This is London, but not as you know it.
Rivers of London is a delightful Urban Fantasy, written in first person, past tense narrative. The story’s cast includes; P.C Peter Grant, wizard constable Thomas Nightingale, a selection of water nymphs, river gods & goddesses, a maybe vampire house maid, Toby, a rather scruffy but lovable hound, and several ghosts. Themes of friendship, family and loyalty are sprinkled throughout the story, giving a warm feeling to the interactions and making the characters believable and likeable. Ben Aaronovitch has also woven an interesting concept about what makes a place magical/spiritual into the fabric of this novel.
If you enjoy this novel, there are plenty more set in this unique alternative universe. Rivers is the start of a nine book series told by Peter Grant and there are several more narrated by other characters.
The novel starts with newly qualified Police Constable Peter Grant having his life turned upside down and inside out one cold January evening when he meets a ghost at the murder investigation he’s meant to be guarding. Things go from bad to worse when Peter is then recruited to a little know and understaffed branch of the police department. Through out the rest of the novel we see Peter beginning to use magic and meeting the fundamental esoteric structures that underpin London, all the while tracking a vicious supernatural criminal bent on murdering a string of non-magical humans.
Overall I enjoyed this book a lot and felt it was well written. However, there were a few times the plot sagged enough I set it down to read another. For me, the cliche of a newly discovered ‘golden child’ learning to use his power wasn’t something that engaged me fully, but I feel this book would appeal to most urban fantasy readers and YA fantasy readers.
Four out of five coffee beans
To learn more about Ben and all his books have a look at his website