Genres: Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Fantasy, Crime, Police Procedural, Rivers of London, Peter Grant
Similar books: Dresden Files
Rating: Highly Recommended
Here’s the TL;DR for my review:
- Great start to an excellent series
- The POV Peter Grant is a capital ‘C’ Character. His characterization oozes off the pages. He’s a fun loving science nerd cop, who doesn’t believe in magic up until the point where he starts casting spells. He’s a biracial cop who grew up in low-key racist London, who’s doing his best to get on the police force. The story is written in Grant’s voice, and that voice is fun and joyous.
- The plot relies strongly on not only true London history, but also British Folklore. The author weaves together London’s rich multicultural history into a stellar tapestry of fun.
- The setting is a colorful-and-horrifying Urban Fantasy.
- Beyond the protagonist, the other characters are not as amazing. While they are still good by UF standards, the excellence of Grant himself kinda outshines them.
- This is an Urban Fantasy of the early 2000’s mold. If you’re burned out on the genre (and I can’t blame you if you are burned out on such a glutted genre), then this might not be for you. That said, in my opinion this is the best police procedural UF ever written, better than the Dresden Files by a fair margin.
This is not only a re-read, but also a re-review for me. Here’s a link to my prior review.
I love this series. I’m in the middle of reading the series, so I decided to double back and re-read this novel after two+ years since I originally read it.
Ben Aaronovitch is skilled with the written word. He writes a gritty-but-not-grimdark world of magic and crime. Peter Grant is his protagonist, and he is a cop who’s just beginning his crime-fighting career, who has yet to entirely lose his innocence. Peter wants to become a cop… but that said he’s also doing his best to avoid becoming a desk jockey cop for the rest of his life. As the book opens Peter’s about to be assigned to the ‘paperwork division’ of the London Metropolitan Police Force. However just a day before his paperwork-filled doom, he has an encounter with a ghost and a wizard. This chance encounter leads his life in a whole new direction, the direction of the Met’s youngest wizard detective.
I’m keeping this review short because I’ve reviewed this before. This is a tale of adventure, ghosts, anthropomorphic manifestations of rebellion, river gods, wizards and midnight riots.
While I think this is a good book and Peter’s characterization in this book is some of the best in the series, I also think the author hasn’t quite hit his stride yet. Anyway, check this out if you’re looking for an UF mystery.