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
Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.
I had a hard time getting into this one or connecting with any of the characters. I kept going hoping it would get better and then I was too far in to abandon it.
This was in the same genre with The Dresden Files and The Iron Druid Chronicles, but not even in the same ballpark. I may have been thrown off by the narration but I think it was the combination of both that and the story. Others I follow really liked it, so maybe it was just me?
Down the rabbit hole into a ring a fire- the magic of words lifts me higher and higher.
The first time I listened to this book I was simply delighted with it all. The author is creative, entertaining, clever and knowledgeable about a wide diversity of history, cultures and technologies, AND that is all before you get to the wizards. The narrator stands firmly on his own skills. He demonstrates an expressive repertoire that includes men and women from across the British Isles and and parts of Africa, and I really can't imagine anybody else doing this book and its sequels any level of justice. Ben Aaronovitch may have created this world but Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is the genii locorum.
The second time I listened to this story (after listening to the next two volumes in the series) it became apparent to my essentially Midwestern American existence that this audio book is more than a London-based story read by a man with a fascinating and wide-ranging accent. Some books are just universal stories that adjust the words - "flat" instead of "apartment", "nick" instead of "steal", a cuppa, a rollup, the Tube. (I had to look up "skittles" because it was obvious we weren't discussing candy.) But this book goes much deeper.
This story is fundamentally English but not in the way I usually think of Agatha Christie or James Bond. It is based on the layout of the London Rivers and the timeline of the growth of London. It explores the layers of culture on several points of that line, and the people who inhabit those ephemeral intersections. In the modern time the of New Scotland Yard there is a traditional Traveler's camp, attending the Royal Opera House, a precariat Anglo-African homecoming, The answer to the mystery is related to the British Theater and I think that most Americans won't get it before we are led to the path in the middle of the narrative. I was helped in the who-dun-it category because I had recently listened to Christopher Fowler's "Bryant and May and the Memory of Blood" (also very British and interesting). So I knew as soon as they found the baby in the yard which direction this tragedy was headed. It was not a spoiler. The story was at the same time familiar and exotic, mesmerizing to listen to and happily surprising. It was so easy to co-mingle the archaic concepts of "thief takers" and the ritual formality of traditional education with jokes about a "secret branch of the Met", "The Ministry of Magic" and "cunning plans" because of the combined talents of the author and the narrator.
Two things I didn't like:
1) Leslie's voice was whiny. She is supposed to be the hardcore WPC and the interpretation of her voice was not suited to her role, however, due to circumstances in Leslie's life it changes in the upcoming books. The whine was perfect for Beverly!
2) The UK title for this book is "The Rivers of London" and there is a very nice cartoon on the front of the book depicting a map of a river (probably the Thames) rolling through London. It looks like a river of blood, but only when I thought about it a while. The US title is "Midnight Riot" and there is a picture/photo of a dark, brutish figure holding a gun and producing a werelight. The first time I saw the US cover, before I read the book, I thought the light was a flashlight (torch) and decided that the book with the gun-toting big scary guy shining a light in my eyes was too threatening and was going to be violent and not my type. I skipped it for several months but it kept coming up in my Audible recommendations so I finally read the description and reviews. I hate that Americans are stereotyped as gangsters, violent and coarse and that somebody thought that the book would sell better in the US with a gun on the cover. Metropolitan policemen, especially probationary constables, don't even carry guns unless they are in a special unit.The later books US books have the same unfortunate cover design although the titles do not change.
I recommend this book to:
-anybody who enjoys fantasy in a modern setting
-anybody who enjoys books with historical aspects
-anybody who enjoys police procedurals
-anybody who listens to an audio book for the operatic experience (that is what I call listening to the audio book just to hear the sounds, like listening to music)
I hope you enjoy this series as much as I have!
This is a very creative book, bearing constant proof of the author's impressive knowledge of the history and trivia of London and its surroundings. It is also a book that requires quite a dollop of suspended disbelief, being full of vampires, river spirits, revenants, police magicians, etc. The young, mixed culture constable who is learning to deal magic and deal with magical beings, is more interesting to me, in terms of his family dynamics, than his magic, but I will grant you that it is all pretty entertaining stuff.
Narration is excellent and a big plus for this download, , but at times the fast talking, mixed with the author's constant use of initialisms, which are very rarely explained, leads to a sense of failing to glean all that is going on. That can leave me feeling frustrated, to the point where I started looking forward to the book finishing up. Peter Grant is a strong, empathetic, and very likeable character, as are most of the folks in, "Midnight Riot," but I am left not knowing if I will ever try the other two books in the series. At the moment I am not even sure if I will rate this a four or a three, for the reasons mentioned, but I am sure that the things that troubled me will not bother everybody. Maybe just a listing of what all those initialisms mean, after the end of the story, might have salved my annoyance a bit. I know RIB is the Royal Institute of the Blind, but is UCH the University of Cambridge Hospital? These are only two...there are many more, oh so many more. Yes, I am sure it is all part of necessarily quick and clipped cop-speak, but it can rankle.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
In spite of the references through Ben Aaronovitch's series to the greats of British fantasy - Harry Potter, Tolkien, Terry Pratchet, Dr Who, etc. - the Peter Grant books much more strongly favor an American series, The Dresden Files, albeit with a British flavor. I decided to listen to all three of currently available Peter Grant books (a fourth is due out later this year) before writing about them so I would know if I could recommend the whole series since that's nice to know before starting. No doubt in my mind, if you like Dresden, you'll like Peter Grant. Be aware though, in spite of some internet book reviews comparing this series to Harry Potter, it's not at all that type of fantasy series and it is definitely not for children (some sex/some graphic violence).
Midnight Riot has its own unique characters, settings, plots, and magic system so it doesn't come across as derivative, but it has some nice commonalities with Dresden. Harry Dresden was an accomplished wizard when we first met him; Peter Grant does not even know about Wizards when we first meet him, but both men are extremely likable, combine self assurance bordering on arrogance with redeeming self deprecating humor, attract great friends and allies, and equally attract perverse and interesting enemies. Each series also has a very likable police woman to serve as sidekick/cohort/potential romantic interest, each is set in a huge metropolitan area which sets much of the tone of the books, and each is built on short term mysteries solved within each book and overarching plot lines that span the books. Best of all, each series on audio has found a delightful voice to convey the character of the central protagonist perfectly. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith fits Peter Grant hand-in-glove as James Marsters fits Dresden. Like the Dresden Files, the Peter Grant books are are first person narratives so success on audio is very dependent on having that perfect voice and Holdbrook-Smith strikes the right blend of sassy and sweet/smart and awkward to make it easy for the listener to take to Peter right away.
This is not a series where the magical system will overwhelm the listener because we learn about it little by little as Peter is learning it, but in this first book, it seems a bit muddy - not all the dots quite connect. In spite of that, the book is action packed with lots of fun good guys and bad guys both and my interest never flagged. As with any GOOD series, Midnight Riot provides conclusive answers to many questions, leaves open the options to pursue answers for other questions, and ends with a bang. Just the sort of thing to make you go get book 2, Moon Over Soho, and I recommend that you do just that.
One note about the narrator, Kobna Holbrook-Smith - his voice is perfect for Peter Grant and he does pretty good accents for other characters as well. He has a decidedly pronounced London accent, speaks quickly, and there is a fair amount British slang in the book so my American ears had to struggle a bit in the beginning to keep up. I found that I quickly adjusted to the narration and within a couple of hours I had no trouble following and came to really enjoy this narrator.
I'm a technician that does a lot of driving for his job. I use the "windshield" time to listen to audiobooks.
The story isn't bad, and is occasionally funny, but the narrator is either a mouth breather, or is so out of shape that he's almost out of breath the entire book. I think if he had just slowed his reading some and not inhaled/exhaled constantly into the mic, I might have given the book 87 out of 100.
These books are great! I've listened or read all of the Peter Grant series and can't wait for the next book to come out. They have humor, mystery, and magic all rolled up into one and the narrator does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. I would highly recommend this series to anyone particularly fans of Torchwood, Doctor Who, and Sherlock.
Surprisingly good for a first in a series. Compared to Dresden Files with less juvenile humor, but also less personality from the main character. I think he will grow into his role though as the series progresses.
Wonderful vocal performance.
This book had some really, really funny lines. Early on i thought i'd found a great mix of comedy, seriousness and a bit of mysticism. But instead, it went overboard (for me) with the other-wordly stuff, and just kind of lost me. I'm disappointed because, as i said, there were parts i really enjoyed. I'm just not into the fantasy world stuff, so it needs to be in smaller doses for me. Oh well, won't be continuing...
The language was bad, too many F words. The first half of the book was ok but I could not finish the last half. I enjoy paranormal books, but this is just a bad bomb.
I know the description said 'ghosts'....but I didn't expect spirits and magic etc to take over the book. I was so enthralled by the author's use of words and the reader's enthusiasm in reading the book--I thought I could make it through to the end--but not so. Plot was not for me....Oh so sorry--but would love it if this author actually wrote a more realistic book.
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