One of my goals this year is to read more for pleasure. This month I have really enjoyed Rivers of London by Ben Arronovitch.
I probably wouldn’t have picked it up but for the bookshop’s ‘We recommend…’ card stuck to the shelf in front of it. The book then languished on my to read pile for months but once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down.
Peter Grant, a newly qualified PC in the Met, inadvertently takes a witness statement from a ghost. In the following investigation he is transferred to little known police unit ESC9 which investigates magical crimes and unsanctioned wizards and becomes an apprentice to Inspector Nightingale, “the last wizard in England.” He becomes immersed in a world of vengeful spirits, werewolves, river gods and nymphs which is woven through the fabric of modern London.
Rivers of London brings a refreshing approach to the magical genre. The book combines magic, science and modern police procedures with detailed descriptions of London streets and Londoners themselves. I particularly enjoyed the dry humour and comic asides of the narrator Peter, a mixed-race Londoner himself.
When I finished the book I felt that there were some parts of the story that seemed random and didn’t make sense. As it turns out all was made clear in the second book of the series.
I must also mention the beautiful map illustration on the cover of the British edition taken from Stephen Walter’s The Island London Series. You can find more of his work here.