Rivers of London (UK) / Midnight Riot (US) by Ben Aaronovitch
Good books quite frequently come into my life because of Thomas, and that’s the case with this one too. Thanks.
Peter Grant’s life is about to change. He’s been working as a probationary constable for the Metropolitan Police and is now about to get transferred to a more permanent posting. He’s a bit worried about what kind of posting it might be, wanting to avoid ending up as a paper pusher. Then one night he takes a witness statement from a long dead man, and this rather uncanny ability brings him to the attention of Inspector Nightingale. The inspector is the last wizard in England and he is about to take on his first apprentice in 50 years. Peter quickly learns that there is a lot more to London, its rivers and the world than he ever knew. He definitely had no idea that the rivers could be that sexy.
This is all the spoiling I’ll do, but the people I link to further down do a lot more spoiling in case you’re interested.
This was fun. I had the best time. Peter is an engaging hero. Smart, but not too smart. Fumbling, but not too fumbling. Also he has a rather scientific way of figuring out how magic works, something I find really nice. The story moves along at a nice pace and take some unexpected turns, a bit like a river. Unexpected turns, engaging characters and good jokes is a sure sell when it comes to me. I got a lot of the jokes, but I’m sure I missed a lot of them too as I’m not from England.
I got really curious about the geography of the real rivers of London while I read this book, so it was good to find this web page about London’s Lost Rivers (you can click the map to enlarge it).
I must admit that I was not surprised when I learned that Ben Aaronovitch has been involved with Doctor Who. There’s something about the humour, timing and mix of dread and comedy that you find in DW that you also find in this book. No Tardis though.
If you want fun urban fantasy that isn’t too deep, this is the book for you.
While I now can see that both titles are relevant for the book I still don’t see why the US version has to have another title than the UK version. Personally I find the title “Rivers of Lodon” a lot more alluring than the other one.
This is the first of a series, and number two “Moon over Soho” is already pre-ordered to my Kindle. I’ve also bought Rivers of London for the Kindle, but since I can’t buy it from amazon.co.uk but have to use amazon.com I got it with the US title. That’s a bit annoying.
Other people like it too: