Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Rivers of London

Peter Grant is contemplating his future career in the Metropolitan Police when he sees a ghost. This ghost happens to also be a material witness in a beheading and leads Peter into poking around where he shouldn’t with his partner Lesley (who is destined for greater things than him). Soon Peter discovers there’s a lot more to London than meets the eye.

Rivers of London started off on the right foot. Despite it being urban fantasy, I found the police aspects refreshingly realistic. So often, crime fiction glamorises policing but this is quite matter of fact; Peter is looking at a career in administration. There’s some great dry humour amongst the pages too. The London setting is crucial to the plot; from the personification of the rivers to the history behind the supernatural killings. As Peter walks the streets he takes a huge interest in the things that happened, perhaps too much as he has often spent time reading a historical plaque instead of helping his colleagues in trouble.

It surprised me quite how violent the stories behind Punch and Judy were. I always knew he was a creepy little puppet and somewhere in my head I knew he hit his wife. But the story used here it really quite extreme. Maybe we should off Punch up next time anyone criticises children’s entertainment of today (OK I don’t think the puppet show was originally intended for children).

However it lost its way a bit after the introduction of Punch. The world building of an unseen London spawned lots of interesting threads that didn’t really go anywhere. Yes, it’s the start of a series and I do hope they get picked back up again in later books, but it felt a little like the Punch storyline was getting in the way of things I wanted to know more about. It all snowballed into near farce; perhaps that was the point, Punch is rather farcical after all.

I did enjoy the writing and am definitely going to give Moon Over Soho a try.

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Also reviewed @ Nocturnal Book Reviews | No More Grumpy Bookseller | BookThing! | Follow the Thread

7 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite series, I've read all of the installments so far and can't wait until the next comes out. I love how he incorporates sort of odd and lesser known history into the story.

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    1. I have a feeling the series will improve from what I've heard. There was a lot to like, just lost its way a bit. Will have a break and try Moon Over Soho later in the year.

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    2. I just heard there's going to be a tv show! I can't wait!

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  2. I stumbled across this book title in a hop and am intrigued. i hear that it's a trilogy so maybe it does get better, though I'm usually a believer that if the first one is really good already, the others can only get better. not sure if works the other way around :)

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    1. I think there are a lot of series that take a while to get going. I liked this book, it just wasn't amazing but there is enough potential for me to want to read more.

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  3. I'm really glad you enjoyed the dry humor in the book, Ellie! I admit this is major draw for me too :)) I do think that the series grow on you when you start to get to know the characters more.

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  4. I felt the same - I had rather a hard time concentrating on it around a third in. Something about the pacing of it got to me, as if I wanted everything to conclude sooner.

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