I finally finished Rivers of London, the book I bought in Vienna! It’s my first day in Italy and I read the last thirty pages chilling by the pool after four hours of hiking. I have a lot of thoughts, very positive and only tiny negative ones – so here’s my review!
It’s only been a year working as a Constable in London when young Peter Grant takes a witness statement from a ghost. After a peculiar murder and an even more suspicious statement, Peter is sucked into London’s world of magic. Transferred to the magic department of London’s police, he takes on the job of apprentice, his master Thomas Nightingale teaching him to be a wizard. Together they take on the murder and soon find themselves in a huge homicide investigation full of vampires, river spirits and ghosts…
Genre: Crime/Mystery; Fantasy
Publication Date: January 10th 2011
The main two reasons I bought this book were crime, and the crime story taking part in London. And these two aspects didn’t disappoint in the least.
The plot was fantastic: the murder was complex, many subjects and it was never boring. The only small issue I have is that the last 100 pages were a bit confusing, there wasn’t enough explanation and I was a bit lost in the end. I would have wished for one finale wrap-up of the case and it involved a lot of magical creatures and a complex magic system and I felt a bit left behind sometimes, just a nice explanation of the murderer and his intentions and how they caught him. Other than that, fantastic and gripping plot.
I was kind of surprised because I wasn’t prepared to face this much fantasy: I thought the main focus would be on the crime, and then maybe a small magical component, but there was a lot of magic going on: we learn about Mother Thames (goddess of the river), how Peter studies magic, how the city of London came to be and about ghosts, spirits and every other magical creature that has ever walked the earth. I had no problem with that, I wasn’t prepared, that’s all.
The characters were a mix: I loved the protagonist, Peter Grant. At first I was quite hesitant because this book isn’t YA and it’s told from a grown man’s perspective, but since Peter is only in his twenties, I could still relate to him as the main character. I loved his sense of humor, very British. Nightingale was the very definition of a British gentleman and so he was my favorite: reserved, yet funny and very stylish. Lesley, the Constable Peter has a crush on could have been portrayed a bit more because I never really got a sense of her personality traits. His crush on her was always mentioned, yet never why. Another thing I reckoned was that I had no clue how any of the characters look – none of their physique was described, which struck me as kind of weird.
The atmosphere was the best part: London descriptions on every page. If you’re a London lover like me, this is the book for you. Street names, building descriptions, history lessons and even Harry Potter mentions. Moreover, I loved the writing incorporated to portray this magical London: very poetic, detailed and all in all, beautifully written.
Recommendable: for everyone who’s ever fancied to know what magical, mystery London feels like!
Besides the little confusing ending, a great mystery/crime story in London with a big fantasy part! I will definitely continue reading this series because I can’t wait to know how Peter will learn magic from Nightingale and how what magical murders they will face together!