An exceptionally fun urban fantasy of the “magic in a modern city” type, as opposed to “my supernatural boyfriend” type, written by a TV writer whose credits include Doctor Who.

Peter Grant is a smartass rookie cop in London whose life changes dramatically when the sole witness to a decapitation murder turns out to be a ghost whom only he can see.

The plot is not exactly strikingly original, but the narration and atmosphere are outstanding. What makes me dislike a lot of urban fantasy is that it’s clearly supposed to be witty, but isn’t. This novel is full of quotable bits of very authentic cynical cop humor, and often made me laugh aloud. I suggest reading the first chapter, if you have an e-reader, to see if you too like the voice.

I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the London setting or of Grant’s West African heritage, but within the novel itself, both are vivid and believable. His London absolutely feels like a real city that you visit for the space of the novel, multicultural and sprawling and full of the little details people who love their hometown know.

The magic and magical beings, again, are not terribly original, but done extremely well, with humor and cleverness. The supporting characters are fun, sketched in bright strokes— I especially liked Grant’s mentor and a family of river spirits. This is a real craftsman’s book.

Note that it contains some gruesome murder scenes, including one with a dead baby. (The dead baby is not graphically described.) They’re not gratuitous and they’re essential to the plot, but as a murder mystery, it’s on the gritty rather than the cozy side. That being said, it’s overall a cheerful, playful book, not one where rocks fall and everyone dies.

I think it would appeal to fans of Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos series. It also reminded me a bit of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, but Peter Grant is a much more interesting protagonist than Richard Mayhew.

There are two more books in the series, but the first, at least, stands alone. I will definitely read the sequels.

Midnight Riot
jjhunter: Drawing of human JJ in ink tinted with blue watercolor; woman wearing glasses with arched eyebrows (JJ inked)

From: [personal profile] jjhunter


I highly, highly recommend the audiobook version of this and the other Peter Grant books to date. There's also some superb yuletide fic waiting when you're done with the third book. :o)
kayloulee: ST: TOS Spock in an orange jumpsuit like a beekeeper "I am a space beekeeper.I keep space bees" (Default)

From: [personal profile] kayloulee


I double this recommendation! The voice actor is *amazing*. Except his Australian accent - as an Australian I can tell you that it's a bit off. But the Aussie character has maybe two paragraphs of speaking part, so it's not a big problem.
musesfool: Olivia Dunham, PI (there are blondes and blondes)

From: [personal profile] musesfool


I enjoyed these books so much and I recommend the next two wholeheartedly. I'm impatiently hoping that there will be many more.

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mme_hardy: White rose (Default)

From: [personal profile] mme_hardy


Thank you! This sounds like just what I need.
oursin: The stylised map of the London Underground, overwritten with Tired of London? Tired of Life! (Tired of London? Tired of Life!)

From: [personal profile] oursin


It's very good on London: my only gripe was a scene in the second book involving an archive repository I know of, and I think I know why he got it wrong (visiting author gets a different perspective to the ordinary punter).
kore: (lumina book - Bram Stoker's Dracula)

From: [personal profile] kore


Peter Grant is a much more interesting protagonist than Richard Mayhew.

GOD, YES .....then again so is a sack of wet cement, hah.

What really made this book for me -- and the following ones -- was Peter's voice, and there was a good review elseweb (can't remember where now) that pointed out altho Peter obviously finds women (very) sexy, he's very respectful of them at the same time. But not at all in a very Obvious preachy way.

(I also seriously want Molly to get her own spinoff, or backstory, or something. MOLLY.)

The sequels weren't quiiiite as good, I thought -- the second suffers a bit from second-novel-itis where there's a lot of catchup and explaining, and part of why I loved the first book was its very light exposition. It wasn't quite as tightly plotted as the first book, either, where everything came together so well in that last journey. But I liked it a lot thematically -- it reminded me of later Buffy, when monsters got souls, too. The third book still wasn't quite as good as the first, but LESLEY, and I definitely got the sense of it as a series -- it wasn't just one book after another taking place in the same world, each is building on the next, which I also really like.
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phoenix: (book)

From: [personal profile] phoenix


I've just started reading Aaronovitch and thought you were discussing a different book, but no, we're on the same book: it's Rivers of London this side of the pond, Midnight Riots in the US. It's quite the kind of urban fantasy I want to read, and I'm finding it so satisfying on a sentence level. Turns of phrase that I want to hug to myself, that I'm deliberately slowing down to read/reread in a way I don't usually do in a book as well-paced as this. This series is a lovely, lovely find.

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ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)

From: [personal profile] ruthi


I also live in London, and I find the London in the book to be good and real.



Also, I like that Leslie is a colleague and rival (she's established as professionally better than Peter), and not a woman-there-to-be-the-romantic-interest.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


I really liked it that Lesley was a better cop than Peter, and that he's a kinda sloppy magician -- he really is a scientist empiricist type, and while that's cool too, it doesn't always let him Solve Everything, which I liked.
raincitygirl: close up of the Hulk's face (Hulk (kickair8p))

From: [personal profile] raincitygirl


Oh yay, you liked it!

As other people have told you, it's called Rivers of London on the other side of the pond, and the series is generally called the Rivers of London series. Also as other people have told you, Leslie comes roaring back in the third book, kicks ass, takes names, continues to be better than Peter at various aspects of policing. However, the fact that she's suffered a terribly disfiguring injury isn't ignored. Aaronovitch deals well with Leslie's injury, to my mind. She's understandably traumatized by it and it causes some ructions in her friendship with Peter, but she doesn't go from promising young copper to Victim.

I had some trouble with the sequels in that there's a longterm plot arc that's not solved in either Book 2 or Book 3. So neither of them stands alone as well as the first one, even though they're still well-written. I think Aaronovitch had a good idea having a longterm plot arc alongside the plot of each book, an arc which doesn't get tidied up neatly at the end of each book. But there are a few stumbles in execution as he transitions from standalone to series books.

I thought Book 3 was better than Book 2, and not just because Leslie has such a big role. But you need to have read Book 2 to understand Book 3. And Book 2 has a hilariously hysterical extended scene that is worth the cover price alone. You will not stop giggling over that scene, even if the book as a whole is uneven.

Edited Date: 2013-02-06 01:41 am (UTC)
ext_6284: Estara Swanberg, made by Thao (Default)

From: [identity profile] estara.livejournal.com


I have Rivers of London on my TBR pile, because so many trusted readers liked it. Great to see you number among them ^^

I wanted to point out to you - if you haven't read or bought it yet - that Andrea Höst decided to offer And All the Stars in ebook version for 99 cents for all of February (at the usual outlets). It's another of the books of hers that Sartorias enjoyed.

From: [identity profile] oracne.livejournal.com


I am so glad these seem to be making the rounds! They are awesome! A new one is supposed to be out this year.

From: [identity profile] marycatelli.livejournal.com


He's got an original twist on the magic vs tech in the next book.

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From: [identity profile] kateelliott.livejournal.com


If you read my gushing advocacy, you already know my feelings about this series. LOVE LOVE LOVE

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chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)

From: [personal profile] chomiji


Eeee, I'm so glad you liked this!

One of the interesting things about this series is that as far as I know, everyone to whom I have recced it has enoyed it. That's no small feat on its own!


From: [identity profile] nipernaadiagain.livejournal.com


This sounds interesting, I will look into it

From: [identity profile] desayunoencama.livejournal.com


Good to have your thumbs up (I'd already ordered it last week but hasn't yet shown up in Spain yet).

From: [identity profile] wordsofastory.livejournal.com


I also really loved this book! I thought the second one was not quite as good (though with lots of intriguing hints about backstory and world building), and haven't yet read the third. I listened to them both as audiobooks, and really enjoyed the narrator.

From: [identity profile] mkellis.livejournal.com


He wrote my favorite Doctor Who novel, The Also People. Must pick this up.

The Also People is basically Iain M. Banks’ Culture society meets the Doctor. It also had one of the best scenes of establishing credibility without overdoing it: ‘Let me put it this way: they have a non-aggression pact with the Time Lords.’. Yes, it's a bit fanboyish, but he makes it work beautifully.

From: [identity profile] mkellis.livejournal.com


Okay, the first one ate my brain. These are great fun. It's like falling into an Iain Pears novel but with better music. Midnight Riot is also textbook on how to actually have a sense of place to a novel. It's like a love letter to London.
.

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