Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch



cover- ummmm, I like the UK cover - if you see it up close, it's a map of London, with waterways and streets, etc. You can't really judge this book by the cover, though. By the cover, it could be any type of book; featuring London and water, maybe? I like it because it's different. Now the U.S. cover.....I don't like it. At all. It's too...I don't really know why I don't like it, I just don't. In fact, I almost bought this book quite a few times, and ended up putting it down, probably because of the cover. But then I received this gift of the UK version and....

OMG, I enjoyed this book SOOOOO much. I enjoyed the characters, the character's voice (first person), the plot, the self-deprecating humor, the snarks about London and British people in general (by the author from Britain, no less - good humor) and I enjoyed the twists and turns this novel took. Rivers of London is an all 'round enjoyable read. I started it and finished it within two days (with the usual grandchildren and sleep breaks) Hell, even Aaronovitch's bio is funny and interesting even though according to him he "had the kind of dull childhood that drives a person to drink, radical politics or science fiction". How can you not enjoy writing from a person who writes this about himself?

Peter Grant is a constable in London's police force, and on one of his last nights as a probationary constable, he's guarding a murder site when a corporeally challenged person approaches him with information about the murder. Information that is validated later with video from the street cameras. He also meets an interesting man in passing that turns out to be a detective, one who asks for him specifically to work with. This begins a new and challenging chapter in Peter's life.

One of the other things I like about Peter's character - besides his humor and the narrative voice, is that he is a mixed race character. In the novel, he not only notes all the different races he's taken for, but there are lot's of interesting tidbits about growing up with an immigrant African mother - and all that entails. Some of that reminded me of growing up with my own immigrant mom and all that entailed. It's special - nothing quite like it. Unlike other books where the character is of mixed race, mentioned at the beginning of the book and practically no where else, with Peter Grant's character you get lots of little tidbits througout the book, whether it's small mentions of him mom, her temper, or when to walk away from an African woman who is angry or whether it's the differing ways that he himself is treated - the whole reading experience was interesting and gave me a few chuckles. Some of it I related to, and some of it probably only another part African, part other race person can relate to.

The story itself kept me engaged, with the twists and turns. Not only was Peter trying to help solve some at first unrelated murders, but he is also learning to use magic with his new detective supervisor. And there's this live-in housekeeper who never, ever talks...And then there's this dog...and then there's his friend...

The dialogue - the dialogue was great. Each character sounded like a real person. I love when all the characters do NOT sound like each other (like every single actor on Gray's Anatomy all talk in the same voice - in the same voice. Repeating the same last few words. The last few words. For emphasis. To emphasize that they're trying to HAMMER INTO YOUR the same tone, the same rhythym {I love the way rhythym is spelled, by the way}, the SAME rhythym. Have you ever really LISTENED to the characters speak in Gray's Anatomy? Have you HEARD them speak?) I might have went off a little there, just a little. A little bit. LOL.

Back to the review. The book was good. You should read it, whether you get the UK cover with the map on it, or the boring U.S. cover - it's the inside of the book that counts. Now I'm going to order the sequel with the UK cover, 'cause it's way better than the U.S. cover, again. Way better. It's BETTER. Ben Aaronovitch has also written screenplays (probably why he's good at dialogue) for shows like DOCTOR WHO. sigh.

Thanks, McLeod - for giving me this book - I loved it. I loved it.

No comments:

Post a Comment