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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 June 2017
I'm pretty late to this series and came upon it because it was recommended by an author whose work I admire. I absolutely loved it - BA's style is in the mode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Thor/Avengers/Firefly/Dr Who/Blake's Seven et al (he's written for some of them too) - it's clever, ironical, irreverent, fast and funny, just the right side of slick and very warm and affectionate. I adored the interweaving of the geography, history and folklore of London into the tale of a (well known when you recognise the clues) spirit of mischief running amok in and around Covent Garden and of the mighty Mama Thames (she's Nigerian, who knew?) and Father Thames (CEO of Travelling Fairs - ditto) locking horns over whether or not he has any right to try to extend his territorial claims below Teddington Lock. I am utterly beguiled by PC Grant, recent skeptical graduate of Hendon Police College, bona fide Londoner (loves his parents, his dad's jazz and his mum's groundnut chicken hot enough to burn the inside of your mouth) and brand new wizard apprentice. Who could fail to like him when he can flatten the likes of the roiling Lady Tyburn with the battle cry 'I'm an officer of the law, a keeper of the flame and a freeman of London .... that trumps a double-first from Oxford every time'! Fabulous stuff. Just bought book two - there are five in all and that is my summer reading pretty much sorted.
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on 7 October 2016
What Harry Potter would be like if he joined the fuzz

Rivers of London is quoted to be what Harry Potter would be like if he joined the fuzz. I’m not going to lie that would be well amusing.

Peter Grant as a character has got the kind of subtlety that smacks you in the face and tries really hard to act like it hadn’t. It was amazing.

Peter Grant is a twenty-something middle class mixed race man with a penchant for internal monologuing and an attitude like a hamster on speed – a million miles a minute.

Rivers of London follows Peter Grant’s journey an officer of the London Metropolitan Police Service and an apprentice wizard to Thomas Nightingale. It’s the apprentice wizard part I liked the most – typically you have one or the other either a copper or a wizard but Ben Aaronovitch has combined them beautifully. It’s funny and to the point but it also digresses off on tangents when Peter learns something new.

The story starts when Peter Grant tries to take a witness statement about a murder from a man who is already dead. This is my first inclination that I was going to like this book and it only gets better from there.

This story contains all sorts of paranormal beasties – river spirits, ghosts, vampires, a phantom Mr Punch from Punch and Judy, a revenant the list goes on. They’re all written really well too with good explanations of what they are and the forma that Peter learns as an apprentice.

Peter’s youth is a plus in this book as it gives him an edge over the older Nightingale – much older – and it also gives him an insight into how to deal with the feud between Mr Thames and Mama Thames. I’ll try not to give away too much of the plot but let’s just say when the title says Rivers it isn’t just a title.

Now I promise that Peter’s race has a bearing on the story, it was on one side interesting to hear the description of Peter’s mother and his jazz musician father and his life growing up but on the flip side it was good to see the discrimination in the police force addressed – albeit the manner was humourous rather than serious (a high ranking officer who is being racially abusive towards Peter gets cracked on the head by another officer who freaks out that he’s just hit the Assistant Commisioner on the head and knocked him out) the freaking out was the funny part.

I really liked how this book was written with its clear breaks between dialogue and prose and the way everything flowed together. I did not expect that ending though – it completely threw me and I’m so excited for the next book.
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on 18 September 2016
It’s an odd book, this one. Derivative of a great deal of US urban fantasy (the Dresden Files in particular), but with enough local colour to get away with it. It’s eminently readable while in progress, but easy to put down and forget about it until the next time. It occupied no space in my head except when I was reading, at which point it pulled me along nicely. Aaronovitch does a nice line in first person narrator, and while his London never feels real (despite an impressive attention to detail), it is at least colourful. I’ll pick up the next in the series more because this was an easy and enjoyable way to pass time than because I’m compelled to return to the characters, and because a series like this sometimes needs a book to setup its premise and find its feet.
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on 29 July 2017
You must suspend disbelief to fully enjoy this wonderful book.
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.
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on 18 June 2017
Hardly worth adding another rave review to all the others here, but I have come late to the Rivers of London and have been delighted to tap into a series that's new to me. I instantly engaged with PC Grant and the straight laced Nightingale. Ben Aaronovitch, mindful of racial stereotypes and the cliches of both the fantasy and the police procedural, has a lot of fun with them and the preconceptions of his readers. Although it includes some dark, if not downright disturbing subject matter, bad language and lots of black humour, the tone is generally light with lots of oblique references to other fantasy fiction and pithy dialogue.

Lots of people don't get on with fantasy (inconceivable, I know) and arguably the concept is not entirely original but I think this series thoroughly deserves it's popularity.
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on 7 October 2016
Moon Over Soho was a lot like its predecessor Rivers of London with just the right balance of humour and seriousness. I really like Aaronovitch’s writing style and the fact that it’s set in and around London is great – sometimes you’ll get say an American author writing about London or an English author writing about America and it just feels wrong – but Aaronovitch is a Brit and he brings that out in his writing with some trusty British witticisms.

Moon Over Soho brings back much favoured characters from Rivers and the same kind of humour.

Soho follows Peter Grant as he hunts down- wait for it – jazz vampires!! Nightingale is down for the count so Peter takes the reins for this case and the resurgence of the Pale Lady and her vaginis dentata – with some untimely deaths and a few dead musicians.

Peter finds himself in a little bit of a romance with a lady called Simone who – oddly enough – was in a relationship with one of the dead jazz musicians. There was a lot of different side stories that all blended in together in this book which was a good thing. Everything apart from the mystery of the Pale Amy was solved at the end of the book with a nicely closed off ending; I think my biggest pet peeve with “crime” books is when they don’t solve the crime at the end of the book and leave a gaping cliffhanger with no resolution in the next book either.

Although I didn’t like Simone – Lesley fan all the way – I felt a bit sorry for her at the end of the book. She didn’t seem overly trustworthy and had a penchant for sleeping with Peter when he should be working on the case.

The ending was perfect! I loved it and the thing with Lesley? Amazing and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the following stories. Peter has his work cut out for him in the next books. The Masked Man as well is an interesting concept and I sincerely hope we see more effective him and his twisted ways.

The writing was as before filled with internal monologues from Peter whenever he learned anything new; a healthy dose of sarcasm and a nice balance between normal and Paranormal to justify the oddities of the Paranormal world Peter is a part of.
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on 8 June 2017
Peter is a very average policeman that gets picked for the supernatural division after speaking to a ghost during a murder investigation. What follows is actually quite a dark twisted tale of supposedly random murders and violent acts. It's Peter's and his mentor, Nightingale's job to work out who, or what is perpetrating the acts and stop them.

I quite liked this book, but whether that is because it is set in my home town or not i'm not sure. The book had a good balance of humour and seriousness that I quite like. Peter comes across as a more deadpan Harry dresden to me which really did appeal. But on the other hand, nothing really came across as outstanding and amazing with this book. So where as i'm not champing at the bit to read more of this series, I'm sure I will pick them up at some point.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 January 2017
I enjoyed reading this book, although it didn't grab me as something special. It's pleasant light entertainment, combining the mystery and urban fantasy genres.

The writing is smooth and lively and the characters are interesting, The depiction of London is authentic. It's obvious that the author knows the places he writes about. (Several writers whose London-set novels I've read recently seem to have gained their knowledge of London from Google.)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 June 2017
I'm late to this series but I'm reading voraciously and loving every minute. In this novel the rather wonderful PC Grant, apprentice wizard and potential great copper if only he didn't get distracted, has to soldier on for a while on his own because two of the team are on the sick list. First up, stalling his wizardry practice, there's something nasty going on in the clubbing scene as evidenced by one corpse and one screaming survivor with a wince-inducing tale to tell; on top of that jazz musicians are dropping dead within a short time of playing gigs in/around Soho. Peter would like to keep a low profile after the debacle of Covent Garden but it's not to be. As he investigates things become more jazzy, more magically complex and more sinister and then - he gets distracted by a Patisserie Valerie junkie. Events spiral towards mayhem - there's a frantic skirmish with an ambulance crew, a very important hostage to save by jumping in the River Thames, a thrilling rooftop battle and some truly poignant moments. Things might have gone completely toes up for Peter except that his mum is from Sierra Leone and, of course, can keep her wits about her when confronted by the terrifyingly mystical. The writing is as fast, funny, irreverent, warm and affectionate as book one and the history of London is interwoven intriguingly. Fantastic stuff in every way, now for book 3.
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on 12 July 2017
I first read this book several years ago and having just finished it again I feel the same way. It took me a bit to get into it. I find I had to re read bits from the night before so I could make sense of the story. Although at times I found it difficult to follow I was quite prepared to go back a few pages every now and then to get my head round what was happening because it was such a good story. Even now I don't think I could explain what had happened in the book very clearly but I'm ok with that as I think that means I could probably read it again some time in the future and get an extra layer of story out it. Value for money I'd say.
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