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Rivers of London Paperback – September 1, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
I bought this book because the publishers made a questionable decision about the cover. There has been some awareness on the parts of the internet that I frequent that publishers targeting American audiences "whitewash" their covers. The most famous example that I can think of was Justine Larbalestier's Liar, which is about a biracial protaganist. The original proposed cover showed a white girl. The publisher was convinced to change the cover, but it took some doing. There are pictures of the original and modified covers of the Aaronovitch books at Neth Space. In researching the whitewashing, I thought the book sounded interesting, and bought the first one. 26 hours and some lost sleep later, I bought the second one. One of the blurbs said it was like "Harry Potter meets CSI". I thought it was more like "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality meet Sherlock".
I liked Midnight Riot for many of the same reasons I liked Laura Bickle's Embers: the sense of place and space is palpable. Bickle's protaganist, Anya, lives in the current Detroit, a once-great city suffering through very hard times.Read more ›
The book (and presumably, the forthcoming series) features Peter Grant, a somewhat mediocre police officer who suddenly discovers that he's, well, magical. Or at least, suddenly aware of the magical. Young Grant was on the fast track to a bureaucratic desk job, but now his life is much, much more interesting. Grant is poached for duty by Chief Inspector Nightingale, the Met's divisional head (and the entire division) for Creepy Magical Stuff.
It all happens just in time. The Rivers of London, at least, their magical embodiments, are having a turf war - it is in the pushing and shoving phase, but still, if it goes wrong, the city will be in bad shape. Grant is also juggling a second supernatural case - a nasty serial-killer of a poltergeist is beating people to death and making their faces fall off.
The Occult Detective has transformed into a recognisable genre stereotype. The 'O.D.' generally has a supernatural knack but, more commonly, solves problems through fast talking, "people skills" and general cunning. He's a bit of an outsider, something exacerbated by the fact that he Knows stuff that The Rest of Us don't. He's the tarnished knight type - cynical due to the problems in his own past. And 98% percent of the time? He wears a long coat.
Peter Grant (and CDI Nightingale) are the most recent branches of the motley family tree that includes Felix Castor, Harry Dresden, Johns Taylor, Constantine and Silence, and even, arguably, Doctor Who.Read more ›
It's a joy and I am really looking forward to the next one. The author demonstrates a wit I have not seen in a long time (and often reminded me of the sadly departed Douglas Adams) and I think we have some great things to come.
So...what is it about? Well, imagine being a young mixed-race copper in London, about to get posted to a dull dead end existance shuffling paper, while your glamourous almost-girlfriend gets a plum posting...and then a ghost gives you a tip-off and you discover a whole new world. This is a London of spirits and ghosts, groaning under the weight of history and geography. And someone is commiting murder by magical possession.
The London here is as much a character as setting, with the various rivers and streams all having human forms (the UK edition is called Rivers of London, the US Midnight Riot - both are appropriate for different reasons).
Most of all though there is an intriguing crime story which happens to involve ghosts, and the odd realistic tangent of dealing with a nest of vampires or settling scores between Father Thames and Mother Thames. Aaronovitch has written an story which runs along as a good pace, and you really don't want to put down.
The sequel, Moon over Soho, is out now, and the next volume, Whispers Under Ground, is out later this year. If they are as good as this, then there is a lot to look forward to.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book the only real caution I have is that there is a bit of native English (meaning the country) slang.Published 10 days ago by Lindsey Pace
I really enjoyed this book. The only flaw I might mention is that this book uses common colloquial jargon that is very confusing for us yanks.Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
Refreshing premise, plot and diversity in characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to reading more in the series.Published 20 days ago by Rose66
I listened to this book, and must admit I had mixed feelings about the reader of the book. I can't think of one I would recommend instead, but it did take a bit to get used to his... Read morePublished 23 days ago by Dimples
Great beginning for a series. I'm looking forward to the further adventures of Peter Grant and cohorts. I'm especially interested in the fleshing out of the Nightingale character.Published 29 days ago by cherikeeusa
The characterization in Midnight Riot is a lot of fun,but I hope the next book explains more of what is going on in this weird, magical world.Published 1 month ago by Robert E. Couch
Loved this book and can't wait to get the next in The series. Constable Peter Grant is about to get his permanent job and it looks like his best friend gets the job he wants... Read morePublished 1 month ago by S. Jackson