R.A. Smith's Reviews > Rivers of London

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
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's review
Jun 05, 2012

it was amazing
Read in May, 2012

I finally got around to reading this, and confess the reasoning behind it wasn't quite as might have been expected. I was following through on a blog article which was showing some changes between the US cover/title and the UK version and was infuriated enough to see what the score was with it all. I'm not getting into details as to why here, but I was delighted to have read it anyway.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. You'll probably hear a lot that this is very much in the vein of a 'British Dresden Files'. Well, it is and it isn't. The similarities are that both are the first-person perspective tales of a wizard in a modern city dealing with threats that the mundane authorities might otherwise struggle with, them being supernatural, and all that. One might add that both Dresden and RoL's main protagonist, Peter Grant, both have blonde female police accomplices. But there are plenty of differences as well. Grant is something of an intellectual, he's very new at the whole wizard thing, and of course while there is some crossover between the fantasy worlds, as you get through the first third comparisons become far more tenous.

The level of research and knowledge of London is very clear to see to the reader, particularly in relation to the title and its relation to the story. As are Grant's insights as to life within the Metropolitan Police. It's nice and specific at times, and gives the reader a certain element of trust about the information he provides. What is also incredibly refreshing about the approach to this novel is the wonderful marriage of London's cosmopolitan, multicultural nature with the rich history of the city, running back millennia. It's all in here, and the icing on the cake is an incredibly dangerous but apt main antagonist.

I can't wait to get on to Moon Over Soho. This gets my full recommendation.

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