‘Rivers of London: Body Work’ by Ben Aaronovitch

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Genres: Graphic Novel, Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Police Procedural, Fantasy, Peter Grant, Rivers of London

Similar books:

Previous books in the series/by the author reviewed: Midnight Riot, Moon over SoHo, Broken Homes, Foxglove Summer, The Hanging Tree, Whispers Under Ground, Lies Sleeping

Rating: Highly Recommended

Here’s the TL;DR for my review (SPOILERS!):

  • Pros
    • Fun police procedural story
    • The characters you know and love are brought to life
    • The plot was well done
  • Mixed
    • The fast pacing was pleasant and made this a quick read… but honestly I would have liked if the creators stopped to smell the roses a bit.
  • Cons
    • The story lacked a true antagonist. This gave the ending a not-quite-satisfying aspect about it.

Spoiler-tastic Review

This is the graphic novelization of the Rivers of London series, providing a new story for us to read. This book is certainly easy enough to read that even someone who hasn’t read the rest of the series can for the most part easily understand character motivations and relationships.

Plot: A man drowned when his car drove into the Thames, and Peter suspects that magic was used to do it. This launches a tale of haunted cars and dark family secrets.

Pacing: Fast paced. The story contains very little extraneous material, going so far as to not really introduce the characters even though this is the first graphic novel they appear in. I guess the creators of this intend that the main audience for this novel is readers of the books.

Characterization: I liked the characters, but not as much as I like them in the books. Nightingale lacks his characteristic scholarly nerdiness, but he still has that upperclass British quality. Peter isn’t as fun as he is in the books. I think this is because so much of what makes him fun is his internal narration. However I still find them, plus Guleed, to be compelling protagonists anyway.

However Molly is a lot more fun here than in the books. In the books she’s entirely dialog free, and as a result she can seem a little blank at times. However in here she’s visually depicted, so she has an entirely new spectrum of characterization, namely visual characterization. We can see her facial expressions, so she has an entirely new spectrum of characterization which she lacked in prior stories. The same goes for Toby the dog.

Finally, I liked the art. It wasn’t the most highly detailed or colorful art I’ve ever seen in a GN, but I do have to say that the artist/s did a GREAT job of displaying characters expressions so you constantly knew what they were thinking.

Constructive criticism

I wanted more magic. Between Peter and Nightingale, the protagonists used very little magic. There were supernatural elements in the form of various haunted cars, but very little magic. I wanted more of it.

 

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