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Midnight Riot (Rivers of London Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 322 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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- Book 1 of 8 in Rivers of London
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Customers who bought this item also bought
“Midnight Riot is what would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the Fuzz. It is a hilarious, keenly imagined caper.”—Diana Gabaldon
“Filled with detail and imagination . . . Aaronovitch is a name to watch.”—Peter F. Hamilton
“The perfect blend of CSI and Harry Potter.”—io9
“Aaronovitch has created a fun and funny character in Grant, who displays wit more than snark (a welcome attitude) and shows he can think on his feet. . . . It's a great start to what will hopefully be a long series of adventures.”—SFrevu
About the Author
- Publication date : February 1, 2011
- File size : 5976 KB
- Print length : 322 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Del Rey; Original edition (February 1, 2011)
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- ASIN : B004C43F70
- Language: : English
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #34,873 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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If you like Charles Stross's "Laundry" series, you should like this book. I do and I did. This book is in the "magic meets British bureaucracy" genus, except that where Stross plumbs the line between eldritch horror and spycraft, Aaronovitch places his story in the line between supernatural story and police procedural.
Police Constable Peter Grant is the neophyte introduced to the supernatural world by his apparently native gift for perceiving the supernatural and by a chance encounter with Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale. DCI Nightingale is the lone wolf head of a Metropolitan Police unit that specializes in the occult and supernatural. Nightingale's specialty is appreciated by some and despised and mistrusted by others. Nightingale decides to bring Grant on as an apprentice, and from there is a quick and hurried introduction to the supernatural world of London and the craft of magic.
In Aaronovitch's world, there is magic and ghosts and vampires, sort of, and gods, sort of. The last element is represented by a confusing and complex set of semi-deities that represent the "rivers of London," including the lost rivers of Tyburn and Fleet and barely known rivers, all of whom are personified by individuals with interests and powers. There is a conflict between "Mother Thames" - representing the estuary portion of the Thames - and Father Thames - representing the upriver, rural river - over turf. This is important because a daughter of Mother Thames - Beverly Brook - seems slated to be a recurrent character/love interest of Grant.
I liked the London setting. I got a work out searching for background on the various places mentioned by Aaronovitch.
The Macguffin of the story involves unexplained, senseless murders, that we learn are tied into the "Punch and Judy" story. Aaronovitch does a good job of setting up the mystery, following the clues and resolving the story. The story moved along at a good clip. Aaronovitch has a light, engaging style which is often delightful. For example:
"Ever since mankind stopped wandering around aimlessly and started cultivating its own food, society has been growing more complex. As soon as we stopped sleeping with our cousins and built walls, temples and a few decent nightclubs, society became too complex for any one person to grasp all at once, and thus bureaucracy was born."
"The original house had been replaced by an indoor flower market with an arched iron-and-glass roof. Eliza Doolittle, as played by Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, would have bought her violets there before moving off to display the worst cockney accent this side of Dick Van Dyke. When they rebuilt the Royal Opera House in the 1990s, it swallowed up most of the surrounding block, including the flower market."
Grant is apparently half West African and half white. His father was a jazz musician and a heroin addict. These are details that play into the story to add dimension to Grant's character. Other than that he seems to be a fairly typical introverted nerd that people who read this kind of book, who are, I believe, typically introverts and nerds themselves, can identify with.
Aaronovitch also introduces Grant's fellow-PC and unrequited love interest, Leslie May, who was badly used by the Punch ghost in this book, and whose future was left open by the end of the book. In addition, we meet Grant's mentor, boss, master, the wizard Thomas Nightingale, who will undoubtedly play a role in future volumes, and the maid of Nightingale's house, "the Folly," named Molly, who may be a vampire.
This is a fun book. The series should make a nice alternative to the Laundry.
What I loved about the book was its atmosphere: this is Londoner’s story, set in London and written by Londoner. I really appreciate that American version kept the British slang and made no changes at all. The only change that was made was the book’s title, which I actually I think is more appropriate to the story than the original: River of London.
I also liked the main character. I liked that he was just a guy, not particularly extraordinary or exceptionally standing of. The only reason he became what he became, was him being in a right moment at a right place. I actually enjoyed the concept quite well.
I also liked Peter’s background, I loved that he wasn’t typical white guy from good family sort of character.
I liked the plot quite a lot. It was very British, and undeniably unique. May be a bit too much on a gory side, but not overly depressing or graphic, so it was OK. I actually appreciate when bad things are really bad and not played down for the sake of reader’s sensibilities.
What I didn’t like was the pace. The story was too slow, too relaxed… So relaxed, that the plot twists just didn’t work. Also two sub-plots were so unrelated, that all the surprises were totally lost on me. And more than once I found myself bored by the book. I think shorter, more dynamic story could be a winner.
I had problems with the magic system as well. From one side I liked Peter’s attempt to apply scientific approach, from the other side the magic system felt somewhat messy. I feel that when character’s explanations to contradictions are “we just know too little about magic” is just a sloppy world-building on the author’s part.
Also I had problems with relations between the characters. They all feel a bit emotionally flat and too unrelated. The interaction between Peter and various side characters suffered from the same lack of dynamism.
And lastly, I was deeply annoyed that the only capable female character, who was not sexy, clueless River, was the one to end deformed, disabled and future-less.
I will probably continue the series one day, but not very soon.
Top reviews from other countries
Throw in the warring gods, Father and Mama Thames, and the latter’s bewitching daughters, who rule over their respective tributaries, an officially-sanctioned detective-wizard, Thomas Nightingale, who heads his own investigative department of supernatural crime of sorts, and at the heart of it, the hapless police constable Peter Grant, who is roped in as his apprentice right after his probationary stint to solve the case of the headless corpse, and we have a supernatural urban fantasy mystery thriller. The writing is humorous and Grant’s bumbling, everyman character, makes for an entertaining read.
The magic in the novel is also dealt with in a logical manner, and it is believable how Grant struggles to form a werelight as his induction into wizardry by picturing a “forma” in his head, and his hyperawareness of supernatural presence, or their afterimage, through “vestigial”, also makes the juxtaposition between the supernatural and the normal environs quite palpable. It is however in the Folly, Nightingale’s abode and headquarters, that I felt the book gave way to sketchy caricature. There is the requisite otherworldly housekeeper with questionable culinary skills, who is not unlike a ghost/vampire out of a Japanese horror film/anime, complete with long black hair, togged out in Edwardian maid uniform, hisses rather than speaks, and who practically glides around the cavernous halls at incredible speed.
The novel seems a promising start to a light and entertaining series, but if the Kindle version which I read from is anything to go by, it is in desperate need of better editing and proofreading, because the typos were just too glaring to be ignored, and marred much of my enjoyment of the book.
The story is great and the characters are all a mixture of the weird and wonderful as Peter slowly finds out about ghosts, wizards and various things he didn't think were real as the case unfolds. Ben Aaronovitch the author used to write for Doctor Who and it shows as not only are many aspects of it very imaginitive but often it's also very funny. The humour is very British, not just in it's style but the many cultural references and satire that would I think be lost on a lot of people who hadn't lived here. That's not say the book is a comedy, just it has great moments and one liners. The actual tone of the plot is pretty dark with some pretty horrible things happening to people during the case. I enjoyed it immensely and went onto read the next five books currently out.
If I had to say anything negative about the book it's that at times the lead character has a bit of a lack of emotional reactions to situations that you would expect. One instance in particular felt really jarring, it doesn't ruin the book but stood out to me because the rest of it is so well done.
+ Great story and characters
+ Genuinely funny in places.
+ Great pacing.
- Some of Grants reactions seem a little detatched at times.
The main character just went along with things far too easily making the whole story unbelievable - yes fantasy is supposed to be made up, but the story should feel as if it could be real and I really didn't get that with this book. I didn't think much of the main character, Peter Grant, either for he seemed far too preoccupied with the shape of a woman's hips or breasts than anything else; there was too much unnecessary mentioning of breasts brushing against him and it was so annoying to read again and again and again.
I feel as though the story got lost and a bit too off-topic with lots of different characters involved that in the end, I lost where we were and what was happening. But by then I didn't really care much so I just went along with it. There was lots of detail about London and random facts interwoven into the story but unfortunately it didn't feel as though much attention was given to creating a page-turning plot and I just carried on in the hope it would pick up.
This book wasn't for me and I won't be continuing with the series.
The first P.C Peter Grant adventure is a tale like nothing you have ever read before. A clever story of a very special department of the London police that deals with magic, ghosts and time travel.
A police procedural like no other, it is at the same time similar to but very different from the Bryant and May books by Christopher Fowler. A man is murdered by having his head knocked completely off, a ghost appears before a bemused P.C Grant and we are off on an adventure that is original, absorbing and very clever. The book has some memorable one liners and at times I laughed out loud. Be prepared for some late nights as you will find it hard to put the book down. I cannot wait for the next in the series. Very, very highly recommended.
The main character was probably a 3/5, he wasn't funny, he wasn't witty, he just seemed to go through the motions and end up doing the right thing. Play, as previously mentioned, nearly all the women were described by the size of their breasts and it just took away from any real picture of what any female characters looked like.
It may sound like I didn't like this book, I did! I thoroughly enjoyed the unique magic system, the clever references to London and how grounded the fantasy elements were. It would make a fantastic dark version of Harry Potter. I would still recommend this book to anyone who enjoys London or city-based books with a slight fantastical twist.