I love this book. I’ll just put the summary of this review out there early in case you’re tight on time today. You are welcome.
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch is a fun, interesting read following a policeman in London who gets a promotion to become a trainee wizard. It all starts when Peter (our lead) is guarding Covent Garden after someone knocked someone else’s head off and then legged it. Lucky for Peter, a ghost turns up and gives him a tip off. To be honest, that start pretty much gives you the main premise of the book.
The story progresses as Peter begins his wizard training and has to mediate between rivals groups of Thames tributaries (which are personified by real life people), all the while investigating the whole ‘knocking people’s heads off’ crime which rumbles on throughout.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it might be natural to compare this to a grown up version of Harry Potter (which I also LOVE), but it’s a lot more subtle than that. Instead of there being a whole secret magical world, this is more focused on two guys in a big house in London. Instead of the intricate magical sub stories of Potter, there’s mere suggestions of many of the other magical creatures out there. There’s a lot less wand waving and a lot more summoning little balls of light and doing paperwork. Whilst there is a distinct intertwining of the supernatural and the normal world, it adds more interest to the crime story rather than giving the crime story it’s whole purpose.
That subtlety can get a bit annoying and at times I really didn’t have a clue what was going on. Looking back, some things never really get explained, but I infinitely prefer that to books that lay it all out there and explain their own subtleties in intricate detail. Don’t patronise me, I want a book that makes me work for it.
As much as I felt confused, I never lost interest in the story. Ben Aaronovitch is a witty writer and the humour made me laugh out loud at times. It’s a light, funny book if you feel like a bit of a magical (slightly violent) adventure.
As always, I love reading your comments and always appreciate them. Have you read this book? What are you reading at the moment?