21 May 2015

THE RIVERS OF LONDON.

Read for the What's In A Name? 2015 challenge: A Body Of Water category.

 RIVERS OF LONDON by BEN AARONOVITCH.


BACK COVER BLURB: 'I used to be a probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service, and to everyone else as the Filth...'

Meet PC Peter Grant. He will show you his city. But it's not the capital that you all see as you make your way from tube to bus. It's a city that under its dark surface is packed full of crime, and of magic. Grant's story starts when he tries to take a witness statement from a dead man. It takes him into a centuries' old mystery that could quickly set modern London on fire.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1: Material Witness}: It started at one thirty on a cold Tuesday morning in January when Martin Turner, street performer and, in his own words, apprentice gigolo, tripped over a body in front of the East Portico of St Paul's at Covent Garden.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 80}: Her face didn't fit her outfit, being too long and sharp-boned with black almond-shaped eyes. Despite her mob cap she wore her hair loose, a black curtain that fell to her waist. She instantly gave me the creeps, and not just because I've seen too many Japanese horror films.

SOURCE: A World Book Night 2014 read.

MY THOUGHTS: On a positive note, a different (weird but different) sort of supernatural/urban fantasy-come-crime novel. It's just sad that for me at least this is as positive as it gets.

Imagine if you will what would have happened if Harry Potter had never gone to Hogworts but instead had joined the Metropolitan police only to be taken on as an apprentice to the last known wizard-come- detective then throw in a couple of 'spirits' that are more than likely unlike any you have encountered before and you have Rivers of London.

An interesting concept I'm sure you'll agree but for me the mix of magic and police procedure never quite hit the mark. And as for the plot and characters? Completely ludicrous. Whilst I willingly bought into the likes of wizards, ghosts and vampires, that magic actually exists, I'm afraid I failed to engage with (let alone believe in) either the world building (much of it built on a foundation of actual London locations) or any of the characters (the trolls residing under London's bridges, Old Father Thames living in a caravan) portrayed here.

What turns out to be the first in a series of the books, Rivers Of London is published in the US as Midnight Riot. A very British novel with what I feel is a quintessential British sense of humour which combined with many references to British culture etc (Dixon of Dock Green, anyone?) might prove bewildering to readers outside the UK.


11 comments:

Kelly said...

At first glance, I thought this might be interesting. The more you shared, however, the less it appealed and I think I can safely pass on it.

I really do like the cover, though!

Tracy Terry said...

There have been lots of people I've heard say that Kelly and whilst I think it very appropriate for the book I don't otherwise think much of it.

Suko said...

Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts about this book, Tracy. I'm sorry this was not a more enjoyable read for you.

Stephanie Faris said...

Wow. Sounds a little out of whack! I hate when the plot doesn't live up to the premise.

Brandi Kosiner said...

Hmm, interesting parallel with Harry Potter and the what ifs.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Most of the UK references would probably be lost on me. I hadn't heard of this one before and it does sound unique. Doesn't quite sound right for me, but I enjoyed reading your thoughts. :)

Melliane said...

I saw this one and it's true that the concept was interesting. I haven't read it but I'm curious to try.

Brian Joseph said...

This does sound like a very creative and original concept. Too bad that it did not work.

The Britishness of the book would not deter me. The other flaws that you allude to would.

Claudine G. said...

I like the writing (found those lines delightful) though never saw it coming as a supernatural story! Might still give it a go nevertheless.

Gina R said...

Dixon of Dock Green? *-* Umm..yeah. Concept sounds curious but I'm not certain it'd rate high in my book come the final page. Thanks for the share just the same!

So many books, so little time said...

Thanks for your review, I think I share your thoughts on this or I would if I read it, I shall pass this one up too.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net