- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz (25 Aug. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0575097582
- ISBN-13: 978-0575097582
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.7 x 19.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1,963 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Rivers of London: 1 (A Rivers of London novel) Paperback – 25 Aug 2011
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The first of the Sunday Times Bestselling Peter Grant series
About the Author
Ben Aaronovitch was born and raised in London and all his work has reflected his abiding fascination and love for what he modestly likes to refer to as the 'Capital of the World'. He works as a bookseller when he is not writing novels and TV scripts.
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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.
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.
Throw in the warring gods, Father and Mama Thames, and the latter’s bewitching daughters, who are rule over their respective tributaries, an officially-sanctioned detective-wizard, Thomas Nightingale, who heads his own investigative department of supernatural crime of sorts, and at the heart of it, the someone hapless police constable Peter Grant, who is roped in as his apprentice right after his probationary stint to solve the case of the headless corpse, and we have a supernatural urban fantasy mystery thriller. The writing is humorous and Grant’s bumbling, everyman character, makes for an entertaining read.
The magic in the novel is also dealt with in a logical manner, and it is believable how Grant struggles to form a werelight as his induction into wizardry and picturing a “forma” in his head, and his hyperawareness of supernatural presence, or their afterimage, through “vestigial”, also gives the juxtaposition between the supernatural and the normal environs quite palpable. It is however in the Folly, Nightingale’s abode and headquarters, that I felt the book gave way to sketchy caricature. There is the requisite otherworldly housekeeper with questionable culinary skills, who is not unlike a ghost/vampire out of a Japanese horror film/anime, complete with long black hair, togged out in Edwardian maid uniform, hisses rather than speak, and practically glides around the cavernous halls at incredible speed.
It seems a promising start to a light and entertaining series, but if the Kindle version which I read from is anything to go by, needs better editing and proofreading, because the typos were just too glaring to be ignored, and marred much of my enjoyment of the book.
The story is great and the characters are all a mixture of the weird and wonderful as Peter slowly finds out about ghosts, wizards and various things he didn't think were real as the case unfolds. Ben Aaronovitch the author used to write for Doctor Who and it shows as not only are many aspects of it very imaginitive but often it's also very funny. The humour is very British, not just in it's style but the many cultural references and satire that would I think be lost on a lot of people who hadn't lived here. That's not say the book is a comedy, just it has great moments and one liners. The actual tone of the plot is pretty dark with some pretty horrible things happening to people during the case. I enjoyed it immensely and went onto read the next five books currently out.
If I had to say anything negative about the book it's that at times the lead character has a bit of a lack of emotional reactions to situations that you would expect. One instance in particular felt really jarring, it doesn't ruin the book but stood out to me because the rest of it is so well done.
+ Great story and characters
+ Genuinely funny in places.
+ Great pacing.
- Some of Grants reactions seem a little detatched at times.
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