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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly excellent
I was given this for Christmas, and only just got around to reading it 5 months later. The back sleeve blurb put me off and I had no idea how good this was going to be. I was hooked by the end of the second page.
It reminds me of the very best Doctor Who episodes of the current writing team. Totally fantastic and improbable and even ridiculous in places, and yet...
Published on 6 May 2012 by A. Dunlop

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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging start to a new urban fantasy series
Ben Aaronovitch is a successful screenwriter who has worked mainly in the fantasy and science fiction genres. 'Rivers of London' is the first novel in the series of the same name. It's probably best described as urban fantasy.

The city in question is London, and the fantasy element arises in the intersection of the modern, gritty London we all know and another,...
Published on 27 Jun 2011 by Paul Bowes


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly excellent, 6 May 2012
By 
A. Dunlop "Delphi" (Chester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rivers of London: 1 (Paperback)
I was given this for Christmas, and only just got around to reading it 5 months later. The back sleeve blurb put me off and I had no idea how good this was going to be. I was hooked by the end of the second page.
It reminds me of the very best Doctor Who episodes of the current writing team. Totally fantastic and improbable and even ridiculous in places, and yet mesmerising in it's telling. I think that the fantasy works so well because of the bits in between that are so believably placed in reality. In fact, the humdrum and very humourous descriptions of day to day police work are actually what make the book so entertaining in the end. (I haven't been so entertained and delighted by a book since I reread The Hobbit).
I will most definitely be buying the next book in the series.
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104 of 110 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Combine science and magic? Sure, why not?, 15 Mar 2011
By 
J. Lesley "(Judy)" (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rivers of London (Hardcover)
It is always such a pleasure for me to find an author who manages to write a book that piques my interest and holds my attention. Both are true here because Ben Aaronovitch created something new for me. Normally when I read an urban fantasy book the plot requires that all those involved in that world are aware of the magic components active all around them. In this book that is not the case. Probationary PC Peter Grant had been left to guard a crime scene when he met a ghost. Not just any ghost either, no, this one was a witness to the crime. In very short order PC Grant finds himself assigned to a unit of the Metropolitan Police which up until he joined it had only one other member, a wizard. Peter is now on his way to becoming an apprentice wizard, learning magic and trying to help solve the crimes of completely unexplained violence which are breaking out all over London. Peter's best answer is to use his interest in scientific knowledge and experimentation in conjunction with the magic to explain some of the things that are happening.

I really enjoyed this book for its humor and the unusual combination of scientific investigation paired with utilizing magic. It put a different spin on the plot for me by having the entire London scene be so solidly in the present time, with the citizens of that great city completely unaware of the magic or the horrors within their city. I also enjoyed the great amount of research this author has obviously done regarding the many rivers around London. And to have each of them portrayed as an individual character was quite a successful undertaking. I also want to compliment those responsible for the artwork map on the cover of this book. No matter how many times I look at it I keep finding names of areas or a street that I recognize. I have to admit that, as an American, there were just a few times when I felt a little lost because I didn't understand some of the English slang or references, but it was certainly not anything that kept me from enjoying the novel. Book two, Moon Over Soho, is next in the series and if this one is anything to go by it should be another fascinating reading experience.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging start to a new urban fantasy series, 27 Jun 2011
By 
Paul Bowes (Wales, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Rivers of London (Hardcover)
Ben Aaronovitch is a successful screenwriter who has worked mainly in the fantasy and science fiction genres. 'Rivers of London' is the first novel in the series of the same name. It's probably best described as urban fantasy.

The city in question is London, and the fantasy element arises in the intersection of the modern, gritty London we all know and another, more shadowy city in which magic is an alternative form of knowledge and the contemporary streets overlie deep strata of history, legend and myth and hidden circuits of power. Aaronovitch brings these threads together in the story of a young mixed-race constable in the Metropolitan Police who must somehow operate in both worlds to solve mysteries and crimes with a supernatural element.

Aaronovitch's style will be immediately familiar to anyone who has followed British fantasy writing over the last decade. More sophisticated in the writing than J. K. Rowling, 'Rivers of London' still has a rather young-adult feel when compared to the best writers who have taken London as a rich hunting ground - I'm thinking here of Iain Sinclair and Peter Ackroyd in particular. Perhaps more pertinently, I also found it less interesting than the work of China Miéville and Neil Gaiman.

As one might expect from a novelist with Aaronovitch's professional pedigree, there are few of the typical first-novel problems. The book is carefully plotted and maintains interest throughout. Given the nature of the story, which moves fluidly between the late eighteenth century and the present day, there is a lot of research-based detail. This is woven into the texture of the narrative in a reasonably unobtrusive manner, but it's fair to say that it's Aaronovitch's fellow Londoners who are most likely to appreciate it. This London is buzzing, theatrical, multi-ethnic and relentlessly up-to-the-moment, but I felt that Aaronovitch's heart lay more in its past. There is a certain flatness in the depictions of the present-day city, as though a new set of clichés familar from recent television had supplanted the old 'cheeky Cockneys, friendly bobbies' stereotype.

'Rivers of London' is a pleasant, engaging read from a writer who promises better. Fans of modern fantasy will certainly enjoy it. It will be interesting to see how the series develops.
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82 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely nothing like what would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the Fuzz, 13 July 2011
This review is from: Rivers of London (Hardcover)
For once an urban fantasy that actually is an urban fantasy, with not a poxy Doc Martened elf in sight, thank god: part very well researched police procedural, part Sorcerer's Apprentice - and this is a real apprenticeship, where results come from sheer slog and perseverance, not from waving a magic wand - part gruesome murder hunt, part otherworldly politicking, and part - and this is my favourite part by far - a carefully detailed map of Central London, written by one who knows and loves the place as it should be loved, all of it narrated by likeable Everyman Peter Grant, an adequate enough probationary constable who's just a bit too curious for his own good (while his colleagues are breaking up a riot in Trafalgar Square, he stops to check what's written on the lions' bums). Peter crosses the line between one world and another and, in the process, is saved from a future of data entry in the Case Progression Unit, one cold morning in Covent Garden, when he's left guarding a crime scene and a witness steps forward from St Paul's Church - a witness who has been dead for considerably longer than the body under investigation.

Rivers of London isn't perfect - there are a lot of open questions left hanging, and some of the plot resolutions don't entirely make sense - but it is bloody good, and one of the best things I've read in many years. Good enough that I went straight out and bought the sequel. In hardback.

Ignore Diana Gabaldon's stupid cover blurb, by the way. I'll do her the credit of believing she was misquoted.

Don't expect to learn too much about the actual lost rivers of London, though. That's a fascinating topic in itself, but one for another book entirely.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, entertaining escapism., 15 April 2011
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There are so many glowing reviews here already, so I can be brief. There is adult humour and believable characterisation (in a fantasy!). The police characters work within a framework of modern procedures and ethos. The magical characters maintain a step removed from reality, and those in the know strugle to reconcile both positions. Sometimes I like a novel which I can read for fun, but which has originality, depth and complexity. I did't want to reach the end. I can't wait for Ben's next one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 23 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Rivers of London (Hardcover)
One of the few books I have been able to read in one day for many years; mind you having the flu helped. I really got into the characters and I found the use of the old London and new London "gods" very effective. (Having lived near Purley for many years, I can well believe that vampires live in grasmere road).

Looking forward to the next in the series and some back information about the characters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very different police procedural, 4 Aug 2012
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A typical London copper, at the end of his first two years on the beat, stumbles into a case involving ghosts, magic and river deities. Enough to give anyone pause, but to make matter worse, Pc Peter Grant finds himself seconded to the Met Police team who deal with "weird stuff" - meaning that a malevolent spirit haunting central London and its inhabitants doesn't mean he doesn't have to do his paperwork.

It's an interesting mix of magic realism and standard police procedural, and Aaranovitch has created a likeable main character in Peter Grant, fresh out of uniform, quite taken with the magic, but already carrying a practised air of world-weariness.

The books has a fun, interesting concept, decent pacing, and a decent cast of characters. All in all, a good, fun read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivers of London, 30 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Rivers of London: 1 (Paperback)
I read this for a book group and was captivated in the first paragraph. The story is a complicated read (for me anyway!) but stick with it because it is fascinating and exciting. It really gripped my imagination and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that I ordered the next book in the series and pre-booked the 3rd one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Harry Potter, 6 Sep 2011
By 
Mr. Colin J. Todd (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rivers of London (Hardcover)
I have no idea why this book is compared with 'if Harry Potter joined the fuzz', because it's far and away more original than that. A gripping and fun book with great little insights to life in the Police it has clearly been a labour of love with the amount of research that it has taken to make to book as good as it is, very well done! A series to love and author to watch I will be ordering the next book and hope for many more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab Fantasy, 28 April 2011
By 
S. Bowles "Cook Collector" (East Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rivers of London (Hardcover)
I heard this book being reviewed on Radio 2, Simon Mayo show and was facinated by such an odd sounding story concept. I read this on holiday and found it perfect for just losing yourself in the story. The knowledge of London is great and really brings the city to life. The characters are likeable and interesting and the story itself is an engaging read. Fantasy mixed with real life. Loved it - can't wait to read the next one. If you love crime and/or fantasy this is a book for you.
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