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.
©2011 Ben Aaronvitch (P)2012 Tantor
I am so glad to see that Holdbrook-Smith will be narrating the next installment of this series. He's absolutely fantastic. There are characters from many different backgrounds in this series and he can do all their accents to a T. I especially loved the way he portrayed Mama Thames. (Having lived in Woolwich and known women who were originally from Nigeria, but had lived in South East London for some time, her accent is exactly how they sound).
As for the story itself-- well this is urban fantasy detective novel writing done by a confident expert and keen observer of modern London. The knowledge of policing in London is first rate. There is loads of suspense and I kept driving longer to find out what would happen next. I am so glad this is a series because there are plenty of finely drawn characters that I can't wait to see more of in the next installment, like Peter's jazz musician junkie father and strict Sierra Leonian mother.
Well worth the read!
I like the concept of "river gods" and the beginning of the magic system that doesn't quite get fleshed out (we learn about "formers" and where magic might come from but not a lot else).
I had a problem relating to the British colloquialisms as well as the London locale. I guessed the meaning of most of the non-American words since they were used in context but I felt that the need for spontaneous translation kind of popped my little bubble of disbelief. Also, being not at all familiar with London, I felt like I was missing out on some inside jokes. I could tell that the author is a clever, witty, fellow though. His writing is good, it's just so British that I had trouble relating and this from a rabid Monty Python fan. For instance, I didn't even get that the main character was of Nigerian descent until far past the African mama jokes, which took me aback.
I also have to admit that I had a problem with the narrator's performance. He gulped, swallowed, and gasped minutely at various intervals and I found it distracting. His voice and inflections were also disturbingly similar to Nick Frost's character, Ed, in Shawn of the Dead so that's whom I pictured narrating throughout the story.
I THINK the series has potential and I want to find out but I'd like for somebody to tell me that Kobna's performance improves as he gains more experience in narration so I can at least concentrate on the story a bit more.
If I could give 3.5 stars I would. Definitely not 4 stars. OK story, ok reader, but not great.
I believe it's the first of a series. I won't be looking for more in the series.
Yep. Loved the reader: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Kind of a mouthful of name but so good and "normal" in a world that is not entirely normal. I am not really into spooky books as a rule, but this is just so well written and Kobna's voice just makes it all so reasonable and not screechy or stupid.
Of course Peter Grant, the star, is the top candidate. Nightingale is intriguing as is Molly. Gotta love Beverly Brook and Leslie, too. I like the relationships.
Laughed out loud in places, which I always enjoy. The face falling off thing was creepy but became a normal part of the story.
This is just a really different book, well written and interesting. History of London and surrounds is everywhere. In fact, the original British version is called "The Rivers of London," I think. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's reading just makes the good book better. Don't be put off by the mention of ghosts and river spirits...just dive right in.
Reminescent of the Harry Dresden series, but is original in its story line. The characters are very down to earth. I plan to continue with this series.
This is similar in tone to the Dresden files but is much better written. The characters are strongly written and quite different those of the Dresden files. Also, the novel gives a the reader a nice flavor of present day London. The city itself is the setting and is also an integral part of the plotting and and characters of the novel.
The narrator gets 5 stars. He can mimic almost any type of accent and his voice is as malleable as clay.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.