“F*** me, I can do magic.” // Review of Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Title: Rivers of London (Peter Grant #1)
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Genre: crime fiction/urban fantasy
Date Read:
06/05/2016 – 11/05/2016
Rating: ★★


riversoflondoncoverI remember getting this book from the library not long after it was published in 2011, but the fact that I couldn’t remember many details at all made me think that I had DNFed it. However, going by my GoodReads status updates, I did get all the way to the end, but I only gave it two stars. I thought that maybe I should give it another chance to impress me, but sadly, I ended up feeling the same way again.

When Constable Peter Grant meets a ghost while supervising a crime scene, it ends up leading him into a world he never imagined. The string of murders his team are investigating are revealed to have a supernatural bent, and before long, Peter is taken on as an apprentice to a wizard, trying to get his head around Latin while also meeting the Gods of the London rivers, among other events.

One of my main issues with this book was Peter, and the way he was written. Some will argue with me that he’s just a typical hot-blooded male, but it gets not only tiresome but a bit gross when nearly every time he lays eyes on a woman (whether it’s one he knows or not), we got descriptions of her perky breasts, or the hardness of her nipples, or how he’d really like to do certain things to her. The book is in first person, which I am picky about anyway, but when I’ve got a character spouting things like this, it bugs me. If it hadn’t been for that, I might have liked him okay, but I think I would have found his character a bit flat anyway. I thought the narration was a bit similar to Mark Watney’s in The Martian, i.e. fun and snarky at first, but then forever fun and snarky, to the point where it’s just annoying and boring (I know, I know, I’m a crazy weirdo for not liking the Martian).

The plot as a whole was not terribly exciting until maybe the last fifty pages or so. I had trouble keeping track with all the players in the murder investigation, not to mention the subplot that didn’t really have a lot to do with anything, other than to introduce some side characters. Some of the world-building to do with magic was interesting, particularly to do with the history of magic and also Peter’s lessons, but I felt the procedural aspect of the book outweighed the magical aspects by far, which was disappointing, given that it was supposed to be a supernatural crime!

As you have probably concluded by now, I’m not going to continue with the series. While its premise promises all my favourite things, the execution just didn’t do it for me.


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