meeners's Reviews > Rivers of London

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
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's review
Jun 06, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read in June, 2012

quite liked this, even though (or maybe because) it confounded all of my initial assumptions. that is the problem with reading something on the kindle - the friend who gave me this in ebook form described it as an "urban fantasy / police procedural," and that combined with the title [rivers of london, that is, not the crappy american version] made me assume that this would be a gritty, noir-ish novel featuring a grizzled old detective who roams the dark alleys of london hunting for his shadow prey. why??????? i do not even know. so imagine my surprise when i open up to the first page (digitally speaking, that is) and find myself encountering a chatty, young, racially mixed narrator just finishing up his stint as a probationary constable. (american translation: he's a rookie cop.) this IS urban fantasy and it IS a police procedural, but one that uses the casual diction and the rushed, rough, transformational energy of modern-day london.

books like this one can be hit or miss with me, but i found myself charmed by the narrator, if only because he's the type of person who probably grew up reading the same kinds of books and watching the same kinds of shows i did. and i am always inclined to like someone who isn't afraid to confess to deeply embarrassing things (traumatic memories of high school dances, unrequited crushes, one's own irrational insecurities, etc.). i also think ben aaronovitch is quite good at switching between dictions and styles (scott lynch, pay attention!!!), especially when it comes to humor. only giving this book 3 stars because the structure of it often felt like a poorly executed BBC television show (complete with quirky characters, sexual tension between co-workers, one large plot arc punctuated by several shorter episodes, and of course your standard action sequence and/or explosion appearing like clockwork), but i'm looking forward to the next book and i'd recommend this one to friends interested in the genre.

unrelated: i do have to say that i kept thinking of constable reggie (from inspector spacetime, the community spoof of doctor who - see youtube clips here and here) while reading this because of the constant references to constables. XD and then i happened to google the author and i found out that he has written doctor who serials and novels. huh!

unrelated (2): it is thanks to this book that i learned that the IT system used by the UK police really is called HOLMES (now HOLMES2) and that the bow street runners were founded by henry fielding! huh!!

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