I picked up the Rivers of London audiobook after spending a couple of days in London on a recommendation from Jenia, who really enjoyed the series. It’s very specific on some of the London landmarks, which was a pretty cool Easter Egg for someone who had just been there, but doesn’t detract from the book if you haven’t been to London. The narrator does a fantastic job throughout the audiobook, and it’s a good medium for the book.
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.
Rivers of London is set in the first person from the perspective of Peter Grant. Naturally this gives us a nice insight into his thoughts throughout the book, and a view of his inner, and often comedic dialogue. Peter is quite well developed over the course of the book, as he learns about the supernatural and magic.
Other characters aren’t developed quite as thoroughly, and mostly seem like side characters helping to develop Peter, however this isn’t that abnormal for a book set in the first person.
There are a few different plot threads running simultaneously throughout Rivers of London which tie back together towards the end. It’s fairly fast paced, and the main plot line is a supernatural murder mystery, and there’s some nice magic learning/experimentation in there as well, which was fun.
Jenia’s Additional Thoughts
I listened to the whole series while traipsing through the streets of London. I admit that definitely contributed to my enjoyment of the series, as Aaronovitch describes the city and its people with a lot of detail and love. But even without that I think it’s a fun romp. A lot of the characters get further developed over the series, and I grew to care a lot for Peter, with his enthusiasm for community policing and his love of various nerd stuff (high five, fellow Discworld fan). I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book!
This book is probably best for people who like:
- Urban Fantasy
- First Person POV
- Murder Mysteries
- Supernatural elements
- Learning magic