Book Review: Rivers of London

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

The blurb: My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit – we do paperwork so real coppers don’t have to – and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May.

Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. Now I’m a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden . . . and there’s something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it’s falling to me to bring order out of chaos – or die trying.

My review: This book isn’t new out, it was one I was given for my book club and it’s been nudging at the edge of my consciousness in bookshops for the last year. It’s one of those book I kept meaning to read but somehow never quite got round to it (*insert excuse here) I don’t know if this was a cover thing or a general, magpie attraction to the new and shiny but what can I say, you can’t read em all!

This was a fantastic example of fantasty thinking outside the box. Despite the references in the blurb to the main character trying to get into the knickers of WPC Leslie May that’s really not a main theme in the book, this isn’t a fairytale of star-crossed lovers from different sides of the mortal divide, it’s a very funny, sometimes irreverent, often ironic look at the special branch of the London MET namely the one that looks after the supernatural.

It’s quite a fast paced book, I did lose track on one or two occasions and have to go back, I believe this is imitating real police work where many cases are on the go at once, which is definitely why I’m not a policewoman, sometimes I need to follow just the one path until the end! But this may have been the problems of a short commute. Don’t let this put you off though, it’s very enjoyable to read so no issues with going back over sections.

The main character Peter Grant is a lovably inept copper, one who gradually earns your respect throughout the book and has a refreshingly new upbringing, it was good to see a mixed race leading man adn the mix of cultures really reflects London and added authenticity to the book. If you read fantasty, love the likes of Christopher Fowler, Jasper Fforde and Paul Magrs then I’d give this a go, I’m going to be reading Moon Over Soho so that should tell you how much I enjoyed it!

7.5 out of 10 stars! *******.5

BUY ME! Rivers of London (Rivers of London 1)

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