Rivers of London is the first book in Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series. It’s contemporary Fantasy, which usually isn’t my thing, but I enjoyed this novel a lot.
PC Peter Grant is a young English policeman who, after an encounter with a ghost, is recruited into a ‘secret’ branch of the Metropolitan police that deals only with magical cases.
Like I said before, I usually am not a fan of contemporary Fantasy, but there’s something about the way Aaronovitch writes about London that wins me over completely. Maybe it’s the back-story on the city and its streets and buildings that endear me to it?
Peter himself is a great guy to read about: a regular cop, with biracial parents and a best friend who happens to be a girl and also a cop. His descriptions of regular police work and their ‘suspects’, like rounding up drunks on Friday night, are absolutely hilarious and also exactly what I expected it to be like. No high-end foot chases and car chases with loud sirens and guns with infinite ammo as they show in the movies.
The book itself is incredibly witty and the hijinks that ensue when Peter comes into contact with the occult and magic are great. Because the book is written from Peter’s perspective, the readers learns about how magic works in London at the same time as Peter, and it works well. There are some very interesting concepts in this book, including the fact that all rivers of London are actually gods and they aren’t all the nicest people to be around.
His relocation to the Folly, a.k.a. the manor his boss Nightingale lives in with a creature called Molly who looked like a really pale girl but isn’t, is a good way to delve more deeply into magic, but also serves to isolate Peter from his fellow cops a bit, like his best friend Lesley.
The case itself also kept me on the edge of my seat, and its conclusion was definitely not what I expected.