Ben Aaronovitch: Rivers of London

I bet every Harry Potter fan has heard of this book. A mysterious story about a young policeman, discovering his magical potential grabs attention of every lover of magic in books. Personally, I heard about the book a year or two ago, when Jerry texted me saying I should read it, because I’ll love it. I thought so. However, the reality is a little bit different. Before I’ll share my opinion on the book with you, my lovely readers, let me tell you what is it about. (Don’t you worry, no spoilers included.)

The story starts in January, on a cold Tuesday night. A young policeman called Peter Grant, who has just joined the London police, assists on a crime scene of a terrible murder. Soon after the murder, he meets a very interesting creature and with some help of his lovely friend and colleague Lesley, he also discovers his special abilities – he becomes a wizard. Along with his magical master Mr. Nightingale, not only that he goes after the murderer, but he also has another problem he needs to solve, because every river of London has its own “god” and these mythical creatures are starting to argue about their lands and the borders between them, which may cause a disastrous catastrophe for the whole city. Peter and Nightingale have a difficult task ahead of them and not everything may be so fun as it seems.

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An absolutely awesome fandraw of Peter and Nightingale by irenydraws

Reading this shortage of storyline had made me really excited, when I was about to buy the book. I thought that it was a great idea and that I will actually go through similar love story as I went through with my beloved Harry Potter. At some point, it has happened, but I still think that the feeling of disappointment forms a major part of my opinion. To be clear: I did love the idea. I think that Peter Grant is an nontraditional and challenging character and I adore his behaviour and sense of humour. I also loved Lesley and Mr. Nightingale and Toby the dog – not even talking about the gods and goddesses of London. All of the characters were well written and believable. However, I didn’t like the way the story was told.

I understand that Rivers of London is the first book of a series of six, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be more exciting that this book is in reality. As the author has to set all of the characters, the places, the magical world itself and yet make a good plot and combine everything together, it is definitely a tough job. However, it’s not impossible to do it well and unfortunately, this book did not make it. I feel like the way of telling the story is chaotic and very bipolar. By bipolar I mean that there are dramatic changes between the boring and too detailed descriptions that you don’t even want to read and very thrilling and brilliant parts that I think are ones of the best I’ve ever read. So it’s like from 0 to 100 and back again and again.

Another thing that annoyed me all the way through was how Peter coped up with being a magician. I reckon that if someone finds out he can do magic, he should be shocked or confused or thrilled or just showing some emotions. Peter did not really do that, I felt like he wasn’t even surprised by that. I mean… if I found out I’m a magician, I’d freak out for a week and don’t do anything else than try Lumos and Nox again and again, until I get bored and start using Accio.

Overall, I’d give the book solid 3 out of 5. The story was brilliant as well as the characters and their interactions, but it could have been written a little bit better. However, I’m not giving up with this book series and I’ll definitely check out the second book, called Moon over Soho, because I always do give second chances – no matter who/what to.

Thank you for reading through. What is your opinion on the book? Have you read it? Let me know!

Have a lovely day
Ronnie xxx

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