So, having read London Falling I marked it read on Goodreads and checked out some of the reviews. That lead me to comparisons with this book. Now I’d been aware of this book as it had had quite a lot of promotion. When I checked on Amazon I discovered that there were now three books in the same series and that Rivers of London was available for the princely sum of £1.99.
Rivers of London begins with Peter Grant still a probationary officer in the Met, seeing a ghost and shortly after witnessing a murder. As he becomes involved in the case he meets the mysterious Inspector Nightingale and soon joins his very special unit within the force, both as a fully-fledged Detective Constable as well as a trainee wizard.
I loved this book. It was light and fun and the main character has a snappy line in comic narration that makes it easy to read. The plot soon becomes quite involved and we’re introduced to a whole host of characters some of whom are not-quite human. There’s a lot in here about London, the history and geography of London and even though it’s clearly very well researched it doesn’t come over as dry or lecturing but is interspersed into the story quite naturally. I think the novel will work well even if you don’t know London but I’ll admit trying to figure out if I’d had a meal with Melissa in a particular restaurant that makes a brief appearance in a chase scene (and so on) was fun.
Obviously I came to this from Paul Cornell’s London Falling so a word about the comparison. Clearly there’s no issue between the writers themselves – they’re both Dr Who writers and Aaronovitch has endorsed Cornell’s book with a quote on the cover. They are also very different in tone and style. Despite some striking similarities in a high-level concept way – they both feature London heavily and concern cops that are investigating supernatural crimes – they are clearly very different and no-one would mistake either for the other after having read even a couple of pages. And I could write you a similarly high-level description of a serial killer book that would match several dozen books and no-one thinks that an issue.
What I will say is that I’m glad that I read Cornell’s first because whilst I like them both very much I think I might have been impatient with his more intense style if I’d read the light, breezy PC Grant book first. That said I’m eagerly awaiting the follow-up to London Falling which I believe is finished and winding its way through the cogs of the publishing process. It also has to be said that after reading a few chapters of Rivers of London I picked up the two sequels and will soon be in the position of eagerly awaiting book 4.
9/10 – it really is like a grown-up Harry Potter, but if anything more fun.