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Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday's Short Review: Rivers of London (Midnight Riot) by Ben Aaronovich

: Rivers of London (UK title)

/ Midnight Riot (US title)
Author: Ben Aaronovich
Series: Peter Grant, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Paperback
“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 (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.”

The blurb of the book summarizes pretty well what it is about. Rivers of London (Midnight Riot – USA title) is the first book in the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovich.

Since I learn about this book I have been looking forward to read it. Couple of days ago I finally got to it. My first impressions were really good. Peter Grant is a very pleasant and likable character who discovers there is a secret magic world within our world, with ghosts, deities, vampires and many more weird beings. Grant is a clever man but he is easily distracted. He is learning magic but he can leave his XXI Century-self behind, he is always trying to apply magic using modern concoctions. This makes him feel more realistic.

The supporting characters especially Leslie and Inspector Nightingale are nice and interesting with some twists and mysteries attached to them making the story a little bit more entertaining. The interaction between characters was fun and refreshing.

The events of the book occurred in London. It’s obvious that Mr. Aaronovich is a local because of the knowledge of the city. The description of the places was very detailed, sometimes I thought it was a bit too much, especially if you are not a Londoner or are not familiar with the city, this can become a little bit overwhelming, like in my case, I was forced to look for a map of the city to get my whereabouts of the action. If the book had included a map this might have been a little bit easier.

I had a big problem with the pace of the book. The first third part of the book was great, I was in loved with the characters, with the plot, with the writing and I was thinking I found my new favorite series. But after that third part it suddenly stalled and it became so dull I almost DNF. I hate not finishing books or movies so I forced myself to continue reading, I gave a 20 more pages “last chance”, if not I was going to closed it down and sadly forget about it. I’m glad I forced myself to continue reading those 20 more pages, because the last third part of the book picked up the pace and it became interesting again.

My final though: Rivers of London/Midnight Riot is an innovative book, with rich characters, a very vivid world and three interlaced plots. If it was not for the pace problem I encountered it would have been a perfect book.
I liked the humor of the book, it’s what I called “smarty” funny. When I was reading Rivers of London/Midnight Riot it reminded me somehow of the TV series Doctor Who and later on when I did some research about the author I learned he had written for the TV series.
If you are a fan of Doctor Who, you might like this book. And if you are a Londoner or familiar with the city you might enjoy it more than me.
I will read the next book of this series Moon Over Soho hoping it will continue with the good pace of the first and last parts of Rivers of London/Midnight Riot.

My Verdict: 3 ½ Paws

Other books in the series
Rivers of London/Midnight Riot
Moon Over Soho
Whispers Under Ground

Other reviews Goodreads


  1. Gah! There is nothing more annoying than when a book starts off wonderfully then fizzles. I'm glad it picked up for you though. You were strong and it paid off for you. :)

  2. Julie, I really hate to DNF a book or a movie. I feel bad doing it. I just wish it would have been more constant. I loved the good parts of it though.


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