My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to - and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly valuable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. Now I'm a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden... and there's something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair. The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it's falling to me to bring order out of chaos - or die trying.
©2011 Ben Aaronovitch (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited
Entertaining, British, DWJish
In tone, no, but many of the concepts in this story reminded me of Diana Wynne Jones. The details are just a touch too bloody for me to give this a five, but that probably says more about me than about the book. I did enjoy the story a lot, and have bought the sequel. I give full marks to the narrator who goes with apparent ease between Peter's accent (which sounds like the Jasmine Allen Estaters from "The Bill" to me), Dr Walid's Scottish and Nightingale's uppercrust Brit. He also makes a lovely job of the other accents Nigerian and whatever Oxley is... Irish? As far as I can tell,* he's pitch perfect. *I'm Australian, so my knowledge of accents isn't 100%.
Nicely tall and intelligently open-minded
Surely everyone waits for the twist in the story and hopes to get that fuzzy warm feeling of satisfaction. I was a slight bit disappointed with the unfolding of that twist but that's only my opinion.
A little bit of magic, a bit of history, a few drops of gore, a pinch of over-the-top and a few scratches of British humour, all in all I had fun listening to this book.
I've added the follow-up book to my wish-list already.
I congratulate Mr Holdbrook-Smith on his excellent performance, it was a pleasure listening to him. I especially loved Mama Thames.
I liked how the world of magic and inner London policing were very realistically entwined, and how Harry Potter films still exist.
The narrator is stunning, equally at home with English and Scottish accents from every social milieu and is one of very few male narrators I have come across who could do a believable female chav!
I listened to this book and its two sequels on a road trip through headphones and my family were amused by my frequent guffaws and snorts of delight.
This is a great series with gritty realism in its descriptions of inner city policing, while successfully introducing a believable fantasy worls, apparently on our very doorsteps! Highly recommended.
Hi I am a geologist that now lives in South Australia I work in remote locations and find audiobooks essential for my sanity.
I came across this author and his work by accident,but now I have downloaded all three of the books of which this is the first. Brilliant combination of wit, history and fantasy concerning a subculture of magic underneath that of modern London. the characters from Nightingale through Peter Grant and the ever ominous Molly are wonderfully drawn. Equally crucially is the narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith whose narration gives depth and texture to the work. It is an excellent work of imagination suspend critical analysis and nitpicking and I am sure you will enjoy the work(s).
Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.
This book is a delight from start to finish (and it didn't take long to finish - I consumed the whole thing in two compulsion-driven days).
The book is deeply rooted in contemporary, multicultural, London, with a strong sense of place and of history that is polished and intensified through the lens of the tongue-in-cheek political correctness of the Metropolitan Police, and garlanded with figures from London myth who are at once as modern and as ancient as the city itself.
Wit is sprinkled like hotsauce throughout this books with references to contemporary fiction (Black Adder, Twilight, Harry Potter, Coronation Street), colourful similies, clever word play and a well-developed sense of the absurdity of daily life.
The mixed race background of the main character is used to draw out the multi-cultural nature of London and its long history of taking people from around the world and making them into Londoners within one generation.
The plot is driven by the main character's insatiable curiosity to know how things work (I'm easily distracted) and his need to do whatever is necessary to preserve the Queen's Peace (we're the ones who run towards the screams) and powered by magic and evil.
The book lays a glamour on a place I know well and turns it into somewhere I would like to know better.
It is, at heart, an optimistic, civilized, book, filled with chaos and compromise and unspoken agreements and recognition of subtle affiliations. Our hero does the right thing by being himself, taking care of his friends, showing pride but being respectful and muddling through until the job is done. I found the whole thing wonderfully British, or at least, how I would like being British to be.
I've already downloaded the next two in the series.
I loved this book! This is a clever and fast-paced mix of London Police and magic. Great characters and story. The reader does an amazing job of all the different voices and accents. I could hardly bear to pause the book and go into work! Well worth buying.
I don't really know if this qualifies as 'urban fantasy' as such. It is a fantasy in an urban setting, but the tone is light and engaging, not dark and mysterious. I prefer light and engaging, and this delivers. I love the main character protagonist and most of the minor or secondary characters too. I found this funny, smart, imaginative and really interesting.
the voice narration is good too. Really, a winner and strongly recommended.
This is my favourite so far.
Peter Grant of course but the description of Father Thames was just fantastic.
Although not what I would normally expect from a fantasy novel in general, this book is a brilliant and deliciously different fantasy-folly. It introduces us to a young London copper who discovers he has magical powers. Shortly after this, the reader realises that he is by no means alone. The London police force is evidently riddled with wizards, and it’s just as well. They have a lot to contend with. London has become a boiling turmoil of incredible violence and bloodshed (what’s new?). From visiting the spirits of the Thames, we follow the quick eradication of a few errant vampires, discover a few lost rivers barely heard of since the medieval, and a whole lot more. The plot weaves, interweaves and generally confuses us with continuous unexpected twists and turns. This is intensely clever and, as far as my past reading is concerned, unique.
Above all, the humour is completely adorable. I confess that there were moments when the whimsy wais so unrelenting that I needed a rest to put my brain back into focus – but I am not complaining. I soon missed my fix and returned to the magical city.
The plot itself is actually nonsense but that doesn’t matter either. Though goodness knows if anyone not accustomed to life, habits, slang and the basic language of modern Londoners would actually understand half of it.
And so to Londoners and anyone else with a spirit of literary adventure, I strongly recommend this as a few days of complete enjoyment, endless smiles and frequent laughs out loud. Even the constant and outstanding brutality remains good humoured. Now – that’s clever!
I bought the audio edition and having listened to a great stream of other audio books, this is most definitely the first one where I have fallen in love with the narrator! Brilliantly read with just the right touches, accents and inferences. A perfect narration and beautifully apt for the book itself.
Quite a joy in all aspects.
Yes, see my review. Pure unchallenging entertainment
Listen to this now! Meet Peter Grant and modern London have a hidden side
the plot is clear enough, but the relationships between the main players makes this feel cohesive
Kobna Holbrook-Smith is a genius. I have sought out other books where he is the narrator. Great range and humour
I purposely limited my reading, didn't want to get to the end
Love the whole series
"Rivers of London"
Fantastic listen - the best new author I have come across in a long time. I just wish you would hurry up and put his next book on audio - I couldn't wait so bought and read the hardback version - and that he will keep writing more of them. Fascinating for his detailed account of modern and historical London, blended with lighthearted spookiness and magic, and a convincing idea of how the Met would deal with magic, not only from the villains, but with the wizard in their ranks.
"THATS THE WAY TO DO IT !!"
One of those rare examples of something that lives up to the hype , Im not going to spoil it but this book is a fantastic read from start to finish . I can imagine a T.V series in the offing eventually ( ironically the lead role the Narrator would be perfect for ) ......
Plenty of humour and sarcasm , but serious when it needs to be.
The `Villain` was also perfectly thought out .
I urge anyone to take a plunge and buy this ......
I listened to the first few sentences of this book and nearly turned it off, but so glad I did not! A fantasy/crime/historical novel, I was never bored and amazed at the level of research the author has put into this book. At no time did I have to cringe and reach for the off switch because something was just too ridiculous to believe. THe reader was also very good- after the first 5 minutes of getting used to his reading style. In the end, it was obvious he was the right choice for the job, narrating it easily and using excellent accents and voices in just the right places. All in all, a very enjoyable listen!
from the very beginning right to the end I was hooked. Its funny and engaging and I really care about the characters. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is perfect. Looking forward to getting all three.
"Fantasy thriller with attitude !"
A fantasy thriller with bags of attitude, it?s very funny, imaginative and absorbing ? almost addictive. Totally refreshing in its detail, perspective and writing style. The story line of a believable supernatural underworld in London is based on a mixture of magic, police procedurals and human relationships. This looks like a start to a very promising series, I really am looking forward to the next book.
"It started so well. I enjoyed the end BUT..."
I took a punt on this and the reviews made me believe it was going to be fantastic. The opening was and I thought I was in for a real treat. Sadly it started to fall a part a bit with some rather lame "magic" training and all seemed a little pointless.
The main story is actually rather good and clever so I am not sorry I read/listened to this. But I don't think I will read any more in the trilogy.
"The Best 'Read' I've Heard For A Long Time"
Having listened to the first few minutes of this book I was a bit put off by Kobna's reading style but stayed with it and boy, how glad I am that I did! His narration is absolutley perfect and he carries you along with this tale as if it's his own. The story is quirky, imaginative, very funny and visual. I loved the mix of police protocol with whimsical wizardry, brilliant.
Have to review this, never felt the need before, but this has to be one of the most enjoyable books I have listened to in eons! Was a little put off at first, always wary of the 'bandwagon jumpers' with latest fantasy novels, can be a bit boring, but this was just fantastic. Gritty, great thriller plot and superbly narrated. If you are fan of any of the genres, be it fantasy, sci-fi, mystery or thriller, I don't think you will be dissapointed. Please hurry up and put next book on audible!
"Not my cup of tea (I'm not even sure that was tea)"
I realize I'm in the minority here, but this book isn’t working for me. At first I thought it was the reader as, like others, I was at first put off by his reading style, but later I learned to accept it or at least ignore it. Then I came to a scene set inside a cinema and the sheer amount of inane details in the straight up banal description finally made me delete the book (incidentally, the cinema scene ends with “that’s three hours of my life I’ll never get back”). It’s not that the reader pauses frequently to catch his breath, sigh or have a drink of water off-mic, it’s the text. The text is awful. The British comedian Stewart Lee once mocked Dan Brown as a man who writes sentences such as “The famous man looked at the red cup”, had the author of Rivers of London written the same sentence, it would probably have been "applying my trained coppers eye behind my newly purchased wayfarer sunglasses, which I purchased online, from sunglasshut for 80 hard-earned British Pound Sterling, using a station-anchored personal computer terminal in the lobby of the Cromwell police station, I fixed my gaze upon the man, five-foot-seven in height and with a weight above the average Londoner, this man, known for his work of historical fiction of a fantastic or supernatural bent, and observed how he, wearing a brown leather coat one or two sizes too small for a man of his heft, suspiciously eyed the red goblet in an unusual manner only recognised by a copper."
My review may seem harsh in the light of the other reviews, proving that many people do enjoy the book, it’s just that I didn’t. The book seems completely unedited. Thank God for audible’s return policy.
I bought this book on a whim, liking the sound of the blurb describing it. I wasn't sure what I'd get, but I loved it.
It is very silly, in an adult kind of way; think Dr Who crossed with Harry Potter, but written for grown-ups and with a lot of one-liners. I would've rated it as 5*, but for the narrator. He is very breathy, which was bad enough, but his timing was also terrible in places.
If you're expecting a serious detective story, you'll be sorely disappointed; go into it expecting to be entertained in a light, unusual way with inexplicable characters and a rather clever plot, and you'll love it.
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