Thoughts on the book my review.Thoughts on the audio version As many people have noted, Kobna Holbrook Smith is a fabulous reader Turns out he is an actor and director is well, with a long list of tv credits, which is kind of a bummer because I hope he continues to have time for the Peter Grant series.Holbrook Smith is clearly a talented voice actor who can understandably convey a range of London accents, from that of an 19th century itenerant to Nightingale s posh early 20th century to current police vernacular I also found his Danish and Jamaican accents amusing Ever since an unfortunate experience with the Stephanie Plum audio, I m particularly impressed when actors are able to voice characters of the opposite sex without making it sound fake Holbrook Smith is able to give Leslie a decent voicing, but it really shines when view spoiler she transforms into Punch hide spoiler I m giving this top marks for an UF for several reasons.1 Plain enjoyment This one should be obvious but it doesn t always work even with a lot of other titles I respect across the board I may love bits and pieces of them, but then you come across writing that is a breeze to fall into and enjoy throughout, and then you know you ve got a real winner on your hands That s this one 2 Geeky, rather a loser London Police Constable with a bit of a new magical talent, a heavy steeping of modern sf f culture, and an even heavier steeping of police procedural and depth of characterization It feels real and I just love this guy.3 It s not light on the Londonite scene This is great grounding and full of great humor and history, bringing in some of the weirdest tidbits of the past centuries like the proverbial grab bag and shaking it about a bit and giving us a hell of a weird novel It s a total blast.Any one of these reasons should have been enough, but damn who cares It s a great read Some of the best UF created, in fact I can t wait to delve into the rest #FREE á Rivers of London õ Probationary Constable Peter Grant Dreams Of Being A Detective In London S Metropolitan Police Too Bad His Superior Plans To Assign Him To The Case Progression Unit, Where The Biggest Threat He Ll Face Is A Paper Cut But Peter S Prospects Change In The Aftermath Of A Puzzling Murder, When He Gains Exclusive Information From An Eyewitness Who Happens To Be A Ghost Peter S Ability To Speak With The Lingering Dead Brings Him To The Attention Of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, Who Investigates Crimes Involving Magic And Other Manifestations Of The Uncanny Now, As A Wave Of Brutal And Bizarre Murders Engulfs The City, Peter Is Plunged Into A World Where Gods And Goddesses Mingle With Mortals And A Long Dead Evil Is Making A Comeback On A Rising Tide Of Magic city people be like first of all, i wasn t too keen on what happens to lesley, but i guess you can t make an omelette without ducks flung shoe anyway.this painfully white guy i used to know read this book too, and he said aaronovitch s handling of race annoyed him, because while there is awesomeness like various london water goddesses being nigerians, aaronovitch himself is not nigerian, and people who speak authoritatively about races not their own are typically embarrassing and distasteful.and it s true, mostly that s gross.usually.but somehow, i got through this book and all the way through the next one in the series without once being offended by that stuff.i noted it read up on the author s background but mostly i was just like hah, yeah, all the nigerians i ever met were totally like that.i think a certain thing happens to you when you live in a huge, multicultural city like london or nyc that entitles you to a kind of bald and horrendously un PC pragmatism about our differences that some people who don t happen to grow up living on top of one another in a glorious shitpile of cultures never have a reason to develop.it s not something i m proud of, exactly not exactly but life in a place like that encourages a certain a certain well, look when someone in the neighborhood asks me where to buy bootlegged and thus cheaper cigarettes, i send them to the arabs it s just a thing that we do here it sounds gross, but the place is literally run by arabs and all places like it in this city are almost always run by arabs like, that s where one goes to the arabs and everyone here knows what that means when you want some twee macrobiotic coconut water shit, you go to the korean market a greasy spoon a greek diner named for athena or zeus or whatever.a bag of chips and a sandwich your local dominican bodega, of course ayo, bodega cat get off muh chipz, ok i m rilly serious this time diamonds you bettuh believe your goyim ass is going to the jews.and just you try to catch a yellow cab not driven by a south asian dude the gypsy cabs are all driven by dominicans, which i know not just because i live here, but because i am a dominican and i literally used to be a dominican gypsy cab driver. and yes disappointed drunk people on their way home from bars or clubs often ask to pay their fare in blowjobs so as a native new yorker in love with new york, i appreciated aaronovitch s plainly visible love for his london in just those ways and while i ve never lived there, i can certainly believe everything he wrote about it i recognized new york in it.i felt like i got it, the racial side stuff, and nothing bothered me about it, especially since i was pretty much over the moon with having a mixed race MC and various non punchline queers and very strong female characters to boot.the mystery isn t bad at all its your basic paranormal police procedural, and i m really happy i read it, as it diverted my feeble mind during a difficult time trying to quit going to the arabs for cigarettes PS hilariously, it is somehow also NYC convention to pronounce arabs like an appalachian hillbilly or something, for no reason i can fathom as in yo, i m gonna go to the AE rabz for a loosie, you want Rivers of London U.S title Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch, 2011 I received this book as a gift a rather long time ago It sat in my to be read pile for far too long because, I am embarrassed to admit, of its cover, which looked dreary and literary I should instead have looked at the first page, which opens It started at one thirty on a cold Tuesday morning in January when Martin Turner, street performer and, in his own words, apprentice gigolo, tripped over a body in front of the West Portico of St Paul s at Covent Garden Martin, who was none too sober himself, at first thought the body was that of one of the many celebrants who had chosen the Piazza as a convenient outdoor toilet and dormitory Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the London once over a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress The fact that it was entirely possible to be all three simultaneously is why good Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport like base jumping or crocodile wrestling Martin, noting the good quality coat and shoes, had just pegged the body as a drunk when he noticed that it was in fact missing its head OK That got me in for the next paragraph, which took me to the next page, and by the time I had reached the end of the first scene and figured out the book was to be written in first person, normally an allergy for me, it was too late to opt out But the first paragraph had given me glimpses already of what were to be salient ongoing features of the book a strong voice, a wry sense of humor, and an utterly convincing sense of place There exists a quality of a book that I do not have a name for it is approached by terms like mode and voice and the writer s world view , but isn t quite any of these I short hand it as, What kind of head space am I going to be stuck in now And is it one I that will enjoy being stuck in We seek out, I think, any favorite writer s other books, even if they are varied, in the hopes of entering that agreeable head space again So while a lot of the events of this book were quite dark, its head space, mediated by a young 21st Century London copper named we eventually find out Peter Grant, was not Before the first chapter is out, he finds himself witness interviewing a ghost, in his best police procedural style, and events spin out from there The plot seems discursive at times, but winds itself up in a very nice knot before the end, leading me to want to reread it very soon, to watch how all the cards were so neatly palmed But no amount of plot legerdemain would take me back to a book if I hadn t developed some affection for the characters, which Aaronovitch brought off and did not though he had me worried at points betray My problem these days with coming of age, young man discovers his mojo books, of which this is one in a long, long line to which I have myself added , is that the protagonists, who ought by rights to be the literary heartthrobs for any right thinking geek grrl reader, are now all younger than my children It just doesn t work on that level any Instead, I find my attention drawn to the mentor figures Now, in this kind of book, being a mentor is an extreme sport indeed their chances of making it out of the book alive are by no means secure, as they can be routinely sacrificed right and left to supply the proper amount of angst and secret generational triumph to the young protagonists Aaronovitch offered quite a charming older mentor figure in one Detective Inspector Thomas Nightingale, last wizard of London, upon whom I was quite willing to bestow my senior citizenly affections, except for this risk Don t get attached, I kept telling myself Drat it. His fate did provide plenty of suspense from my point of view, quite apart from what proved to be the truly bizarre plot I see Inspector Nightingale makes it to the sequel, Moon Over Soho, now on order from my public library, but, y know, that s still no guarantee But if he is ever butchered to make a Roman holiday speed bump for the kid, I shall be peeved Highly recommended, if you haven t figured that out by now.Ta, L. Peter Grant is a Probationary Constable, a term I wasn t familiar with until I began reading At the beginning the London of Peter Grant is a normal one The genre is not in Fantasy waters from the beginning But then Grant witnesses a ghost at a crime scene.The author reminds me of Ian Rankin when there is police procedure of the mudane type, and Jim Butcher when magic is involved I liked how imperfect the hero, Peter Grant, is There is, however, always a trade off I found the writing style slightly prominent, which is not good for me as a reader.Grant is surrounded by a world that is alive because the characters are alive So the author did his job well But my memory is quite haphazard so I still didn t remember all the people in the book It is hard to pinpoint why the book is relevantly brilliant I think that the slow pacing of the book helps establish its world for the necessary sequels What I m saying is that the book is must read and is a wonderful springboard for a series. Midnight Riot is the kind of book that people like me, absolute anglophile and devoted BBC lover, couldn t help but like The humor and the texture to the narrative in this book reads delightfully British, but in a fashion that suggests that England isn t just Jane Austen or Charles Dickens It s also Doctor Who, Blake s Seven, Being Human, Law and Order UK, and Luther It s upper crust and working class It s a mix of past and present Even deeper, it s the everyday lives of Britons, not all Northern European either It was so refreshing to have a hero who is mixed race, but seen as black by some and to others, ethnically uncertain He couldn t get on the tube without getting nervous looks from some people who had made up their mind what his place in their world was, without asking him about it On any given day, due to how much sun he gets, some might think he s African, or some might think he s Arab Peter is unselfconscious about his ethnicity, although very aware that not everyone is comfortable with it His mother is Sierra Leonan, and her culture infuses him, from her attitude towards hard work, to her frugality, and her penchant for making food so spicy that he has to drink a liter of water to douse its fire His father is a white former musician with a thirty year heroin habit, and that colors the narrative just as much, for we are not in a small degree who our parents make us That is either due to rebelling against our parents or through a childhood of being shaped by their rearing As a reader of black heritage, I have to say that it s good to see stories that feature characters of black ethnicity There are a lot of our stories to tell, and they don t seem to see the light of day, and not in the diversity that reflects the black African disapora I hope that leads in urban fantasy novels in the future are of color, because it adds something to a read to see someone who is like you, at least in some small way.I enjoyed Peter s character He s an insightful narrator, and full of wit I liked seeing London through his perceptive gaze.The police procedural aspects were great Better than watching an episode of a BBC cop show, because Peter explains the ins and out of the Metropolitan Police to a degree I have never caught onto in my varied viewing pleasures Peter s acceptance of the workings of enormous wheels of bureaucracy turning in the Met makes what might have been boring, very fascinating, especially with his deadpan humor delivery classic British wit As I read this novel, I felt as though I had learned a lot about the police in the UK, which is similar but different to the US.The paranormal aspects were good and rather unique I like how magic is presented here The way it leaves an essence called a vestigium that has a taste, feel, and smell that Peter is able to pick up When he s recruited as an assistant and apprentice wizard to Thomas Nightingale, for a part of the Met that deals with the odd and magical crimes, he finds the niche he d been searching for, with this inquisitive mind, and his insight into science He doesn t take things at face value, but he s open minded enough to accept that London has denizens that are not human, such as vampires, trolls, and malevolent ghosts who draw energy from those they possess, leading to their gruesome and violent deaths It was interesting to watch Peter and Nightingale use a mix of police investigative techniques and magic to solve the inexplicable attacks of violence that seemingly normal London citizens are perpetrating against each other He also comes to realize that the rivers of London are alive, gods and goddesses, if you will And Peter needs their help to keep the peace in London, but also to resolve the territorial disputes between The Old Man of the River and Mama Thames, who both believe that they have a right to rule the Thames, and their tributaries Ben Aaronovitch has already secured his place in pop culture as the writer of Doctor Who novels It s great to see him put the fruits of his imagination to the page with this first in the Peter Grant series After falling for Peter Grant, and his unforgettable narrative of London, he is going on my must read list.
Posted at Shelf InflictedI m a fan of Jim Butcher s Dresden Files series, even though I got tired and stopped reading after 9 After a while the stories became too repetitive and I didn t see any significant growth in Harry s character His smart ass comments that were amusing in the earlier books started getting annoying towards the end In the hopes I would find a fun read similar to the Dresden books, I picked up Midnight Riot It wasn t a bad book, but it wasn t a great one either Peter Grant was an interesting character He is a constable in London s Metropolitan Police who wants to be a detective, but his superior thinks he is better suited for pushing paper Finding a headless corpse in The Actors Church in Covent Garden and talking with a ghost who witnessed the crime draws him to Thomas Nightingale, the force s investigator of supernatural crimes Under Nightingale s patient tutelage, Peter learns how magic works and how to hone his investigative skills He is kept very busy as the body count increases and his negotiation skills are called upon to help resolve the differences between the magical rulers of the Thames River This is when the story seemed to lose focus for me There were two stories in one, and neither was compelling enough to keep my interest I found my attention wandering numerous times and took breaks to read other stories I loved that Peter is mixed race, his father a failed jazz musician and his mother a cleaning woman from Sierra Leone While I enjoyed how the ethnic and racial diversity of London was portrayed, I couldn t really get a feel for the city I need than street names, mention of famous landmarks, and references to TV shows or movies I haven t seen or heard of Too many acronyms became confusing and I found myself going back in the story to find out what they stand for Overall, the story was fast paced, but not especially gripping I liked Peter s voice, his witty sense of humor and his scientific approach to magic But like Harry Dresden, his sexual maturity never exceeds the level of a teenage boy, even though he is attracted to his colleague, Leslie, and Beverly Brook, daughter of Mother Thames I m not sure if I ll continue with the series. Rivers of London is a fun mix of so many things that I love in my pleasure reads the geekiness and the science , the dry British humor , and the magical mythical phantasmagorical stuff in a big city What s not to like My whole life, basically Really Examples Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, even some of China Mi ville s stuff Examples Harry Dresden books, China Mi ville, Neil Gaiman, even Sir Terry Carved above the lintel were the words SCIENTIA POTESTAS EST Science points east, I wondered Science is portentous, yes Science protests too much Scientific potatoes rule Had I stumbled on the lair of dangerous plant geneticistsThe US titled Midnight Riot which used to be called Rivers of London before some American publisher undoubtedly decided that the target audience should NOT be aspiring US based geographers is a great read for me, a self proclaimed devout Dresdenite as in Harry Dresden, the Chicago wizard for hire, and not so much the German city It has all the surface similarities to that series a magically inclined PI constable collaborating with the police force of a big city to solve magical crimes, while interacting with a slew of mythical creatures and engaging in self deprecating pop culture references laden humor and, in case of Peter Grant, lacking the borderline misogynous chivalry But before you, those who do not share my affection for the Dresden universe, run away screaming from this book, please listen it apparently appealed even to those who cannot stand Harry Dresden All the similarities aside, this book has a very distinct and fun voice, and is less pulpy, much lighter on the magical stuff and whimsy, and heavier on dry humor and police procedurals as well as geekiness than the Chicago wizard books I d like to say that I remembered the practice of exchanging hostages from school history classes or from stories of precolonial life in Sierra Leone, but the truth was that it came up while playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was thirteen. Peter Grant is joining the ranks of my favorite characters with his self deprecating humor firmly rooted in pop culture and modern world, as well as his own complicated family dynamics A probationary constable who is recruited into a small now consisting of 2 people department of London police dealing with the supernatural, he approaches learning magic from a viewpoint of a natural scientist, carrying out experiments, creating theories, and even using science and valid deductions to counteract the villain in one of the major confrontations All helped along with humor, and told in a narrative voice that is very even keeled, even when the protagonist is faced with a life or death situation, and which, in my opinion, adds to the appeal of this story We did an hour of practice, at the end of which I was capable of flinging a fireball down the range at the dizzying speed of a bumblebee who d met his pollen quota and was taking a moment to enjoy the view. And the city Ben Aaronovitch s love for London is contagious London is very much a character in this story, and way than just a setting The history, the streets, the landmarks, even the rivers in this story are captivating I love when that happens in books, and I thoroughly enjoyed it in this story Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the London once over a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport like BASE jumping or crocodile wrestling. But wait there for a second, Nataliya, you must be wondering, if you loved this book so much then a why don t you marry it and b why the hell did you just 3 star it, huh Well, here s why While I love the narrative voice and the protagonist to pieces, I find the storyline s not very memorable or compelling I m sure I ll remember Peter Grant for years to come, but I ll be hard pressed to remember what the hell the story was about No, it s not hard to follow, but it s just not that memorable, and, honestly, not that engrossing Moreover, the two main stories in this book, aptly represented by the titles that the different sides of the ocean have chosen Midnight Riot and Rivers of London felt to me quite separate from each other, connected only by the fact that Peter Grant was involved in both of them I think Aaronovitch should have either connected them together in a meaningful way, or has chosen one of them to focus on Despite my gripes with the storylines, I was so enad with the narration and the humor and the protagonist that I will without a doubt read the next book in the series, and will highly recommend this one Peter Grant for the win 3.5 stars If you ask any police officer what the worst part of the job is, they will always say breaking bad news to relatives, but this is not the truth The worst part is staying in the room after you ve broken the news, so that you re forced to be there when someone s life disintegrates around them Some people say it doesn t bother them such people are not to be trusted. By the way, here is my review of the second book in the series, Moon Over Soho.For the review of the third book, Whispers Underground, head over here, and for the fourth one, Broken Homes, over here.