeable as Harry. He is though well constructed and saying I don't find the character to my liking quite as much as one of my favorite characters may be a bit unfair.So...brain candy, total enjoyment reading. A well constructed story and the beginnings of a good magical world. The magic "system" and the background of the magic world it functions in are still very much only an outline, like a line drawing waiting for color to be added along with the shadings and shadows that will add depth. Still the lines are there and I hope all the rest will be added in the inevitable sequels. I've already ordered the next book, Moon Over Soho and I've seen that a third Whispers Under Ground is due out in Nov. All things remaining equal, I'll probably get that one to... :)5 stars. Good book, enjoy.
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  • HBalikov
    January 1, 1970
    This is a contemporary urban fantasy with aspects of mystery, magic and a London police procedural. It is an amazing walk through one of the world’s most written about cities, but in a way that will make me look up many of the locales used by Aaronovitch the next time I get there. And, it is really about “the rivers of London.”Peter Grant starts off as a probationary constable with London’s Metropolitan Police Services. His multiple academic degrees (mostly scientific) don’t seem to be helping h This is a contemporary urban fantasy with aspects of mystery, magic and a London police procedural. It is an amazing walk through one of the world’s most written about cities, but in a way that will make me look up many of the locales used by Aaronovitch the next time I get there. And, it is really about “the rivers of London.”Peter Grant starts off as a probationary constable with London’s Metropolitan Police Services. His multiple academic degrees (mostly scientific) don’t seem to be helping him advance in the customary way. One night late, (or really very early one morning), while on overtime ‘secure the crime scene duty,’ he takes a witness statement from someone who is not really there. Yet this “ghost” is real enough, as he will learn when he is assigned to C.I. Thomas Nightingale of “Economic and Specialist Crime.”You see “Peter Grant” and you have a vision of your typical London “bobby” which begins with a white guy in “that” uniform. Already you are wrong because Peter’s family is from Freetown (Sierra Leone). There are enough reminiscences about growing up to “flesh out” his background. Here are some of his observations when he returns to his parents apartment and tries to find the bed in his old room. The room “…was full of cardboard moving boxes, each one stuffed to capacity and sealed shut with packing tape. I had to move several off the bed just to lie down. They were heavy and smelled of dust. On roughly a two-year cycle my mum collected clothes, shoes, cooking utensils and non-perishable beauty products, stuffed them in cardboard boxes and shipped them back to her family….but from what I could gather, my mum was related to about half the population of Sierra Leone. I’d learned from an early age that anything that I owned that I didn’t defend was subject to arbitrary seizure and deportation.”I will not spoil your experience with anything further of the plot. So let me close by noting that Aaronovitch’s choice of venues is both idiosyncratic and perfectly logical. He has a deep understanding of London’s history and its current foibles. He can rap on culture, recreational choices, food, methods of transportation and the urban experience. His main character is bright, droll, easily distracted, enthusiastic, intuitive and earnest. He gives us a fresh take on his London which (despite the magical component) is close enough to ours to prevent any “speed-reading” to get to the novel’s resolution.Here are some of his observations:“She had the startled-rabbit look that civilians get after five minutes of helping the police with their inquiries. If they stay calm for too long it’s a sign that they’re professional villains or foreign or just plain stupid. All of which can get you locked up if you’re not careful. If you find yourself talking to the police, my advice is to stay calm but look guilty; it’s your safest bet.”“’I one asked my dad’ – when he was sober – ‘how he knew what to play. And he said that when you get the right (jazz) line, you just know because it’s perfect. You’ve found the line, and you just follow it.’ ‘And that’s got the fuck to do with what?’ ‘What Nightingale can do fits with the way I see the world. It’s the line, the right melody.’”“I offered her the flowers, which she took with a delightful laugh. She pulled my head down and kissed me on the cheek. She smelled of cigars and new car seats, horses and furniture polish, Stilton, Belgian chocolate and, behind it all, the hemp and the crowd and the last drop into oblivion.”And his long ride on London’s Underground is a triumph of black humor that may keep me above ground on any future visits. My thanks to GR friends Monica, Stephan, and Carol for their enthusiasm.
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  • Stephan
    January 1, 1970
    This book has magic in it! Yes, I know this is urban fantasy - I mean in the words. It's a combination of the british copper lingo and a sweet balance between a detective story, a guide into the spirit(s) of London and it's magical history and a pleasant british humour. I was sucked right into the book from the very first pages, which was very pleasant after a little bit of literary resistance I had been encountering in my late choices.Freshly baked Constable Peter Grant is on duty watching a mu This book has magic in it! Yes, I know this is urban fantasy - I mean in the words. It's a combination of the british copper lingo and a sweet balance between a detective story, a guide into the spirit(s) of London and it's magical history and a pleasant british humour. I was sucked right into the book from the very first pages, which was very pleasant after a little bit of literary resistance I had been encountering in my late choices.Freshly baked Constable Peter Grant is on duty watching a murder site after it has been released from forensics and takes in a witness report - from a ghost. While he is dealing with his encounter and decides on not going insane the story unfolds.Peter finds out that not only are ghosts and magic real, but they have an established history in the city and he can have a part in this world. The city rivers and their gods play a major role, as the booktitle suggests, andthere are vampires, ghosts and other creatures of the night.I'm looking forward to the other parts of the series!
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