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Rivers of London (Peter Grant #1)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  27,710 ratings  ·  3,325 reviews
"I used to be 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 DC Peter Grant. He will show you his city. But it's not the capital that you see as you make your way from tube to bus, from Elephant to Castle. It's a city that under its dark surface is packed
Paperback, 392 pages
Published August 2011 by Gollancz (first published January 1st 2011)
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Anneke Actually, you can find the original English title "Rivers of London" if you copy the ISBN No. (which is 0575097566 BTW) into the search box.

Same if…more
Actually, you can find the original English title "Rivers of London" if you copy the ISBN No. (which is 0575097566 BTW) into the search box.

Same if you prefer the much nicer English cover of book 2, "Moon over Soho" (ISBN 0575097604).(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Great book. Urban fantasy. You should read it.

Why? Here's why....

1. It's witty.

2. It's not cliché.

3. It's smart.

4. It's set in London, and written by someone who obviously knows London.

5. The main character has a great voice.

5. The language is great. (See below.)

6. It hasn't been dumbed down for the American audience.

Well… okay. They did change the title in the US from "Rivers of London" to "Midnight Riot." That was a shame.

But they left a lot of good stuff in. I don't think I've ever
Rivers of London is a fun mix of so many things that I love in my pleasure reads - the geekiness and the science, the dry British humor², and the magical/mythical/phantasmagorical stuff in a big city³. What's not to like?

My whole life, basically. Really.
² Examples - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, even some of China Miéville's stuff.
³ Examples - Harry Dresden books, China Miéville, Neil Gaiman, even Sir Terry.
"Carved above the lintel were the words SCIENTIA POTESTAS EST. Science points east, I wo
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Midnight Riot is the kind of book that people like me, absolute anglophile and devoted BBC lover, couldn’t help but like. The humor and the texture to the narrative in this book reads delightfully British, but in a fashion that suggests that England isn’t just Jane Austen or Charles Dickens. It’s also Doctor Who, Blake’s Seven, Being Human, Law and Order: UK, and Luther. It’s upper crust and working class. It’s a mix of past and present. Even deeper, it’s the everyday lives of Britons, not all N ...more
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

I’m a fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, even though I got tired and stopped reading after #9. After a while the stories became too repetitive and I didn’t see any significant growth in Harry’s character. His smart-ass comments that were amusing in the earlier books started getting annoying towards the end.

In the hopes I would find a fun read similar to the Dresden books, I picked up Midnight Riot. It wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t a great one either. Peter Gr
Jul 20, 2015 julio rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to julio by: Erika
city people be like:


first of all, i wasn't too keen on what happens to lesley, but i guess you can't make an omelette without—

*ducks flung shoe*


an author buddy of mine read this book too, and says aaronovitch's handling of race annoyed him, because while there is awesomeness like various london water goddesses being nigerians, aaronovitch himself is not nigerian, and people who speak authoritatively about races not their own are typically embarrassing and distasteful.

and it's true, mostl
Well, I'm always looking for a great Urban fantasy book series, and this one is another one I'll be following with joy! Very much in the style of Harry Dresden, and my other fave, the Alex Verus series. This series is set in modern-day London, and features a black male lead character, who's a cop, and finds himself drafted into the magical investigation unit arm of the police. I love the sensibility of this book, it's incredibly dark at the same time, quippy! The worldbuilding is very interestin ...more
Oct 29, 2014 Carol. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: urban fantasy lovers, detective fans
Recommended to Carol. by: FA
I enjoyed this book, so much that I didn't want to review it right away because I was still immersed in Peter Grant's London. It's the urban fantasy take on the detective novel, a police procedural that gives a close-up view of a modern London with undercurrents of magic and magical beings. I love the tone of this book--it's wry and humorous, but doesn't let the humor take over the scene. It's one thing to be ready with a quick line, another entirely to go through one's entire life wisecracking, ...more
Lois Bujold
Rivers of London (U.S. title: Midnight Riot) by Ben Aaronovitch, 2011

I received this book as a gift a rather long time ago. It sat in my to-be-read pile for far too long because, I am embarrassed to admit, of its cover, which looked dreary and literary.

I should instead have looked at the first page, which opens:

“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 West P
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
UPDATE 27 June 2013: A TV series is on the way! Maybe 2014!

Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: 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
I have to admit that a moderate portion of my liking for this book is probably due to the fact that I am one of those Americans who is instantly charmed when faced with a page of British slang and references. I don’t know if it’s in the genetic memory or what, but I pathetically cannot help myself! Guh…it’s like thar speakin’ mah language but diffrint! However, this book isn’t just a compendium of British slang. I found quite a lot more to love within these pages.

Peter Grant is a young constable
Will M.
Peter Grant dreams of becoming a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Being granted the dreadful assignment of Case Progression Unit, Grant did everything he could so that he may be promoted to detective. His uncanny ability of seeing ghosts was his ticket to his dream. Brutal murders lurk in the city and the gods apparently meddles too.

Peter Grant was really likeable, but only during the first half of the novel. I got bored after about 50% because nothing grand was happening. Nothing gru
Jul 27, 2011 new_user rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to new_user by: Dr. Who fans
Ben Aaronovitch is funny. Midnight Riot's appeal stems from protagonist Peter Grant's humor:
"Do we have a plan B?"
"Molly can do haemomancy," said Nightingale [...] "It might be possible to find [the suspect] that way."
"Why can’t we do it that way now?" I asked.
"Because the odds are five to one against you surviving the experience," said Nightingale.
"So, yeah," I said. "Probably best not to do it that way now, then."
Aaronovitch delivers on his claims and doesn't make the mistake of claiming t
I was suitably charmed but not wowed by this urban fantasy set in London. Yet the young hero, Constable Peter Grant captured my affection and respect and I believe from what I hear that the series gets better.

Rather than the flash and pizzazz shown by wizard Harry Dresden waging desperate war against legions of bizarre magical creatures in Butcher’s series, this tale thrives mostly on conventional police procedural efforts that home in on a single powerful ghost. By contrast, I found it easier t
I can never keep the new shelf classifications straight, but this has to be a {moderately} dark urban fantasy. It's dark the way Harry Dresden is dark, not like Felix Castor or John Constantine. Bad things happen, but the world itself is not an absolute bastard which wants you to die with a pitchfork in your eye.

I read it. I enjoyed it muchly. I want more from Ben Aaronovitch, soon, please, because my next read is about free market economics and the false rhetorics of capitalism in the early 21s
Once upon a time there was a Mama River and a Papa River and a Copper called Peter.
Jokes aside there really are these characters in the story.
This story serves up a concoction consisting of the humor of Terry Pratchett, a dice of Neil Gaiman's characters and plot and finally a fixer kind of guy and supernatural goings on from Jim Butcher.
Peter is a copper of mixed race ethnicity his mother was a cleaner, his father was a drug addict and grew up in a council estate. He became a down to earth ki
Mike (the Paladin)
5 Silver Stars as opposed to Gold star....see the comments.

Another hard to rate book in that I can't really say I like it as much as my favorite books...but it it deserves more than 4 stars. So...5 stars, but not quite the top of my 5 star rating (?).

This is an urban fantasy, a genre that's become so chock full lately that you can't swing a kobold without hitting a new one. Most are(sadly) of the mediocre vein but every now and then you stumble on (or as in this case are directed by a friend on
Cora Tea Party Princess
Jul 02, 2013 Cora Tea Party Princess rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of urban fantasy
What is that? Ghosts in London? WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY?! It's like insta-love for me. London + Ghosts just works.

The Peter Grant books are easily my favourite contemporary urban fantasies.

They're chock full of EVERYTHING in a world that's so real and believable.

I love the way modern culture is woven in - especially mentions of Harry Potter (hello, magic!). I love the way that I know this London. Rivers of London takes the landmarks that everyone who has visited London for even a day will know, and m
Peter Grant is a Probationary Constable in London who, despite his dreams of being a detective, possesses a propensity for detail and a knack for paperwork that makes him the perfect candidate for the Case Progression Unit (a department that does the endless paperwork on behalf of "real" detectives). Before he's doomed to a pallid indoor office complexion and a life of carpal tunnel syndrome, he receives a breakthrough in a significant case. Only one problem: it's from a ghost. And thus begins P ...more
Brendon Schrodinger
Urban Fantasy

Two words that are enough to send me running in the opposite direction. Sparkly vampires, werewolves with 'tude and ghosts with unresolved daddy issues. Along with Paranormal Romance, it's one of those sub-genres that is ruining the Fantasy/SF section of bookshops and is an embarrassment to all decent book lovers out there. Sure we should be supportive of all book loving, but really the fans are the people who are filling Goodreads with reviews entirely made of a series of gifs. Yea
3.75 stars. Midnight Riot is great start to a series and also is simply a fabulous new series for the urban fantasy world. This book is funny, not silly funny like Three's Company, but dry funny with an amazing delivery. Ben Aaronvitch makes very witty observations about human nature and delivers in such a way that it is funny. At the same time, he sets up an intriguing urban fantasy world, playing on existing mythology and bringing new stuff in. He even makes a few Harry Potter jokes.

The main c
Peter Grant is awesome! It's not even that he's that awesome actually, but I loved this book!

It's really hard not to compare this to the Dresden Files since they're both urban fantasy murder mystery magic stories and as much as I loved Harry, and I do love Harry, I have to say that if I was forced to choose I'd pick Peter. That said I think anyone who likes the Dresden Files is likely to enjoy this too.

Ben Aaronovitch has a beautiful style and he's become one of my new favourite authors even t
Feb 05, 2013 Katy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Dresden Files etc.
Recommended to Katy by: Vine
Shelves: vine-book
Please note: I read this book in Jan. of 2011; am just making some fixes to the review here and adding the disclosure that I received a free copy of this book from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

My Synopsis: Midnight Riot introduces us to rookie constable Peter Grant. He is learning the ropes in London when, one night, he sees a ghost. From that point, his life will never be the same, because he has come to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale. Nightingale
Ben Aaronovitch has an excellent pedigree: he wrote two 7th-Doctor-era serials for Doctor Who, and has written DW novels which I will now have to seek out. And he seems to have been the first to send a Dalek up a staircase. Evil, evil man.

I'm becoming an audiobook voice groupie. Which is going to be a problem here, because the sequel to Rivers of London is not (legally) available in the US. [ETA: It just took patience: they get here eventually!] Mia Michaels, judging on "So You Think You Can Dan

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.

I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go.

In 1963 Lawrence of Arabia won the best picture
So this could be fun. I'm not all that in the know when it comes to genres, but if this is what urban fantasy is all about (tip of the hat to Carol for the intel), then it fits the bill for the sort of zone-out-friendly, but sufficiently compelling adventure read that I need every now and then.
“If you've ever heard a cowbell…you'd realize that they are not designed to be harmonious.”
The Only Perscription

It's not much in the way of a review, but I just couldn't let the opportunity pass me by.

More Cowbell
Lady Jaye
Story: stars
* extra for standing out in the land of UF
* extra for including jollof rice and groundnut soup!!!!
GRAND TOTAL: fat, very well-deserved stars!

So after a while of reading UF, one begins to get sorta jaded; it all begins to blend and look similar. Mr. Aaronovitch's debut stands out from the bunch.

How does it stand out, you ask? Let me count a couple of ways:

1. It is being narrated by a guy. Which by itself puts it in the minority of UF books.
1a. To make it even more unique, said

Rivers of London also known as Midnight Riot was written by Ben Aaronovitch who many familiar with Doctor Who may recognise from his writing of classic episodes. Rivers of London was an entertaining, quirky and somewhat gritty read, kept consistent by its main protagonist. It was not a philosophical masterpiece of literature but it did not set out to create the writing equivalent of The Great Wall of China and then walk across it three times. Rather it set out to produce a fun, airy urban fantas

Goddammit. I wanted to like this one. I really, really, really did. It has a lot going for it. Midnight Riot, also known as Rivers of London across the pond, has, while not the most original premise, certainly an engaging voice. It's got that dry British humor going on, an initially likable hero, an intriguing world and diverse cast, a science(ish)-based magic system, and a POC protagonist who doesn't read like a white guy with a paint job. It was close, SO CLOSE, to enjoyable.

Unfortunately, it
This was an interesting story involving a policeman, old London river gods and magic and I did enjoy it. However I was not fully convinced and I may not follow up the series. To be fair I was listening to this on audiobook and I did not like the reader very much. Why would they use someone who takes loud, wet breaths between sentences? Very annoying. So maybe I will give this series a second chance but read the book myself next time.
Now this was a breath of fresh air. Which I guess sounds funny if I mention it’s an urban fantasy about a somewhat bumbling cop who takes a witness statement from a ghost and ends up as the apprentice to the last wizard in England. But seriously, this was a breeze of competence and sanity in a welter of bad books.

I think the most important thing is that it’s funny. Not like first person urban fantasy funny, but actually funny. And our protagonist (first person, natch) is great: he’s one of those
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Laurie R. King Vi...: Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch - VBC May 2015 86 70 May 31, 2015 10:08AM  
Peter Grant or Harry Dresden 26 270 Apr 29, 2015 12:37PM  
Dark Readers Read...: Rivers of London Chapters 1-5 1 3 Apr 13, 2015 11:38AM  
Cityread London 2...: What do you think of Rivers of London? 4 31 Apr 08, 2015 03:08AM  
Do I "have" to start the series with this one? 15 122 Feb 08, 2015 07:10PM  
  • London Falling (Shadow Police, #1)
  • The Minority Council (Matthew Swift, #4)
  • Thicker Than Water (Felix Castor, #4)
  • Taken (Alex Verus, #3)
  • Dead Harvest (The Collector, #1)
  • Circle of Enemies (Twenty Palaces, #3)
  • Sixty-One Nails (Courts of the Feyre, #1)
  • Death Most Definite (Death Works Trilogy #1)
  • Midnight Blue-Light Special (InCryptid, #2)
  • Hard Spell (Occult Crimes Unit Investigation #1)
Ben Aaronovitch's career started with a bang writing for Doctor Who, subsided in the middle and then, as is traditional, a third act resurgence with the bestselling Rivers of London series.

Born and raised in London he says that he'll leave his home when they prise his city out of his cold dead fingers.
More about Ben Aaronovitch...

Other Books in the Series

Peter Grant (6 books)
  • Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant, #2)
  • Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant, #3)
  • Broken Homes (Peter Grant, #4)
  • Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant, #5)
  • The Hanging Tree (Peter Grant, #6)
Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant, #2) Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant, #3) Broken Homes (Peter Grant, #4) Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant, #5) Rivers of London: Body Work

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“ I gave the prescribed Metropolitan Police "first greeting".
"Oi!" I said "What do you think you're doing?”
“Carved above the lintel were the words SCIENTIA POTESTAS EST. Science points east, I wondered? Science is portentous, yes? Science protests too much. Scientific potatoes rule. Had I stumbled on the lair of dangerous plant geneticists?” 73 likes
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