Saturday, 17 November 2018

BOOKS ¦ Review: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Name: Rivers of London
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Publisher: Gollancz
Date Published: 2011
Rating: 5/5

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic. 
- From Goodreads.

Rivers of London was a funny, well-plotted and intriguing book, with characters that were life-like and interesting, and a plot twist that I didn't see coming.
The first person narrative, which can sometimes be a little annoying in some stories, I think worked well in this case, and I found that Peter, the main character and narrator, felt very likeable and real, and was an effective perspective to view the story from.
The book felt very comforting to read, even though at times it was quite violent and gruesome, that didn't put me off at all and the story was still quite easy and enjoyable to read. Perhaps this was because it made references to things I understood, and the tone of voice felt familiar and had the sense of humour that I really enjoy.
It was a very clever mystery that was written really well, with the pieces of evidence and clues slowly building up until it all clicked into place and connected at the end, when it all suddenly made sense and it showed just how smart the storytelling was. I didn't know where the story was going to go or how it was going to end, but that made me feel intrigued and excited to read the next chapter, rather than lost and anxious about what might happen next. I also felt the pacing was good, I feel like a lot of stories at the moment try to do everything all at once with nonstop action, which often makes me feel too nervous to carry on reading, but this story gave me a chance to breathe between the action, it gave me the time to process the information it was giving, and made time for providing context and descriptions which I really enjoyed. The slow build up of the mystery to the reveal made that reveal pay off really well.
To summarise, it felt like Agatha Christie's Poirot, mixed up with J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and Terry Pratchett's Discworld, and I absolutely adored it for that.

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