Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch

Title: Rivers of London
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Format: Hardback
Length: 392 pages
Genre: Fantasy Crime
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Mr. Aaronovitch, I really enjoyed your book. The story was great and all that jazz. But, have words with your editor/proofreader, or whoever. Someone is not pulling their weight! Getting characters names muddled up and using technical magical terms before the narrating character is told them totally ruined my satisfaction of finding a good book. Poor show. Plus, I did get a bit confused as to who was what with the Punch puppetry thing in the last third. But I think that was because I was tired when I read it. (Poor show on my behalf too, SORRY!) 

So BEWARE dear readers, this is a book where you need your wits about you to keep up in places, but I do like a bit of a mental challenge. (Although the other day I did struggle to count to five. But, I digress.)

Ok, so petty problems aside, I really did enjoy this book. I LOVE that it was a British book, and a British setting, with British characters that were believably British. I usually seem to end up reading American books by American authors in American settings, so this was really refreshing for me. Plus, us British rock, no doubt about it.

So, I described this in a Teaser Tuesday post as being... "all about Peter Grant, a police officer in the London MET, and how a murder and subsequent interview with a witness who just happened to be a ghost open his world up to all the secret magical malarky in London. Magic and Men in Uniform, yes please!"
On the left is Punch. If you don't know who
Punch and Judy are, then google them before
reading this book!

I'm gonna stick with my lovely original description, and add in that there are two separate aspects to this story. There is the case that Peter is working on, which is a string of murders and random violence where the attackers' faces fall off, because of (as per usual) the misuse of The Magics. Yes, that shit gets italicised. And then there is the other half of the plot, which is the whole Rivers of London bit. So Mother Thames and her Daughters, and Father Thames and his Sons, (who are all, between them, the Rivers of London), are having a bit of a faceoff, and that falls under a migical magical breach of the peace, which means that the migical magical part of the police force is called in to negotiate and fix it all. And Peter Grant is the latest addition to this department, just to tie that together there.

I did get all enthusiastic about how well Aaronovitch blended his research into the book, which made it a much richer experience when reading it. It was all Londony (real word, look it up!) and historically historical. How I love the history! And all of the explanations about the MET and how it is run, complete with police lingo, was also yay. Oh, and physicsy understandings of magic made it feel logical and like it all could feasibly happen, as Peter tries to understand all The Magics in non magical mystery terms. Like I said above, I did get a tad confused towards the end. Stuff hit the fan, there was a big proverbial mess, and the whole story sped up VERY fast. But, considering that the whole book was trying to set up characters and dynamics for future books of la series, and still tell two intertwining stories simultaneously, I am surprised that it was still so manageable. 

And now to quantify this into numbers.... erm.... 7? Yeah, I'm happy with that number. 7!

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