Rivers of London (Peter Grant #1) ★★★☆ ½

rivers (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Rivers of London
Series: Peter Grant #1
Author: Ben Aaronovich
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 396
Format: Digital Edition




Peter Grant is a constable in good ol’ Merry England. Of course, he’s not actually a very good constable. In fact,he’s being shuffled over to the section that deals with all that nasty paperwork stuff, because there, he’ll be “making a contribution”.

Until the night that he sees a ghost while guarding a murder scene.

He then is taken as the apprentice to the apparantly sole magical cop and starts hunting down the killer from the murder scene. With the help of the ghost, Father Thames and Mother Thames (who are having a turf war at the moment), his friend who he wants to be more than a friend and his “Master”.

Peter Grant solves the case, but not without several instances of random people beating each other to death with a 4foot club and then having their faces fall off. Oh,and don’t forget the riot filled with all the cultured people from the opera, who go out for a night of looting, vandalism and a little murder on the side.

Along with all this, it is up to Peter, as part of his apprenticeship, to solve the problem of the Thames’.

That’s asking a bit much from a loser like Peter who can’t concentrate on one thing for more than 10minutes.


My Thoughts:

I read the Gollancz edition of this book, which is the proper English release. I kind of wish I had read the American release entitled Midnight Riot. One, I think that Midnight Riot is much more of an apt title for this book’s specific villain and two, I would hope that some of the slang would be changed to make actual sense to someone who doesn’t live in downtown London. It might have been English, but it wasn’t the Queen’s English, that is for sure.

And that was about my only complaint.

I don’t enjoy Urban Fantasy for the most part, not even Harry Dresden. But every once in a while a book or series will transcend the inherent weakness in this sub-genre, the cliched banality, the soap opera level pointless dramatics, the “makes no sense whatsoever” so called romance and impress me. So I tend to be rather hard on the poor book when it comes from “that side of the tracks”. Oh, all those “quotes”? Another thing I hate about UF.

But this isn’t a rant about me hating on UF. It is a review of a book that I rather enjoyed when I wasn’t sure I was going to or not.

There was a lot more dry humor than I was expecting. For about the first 75% anyway. I enjoyed the style of humor and never found it boring or over the top. Then things got serious and the humor went away. I missed that. The magic system wasn’t explained, but since I’m not a huge “give me the details” kind of guy when it comes to spaceships or magic, I was pretty ok with that. I know some people thrive on “world building” like that though, so be aware.

The Rivers of London bit was well done too. Every river having its own little godling? And it all being a family thing? Top notch. We’ll see how, or if, it plays into the series in a bigger way or not. But considering that one of the nyads has a thing for old Petey and he’s not saying no, and his friend/dream lover that will never be, is potentially out of the picture and that Peter pissed off one of the older nyads, well, there is just too much potential story there to let it all go to waste.

Glad I started this and I hope it continues strong. If the series stays as good as this story, I’ll probably be bumping my ratings up to at least a 4star.

★★★☆ ½



30 thoughts on “Rivers of London (Peter Grant #1) ★★★☆ ½

  1. I read Midnight Riot and it did NOT help the slang, FYI. I just went through my 93 highlighted notes and a huge portion of them were phrases and whatnot that confused the hell out of me.

    I’m kind of tickled that you enjoyed this. I have Moon over Soho on my to-read list this month, so it will be fun to get your thoughts relatively quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok, good to know that the slang didn’t change. It was like listening to experts in some esoteric branch of arcana talking to each other. You know what the words mean, but they use the words so differently that I couldn’t even parse the meaning from the context.

      Beyond “pantsed”, “bloody” and “knackered”, I’m lost in modern british slang. And I’m ok with that 😀

      I should be getting to Soho in about 6-7 weeks.

      And when I first read your comment I read it as “I’m kind of TICKED…” and I was wondering why you were annoyed that I’d enjoyed it. Like I’d done something personal to you for enjoying it. Glad I read it over again 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah…I remember reading and wondering if ‘vestige’ was a London thing or a made up magic thing.

        Oh, good, things will be fresh once you get around to it!

        Nah, I’m not mad at ya! LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Many eons ago I was in London to study English. The school was in the East End…

    The first weeks were daunting, but I got the hang of it in the end.

    Let’s see whether I can still do it…When I was about 17, I realised I was a bit of an Hampton and talked out of my Khyber but started learning things about which I was previously ignorant. Somehow, I feel less of a Barclays.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m starting to get soft in my old age. I’m just not as savage with books as I used to be. Of course, it helps that I do a hefty bit of research before adding books anymore 😀


  3. I adore this series. I might be in the minority of US readers in thinking this, but I do prefer the “British charm” of the UK titles and covers and I’m glad in the end they decided to go back to the original covers for the later books. I’m also a fan of UF which is probably I loved this, and no other UF author can make me laugh out loud quite like Aaronovitch. I feel the series gets better and more dramatic over time too, hopefully you’ll continue to enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the UK cover better too. I just can completely understand why they changed the title for this one here in the US.

      Glad to hear you’re still enjoying the series. As that gives me some hope that I won’t end up hating it 🙂


  4. This is one of the series I set my sights on, and hope to be able to read one of these days. Knowing that it had a positive impact on a reader who doesn’t much enjoy UF, further encourages me to try and add it soon to my reading queue. I guess the mention about “dry humor” was the best enticement of them all… 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve actually read this one! And yeah Midnight Riot probably would have been a more apt title (I had no idea that was slang for anything and I’m a Londoner- so *raps knuckles* 😉 ) I did like the humour and am not much fussed about rules either. The only reason why I didn’t rate this higher than 3* was cos my friend recommended this to me as “best thing ever!” and it just wasn’t that for me. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the rest of the series (clearly you have a more moderate perspective 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think it’s a very decent UF series, keeping strong through at least 4 first books – Peter Grant’s countryside experience, Foxglove summer, is missing the crucial ingredient of London, but all in all a good read nonetheless. I haven’t yet read the latest book, The Hanging Tree, and the newest installment is due out in 4 days, so thanks for the reminder! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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