Hmm, the title isn't too bad a one, Midnight Riot
, given what happens and who the villain is, but you're right about the cover.
Anyway, just finished Rivers of London
. Here's my review that I posted on another BBS...
REVIEW: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
I am familiar with the works of Ben Aaronovitch through his work on Doctor Who. Writing the critically acclaimed TV story Remembrance of the Daleks and the less acclaimed but still distinctive Battlefield, he also wrote several spin-off books, like Transit, The Also People, and, with Kate Orman, So Vile A Sin. However, until recently, I was unaware that he had also written an urban fantasy series, and so, because I knew Aaronovitch was a fairly good writer, I thought I would give the first book in the series, Rivers of London, a shot...
Meet Police Constable Peter Grant. Unlike his friend, Lesley May, he is about to be shuffled aside into the Case Progession Unit of the London Metropolitan Police, not the most exciting of careers. But after seeing something he shouldn't, Grant is recruited by Detective Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the head and, until now, the only member of the Folly, the section of the London Metropolitan Police that deals with crimes of a magical and supernatural flavour. And it's no piece of cake, as Grant will learn how to cast spells, stop vampires, negotiate between the warring deities of the River Thames, and stop a supernatural murderer who is a puppet master in more ways than one...
Of all the faults of Rivers of London, the main one is that technically speaking, the concept is far from original. While the cover quote by Diana Gabaldon about the book being 'what would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the Fuzz' is something of an exaggeration, this book does take many similar archetypes, though I am more likely to compare it to the not dissimilar Laundry series by Charles Stross. What matters more than anything else, then, are the differences. Certainly, the culprit behind the main conflict in the book is a startlingly original one that I didn't see coming, and there is a lovely, semi-sardonic tone throughout, though it's not quite at the level of Stross' Laundry series. Part of the problem, too, is that I am not as familiar with London as more of Aaronovitch's audience will be.
Even so, the characters are fine enough, with Peter Grant being a good, if not excellent, narrator, and Lesley a decent friend character. Nightingale is a fairly standard mentor type, though the character of Molly, the Folly's maid, is rather more intriguing. So too are the deities of Mama Thames and Father Thames, not to mention the bitchy Lady Ty. However, of the other characters, only the main villain seems truly interesting enough to engage and hold my attention, simply because who and, more to the point, what they are is so surprisingly and startlingly original.
In the end, while not spectacular, Rivers of London was good enough for me to continue with the series. So, once I get further books off my plate, who knows?
To be perfectly honest, I much prefer Charles Stross' Laundry series, probably because that series works in the dark sense of humour better. And maybe I prefer spy-fi to mystery novels. But Rivers of London
was still pretty good.