Thursday, September 25, 2014

REVIEW: Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch

Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1)Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Original Publication Year: 2011
U.K. Title: Rivers of London
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy
Series: Peter Grant #1
Awards: None
Format: Audio (from Audible)
Narrated By: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

I think with this very awesome novel, I may have to stop whining about being disappointed by Urban Fantasy. It’s the most recent in a string of Urban Fantasies I have really enjoyed (The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, The Kate Daniels Series Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews) and which surprised me with a unique approach and an irresistible (to me) good-naturedly sarcastic humor.

Peter Grant is a young London cop just out of his training and waiting to learn to which department in the London Police he will be assigned. He’s hoping for the murder squad or some other glamorous assignment but then he discovers quite by chance, that he can see and talk to ghosts. He’s taken under the wing of Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale, the police department’s only wizard and begins to investigate one of the strangest cases of his life while also learning the fine art of diplomacy when dealing with river deities.

I really really loved Peter. When we meet him he is accused of being a lousy cop because he’s too easily distracted. Which is somewhat true – he is easily distracted because he’s just incredibly curious about everything. However, he’s not a nerd or super intellectual – he’s just smart, and scientifically minded and in many ways a very typical young man who wants to be a cop. I have a pretty big character crush on him despite his youth! His mentor Nightingale is also intriguing though we don’t get to know him as well. He’s old fashioned and formal, probably because he’s much older than he looks and he’s a nice foil for Peter while also promising to become even more interesting in his own right in future books. The characters have strong voices.

And Peter is hilariously funny. To wit (ha ha):
“I gave the prescribed Metropolitan Police "first greeting". "Oi!" I said "What do you think you're doing?”

“Carved above the lintel were the words SCIENTIA POTESTAS EST. Science points east, I wondered? Science is portentous, yes? Science protests too much. Scientific potatoes rule. Had I stumbled on the lair of dangerous plant geneticists?”

“Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the "London once-over" - a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport - like BASE jumping or crocodile wrestling.”
“If you ask any police officer what the worst part of the job is, they will always say breaking bad news to relatives, but this is not the truth. The worst part is staying in the room after you've broken the news, so that you're forced to be there when someone's life disintegrates around them. Some people say it doesn't bother them - such people are not to be trusted.”
I do have some minor gripes. The story is a really fun paranormal mystery/ thriller but things did, at times, seem a little all over the place. There’s this business with the river deities which has little to do with the core mystery so it was at times distracting but it helped establish the world Peter has entered into with Nightingale. It also helps evoke a very believable and loveable alternative London. And, i the end, everything ties up very neatly so it's not really much of a gripe. I also think there was a major continuity/editing error regarding Peter’s cell phone but I am willing to chalk that up to me losing focus for a moment with the audio or something since I’ve not seen it mentioned elsewhere.

I also really enjoyed the narrator for the book. He brought Peter’s first person narration of the book to life and did a nice job with the humor.

Final Verdict: SO much fun that I now must face the fact that I actually do like Urban Fantasy. Loved it and will definitely be continuing on in the series.

And if you’d like to learn more about the book in rap format you can also do that:

Any Urban Fantasy fans out there?  What are your favorites? What's the most unique UF you've read?

No comments:

Post a Comment