I bought this book when it went on sale, and I am so happy that I did! It was so much better than I was expecting it to be. The characters are amazingly well done, each one is well thought out and unique. I couldn't pick a favorite character if you asked me to, they are all so great. The writing is so funny at times and delightfully creepy at others. The plot is great, good and twisty and convincingly constructed. It's the first book in the series and I'll definitely be getting more of them. I've been recommending this book to all my friends.
As an urban fantasy, it seems to follow a trend I've noticed in other British urban fantasy books that I've noticed. There's a conflict which carries the plot through the book, but there are plenty of other large and small issues which sometimes affect the plot and sometimes just illustrate either the background (like the vampire incident) or sometimes just illuminate the characters themselves. It reminds me a bit of watching a TV show over a season, where sometimes the episodes are more or less stand alone and sometimes they build toward the season finale conflict. I personally really enjoy this method of story-telling. Other similar books I've enjoyed with this writing style are Daniel O'Malley's "The Rook" (another really excellent book), Jodi Taylor's "Just One Damn Thing After another" (hilarious and excellent) or Claire North's "The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August" (you guessed it: excellent!).
I had to dock the narrator one star because of his sometimes very breathy performance. He is so great and delivers all the lines with exactly the right inflections and panache that I can't hold it too much against him, but if you're inclined to be bothered by noisy breathing at times, then this might get to you a bit.
A very fun and fast paced listen! If you like paranormal police dramas in the vein of Dresden or the good English Midsomer Murders/Agatha Christie/Sherlock Holmes, then this book is for you. The narrator is the BEST I've heard yet with all British dialects as well as believable women's voices. A very unique story line using the Rivers of London as a base. I highly recommend this series!
Audible ate all my reviews! :-(
When I first started listening to this first Peter Grant book, I was knocked breathless. Sounds hokey I know, but discovering a truly well -written, engaging book that stretches into a series is like knocking back a shot of fine, honest Russian vodka. Peter Grant always leaves you breathless and wanting more. Maybe that's why it is impossible to contact Aaronovitch. His readers would be proverbially battering down his door wanting to know when the next installment was due out. That's how real a character Aaronovitch has made Police Constable Peter Grant, the 21st century London magician's apprentice whose job it is to investigate supernatural misdeeds in and around that great metropolis, under the tutelage of the sole surviving member of the Metropolitan Police's supernatural division, Inspector Thomas Nightingale. I cannot imagine reading a printed version of this series because Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's narration is the spark that brings this magic-filled London of Aaronovitch's to life. Sit back and enjoy this gem that begins a "give me more!" series. And just in time for the next installment. Trust me when I say that when you've finished the series, it will keep calling you back, and when the siren call comes, everything you try to listen to will be utterly boring until you answer the call and have another listen to a Peter Grant book. This is my third go around. I'll be ready when the next one is released in June, 2016.
Peter Grant has come to the end of his two years as a probationary constable with the Metropolitan Police Service, and is about to get his permanent assignment. He desperately hopes to avoid the Case Progression Unit, i.e., the unit that does the paper work so real cops don't have to. His chances aren't looking good.
Then on what would likely be one of his last shifts as a constable on the street, he guards the scene of a seemingly inexplicable murder, he meets an unexpected and potentially valuable witness: a ghost.
This brings him to the attention of Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who heads up a unit Peter had no idea existed. Specifically, Nightingale heads of the unit that deals with magic, ghosts, the undead, and the genii loci of the surrounding area. Nightingale decides that Peter's ability to see ghosts and sense magical residue makes him a promising apprentice wizard--the first new apprentice in decades.
After some hesitation, Peter decides to seize this chance to escape assignment to the Case Progression Unit. It's not long before he's chasing the malevolent spirit of a dead frustrated actor, attempting to negotiate a peace between a god and goddess of the Thames who are on the brink of war with each other, and learning how the Metropolitan Police Service in the early 21st century deals with a nest of vampires.
And of course, there's the little matter of his lessons in magic, and discovering the tricky aspects of doing magic in the presence of modern technology you'd like to continue using afterwards.
Peter Grant is a thoroughly likable character, who loves his city and who is proud of his police service without being either sloppy or macho about it. He and the London he lives in also reflect the complexity and diversity of the 21st century city, not the 19th century city.
I bought this book.
I really enjoyed the characters and the story. Peter Grant is my new urban paranormal detective. I found the narration distracting, however. I wanted to tell him to slow it down some and take a deep breaths. At points he seemed to literally gasp at the end of a sentence or paragraph. While that type of pacing can add excitement to the narration, when done throughout the book it just gets annoying.
I will listen to the next book in the series because I enjoyed the characters so much.
I didn't even realize was thirsty until I drank from this dark well. A friend described the series to me and, intrigued, I gave it a go. My love of procedurals and supernatural made it a natural fit. Since all protagonists are black in my imagination (no matter the story) this book was like a dream come true. I drank down this audio book in 2.5 days.
Not much else to say. Performance was well done and the story was above average. I'll try the next book as well.
Post apocalyptic listener with some thrillers mixed in. Follow me on twitter at @drewsant
I don’t know why but I just couldn’t get into the story. The characters are interesting and it’s well written but for some reason I just wasn’t into this one. Maybe it’s the fact that Peter is just learning how to do magic so we don’t get to see it that often. That being said the last quarter of the book was very good so maybe some more fun is in store in the next couple! If you’re a huge urban fantasy fan this book is probably for you, but the more casual fans may want to look someplace else.
Mr. Holdbrook-Smith does a good jobs with the characters but sometimes I heard him taking a deep breath in between sentences.