Rivers of London (Ben Aaronovitch)

26 February 2014

Rivers of London

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.

Average Rating:

Sinclair Manson (5 March 2014 21:34)

I'm afraid I was a bit indifferent to this book. It was easy to read and had some nice ideas, such as the immigrant river spirits of the London rivers. However, its structure seemed a bit rickety to me. The criminal investigation that formed the core of the plot proceeded steadily enough at first, before being derailed completely and then only reeled in with a resort to a pretty spurious magical mystery vision quest. The core plot also seemed fairly detached from the machinations of the titular Rivers of London, whose feud was introduced at the start of the story and wrapped up at the end but largely ignored through the middle part of the novel. Finally, the gently humorous tone of the book didn't do much for me. Indeed, I felt there was a rather jarring contrast between the general tone and the grisly black humour of a man acting out the crimes of Mr. Punch.

Sean Aaron (28 February 2014 14:18)

Entertaining and a quick read, but the climax is a bunch of confusing nonsense which lets it down.