Rivers of London: Rivers of London Review

Rivers of London: Rivers of London (Book 1)

by Ben Aaronovitch

” ‘I used to be a probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service, and to everyone else as the Filth…’

Meet PC Peter Grant. He will show you his city. But it’s not the capital that you all see as you make your way from tube to bus, from Elephant to Castle. It’s a city that under its dark surface is packed full of crime. And of magic. A city that you never suspected…

Grant’s story starts when he tries to take a witness statement from a man who was already dead. And takes him down a twisting, turning centuries’ old mystery that reckons to set modern London of fire…”

I have seen Rivers of London since it got published in 2011, and for five years I have wanted to read it. Matt bought it for me for Christmas and I finally got round to reading it. I got captured by it because of the cover, and I know they say never judge a book by its cover, but in this case I was right to. I did not know anything else about it, but I am glad I did not.

Rivers of London is about PC Peter Grant as he finishes his probationary period and gets his placement, during this time there is a murder and he sees a ghost who gives him a witness statement. After this he finds out about the magic world that is hiding in plain sight in London, he has to try to deal with this, agree terms between warring factions of the River Thames and solve the multiple murders that are occurring.

I loved the parts with the factions of the River Thames, the way they were personified as river nymphs or genii locorum. Headed up by Mama Thames and Father Thames, the way that the two factions differed and the way that they interacted with each other. Also, the fact that the book is written in first person narrative from the perspective of PC Peter Grant, which is fabulous especially in this fantastic twist between crime and fantasy, modern and Victorian. I love the way that Rivers of London is written and the way the it just flows even though it feels like it should not fit together when you say it out loud but when you read it, it just works. 

I had several favourite characters, I cannot decide between them in this book; Peter Grant, Lesley May and Beverly Brook. Lesser characters who were growing on me and I would like to know more about were Oxley and Isis. All the characters felt so real that it helped immerse you straight into Rivers of London, and the relationships bloomed naturally.

Rivers of London was a total page-turner! I did not want to put it down, managed it in 3 days with the fact I had work. It kept me guessing all the way to the end of what was going to happen, especially as there were two main story-lines running through the book. Rivers of London made me tense, happy and sad in all the right places, I did not cry, I may have laughed but I cannot remember, I was going through all the emotions.

Rivers of London does have a cliff-hanger, this is because we leave Peter Grant at the end of the case, but there are another four published books (Moon over Soho, Whispers Under Ground, Broken Homes and Foxglove Summer) and book six (The Hanging Tree) is being published later this year.

The way I described the book while reading it was a crime novel with a fantasy twist. I personally cannot find any fault with it and would recommend it to anyone. 5 out of 5.

Rivers of London





  • Characters
  • Storyline
  • First Person Narrative

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