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Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Rivers of London (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Ben Aaronovitch

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,2812532,405 (3.9)541
Title:Rivers of London
Authors:Ben Aaronovitch
Info:Gollancz (2011), Edition: 0, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Read 2014
Tags:Urban Fantasy, British, Wizard

Work details

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (2011)

Recently added byscifichick, rena75, kencyrath, MirkaS, queen_ypolita, private library, tesskrose, Sandwich76
  1. 250
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (riverwillow)
    riverwillow: Both 'Neverwhere' and 'Rivers of London' (US title 'Midnight Riot') evoke a magical fairy tale London which sometimes feels more authentic then any real life guide to the city.
  2. 223
    Storm Front by Jim Butcher (majkia)
    majkia: both involve paranormal mystery and smart-ass dialog.
  3. 72
    A Madness of Angels: Or, the Resurrection of Matthew Swift by Kate Griffin (TheDivineOomba)
    TheDivineOomba: Same Location, similar themes. Both Capture the essence of London.
  4. 72
    The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: It's difficult to explain this recommendation without giving spoilers to one or other of the books. There were certain plot elements to Rivers of London/Midnight Riots which made me think of The Big Over Easy. And both books have a well-developed sense of humour.… (more)
  5. 40
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross (fhprice)
    fhprice: Besides the urban setting and police procedural genre similarities, both have protagonists with a snarky "we're just cogs making witty observations about the machine" voices. Wicked humor.
  6. 40
    The Rook by Daniel O'Malley (Rubbah)
  7. 62
    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both books have a certain dark British humour to them.
  8. 30
    Archer's Goon by Diana Wynne Jones (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: The way that the river spirits are characterized is similar to the characters in Archer's Goon. Same feel/style.
  9. 30
    Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (Mav.Weirdo)
  10. 20
    King Rat by China Miéville (mikewilliams64)
    mikewilliams64: London urban fantasy with malevolent magic in the wings. Sharp contemporary horror from the beginning of Mieville's career
  11. 20
    Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older (rarm)
  12. 10
    No Hero by Jonathan Wood (Rouge2507)
    Rouge2507: Similar: British policeman fights against the supernatural
  13. 10
    The New York Magician by Jacob Zimmerman (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Both books have a similar way of portraying Gods and Powers and both are urban fantasy/mysteries
  14. 10
    Stray Souls by Kate Griffin (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Both are a bit quirky, set in London, and deal with the spirits of things, magic and murder.
  15. 10
    Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman (LongDogMom)
  16. 00
    Bryant & May and the Memory of Blood by Christopher Fowler (hairball)
    hairball: Two books with Punch & Judy-themed murders--must be something in the water in London.
  17. 00
    The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Both series feature British police who deal with supernatural crime and both are more creative and well written than the average urban fantasy
  18. 11
    Never the Bride by Paul Magrs (jonathankws)
  19. 00
    Nightfall by Stephen Leather (agneson9)
    agneson9: features supernatural/paranormal side of London
  20. 01
    Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding (Alliebadger)

(see all 22 recommendations)


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» See also 541 mentions

English (248)  German (5)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (257)
Showing 1-5 of 248 (next | show all)
Funny in exactly the right ways, plus an interesting main character - I don't know why it didn't hold my attention better (I suspect factors external to the book). Still, I'd recommend it to anyone who appreciates a little absurdity mixed into their magical apprenticeship stories (and is okay with a bit of gore - if you find the first page more funny than gross, you've picked the right book). ( )
  akaGingerK | Sep 30, 2018 |
Interesting premise. Favorite part was the personalities of the rivers ( )
  bookczuk | Sep 25, 2018 |
This book was perfectly paced, excellently plotted, with glorious characters and relationships. I have literally zero complaints about this book. I aspire to be the level of chill that Peter and Nightingale are. I love that Aaronovitch did not shy away from making pointed social commentary in a way that fit with the narrative and did not stand out as an authorial rant, but sounded like things Peter would say and think. I adored the relationships between the main characters and the way they blossomed, especially Nightingale and Peter's relationship of fondly exasperated mentor towards precocious apprentice. And to my delight, all of the main protags are genunely likeable. I would be friends with them.

I am 100% ready for book two. ( )
  Ely.sium | Sep 20, 2018 |
Peter Grant has come to the end of his two years as a probationary constable with the Metropolitan Police Service, and is about to get his permanent assignment. He desperately hopes to avoid the Case Progression Unit, i.e., the unit that does the paper work so real cops don't have to. His chances aren't looking good.

Then on what would likely be one of his last shifts as a constable on the street, he guards the scene of a seemingly inexplicable murder, he meets an unexpected and potentially valuable witness: a ghost.

This brings him to the attention of Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who heads up a unit Peter had no idea existed. Specifically, Nightingale heads of the unit that deals with magic, ghosts, the undead, and the genii loci of the surrounding area. Nightingale decides that Peter's ability to see ghosts and sense magical residue makes him a promising apprentice wizard--the first new apprentice in decades.

After some hesitation, Peter decides to seize this chance to escape assignment to the Case Progression Unit. It's not long before he's chasing the malevolent spirit of a dead frustrated actor, attempting to negotiate a peace between a god and goddess of the Thames who are on the brink of war with each other, and learning how the Metropolitan Police Service in the early 21st century deals with a nest of vampires.

And of course, there's the little matter of his lessons in magic, and discovering the tricky aspects of doing magic in the presence of modern technology you'd like to continue using afterwards.

Peter Grant is a thoroughly likable character, who loves his city and who is proud of his police service without being either sloppy or macho about it. He and the London he lives in also reflect the complexity and diversity of the 21st century city, not the 19th century city.


I bought this book. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Fine combination of fantasy, police procedural, humor and history. Can't really say enough nice things about this. Looking forward getting into the rest of series. ( )
  byl_strother | Aug 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 248 (next | show all)
Sometimes There Are Men Who Get It Right This author is proof that men can actually grok the full humanity of le deuxième sexe, and write it into their fictional worlds. without having the female characters come across as either absent, ciphers, stereotypes, or sex-fantasies.

(Rivers of London/Midnight Riot, Moon Over Soho, and Whispers Under Ground) are smart, sharp, fast, witty books with a real sense of place (the place being London, if you hadn’t guessed). They’re told from the point of view of PC Peter Grant, who gets himself mixed up in some deeply Weird Shit in the opening chapters of Rivers of London—and the icing on the cake is that Peter is surrounded by a variety of women who are more competent than he is in any number of ways. And he’s okay with that.

Don’t get me wrong. Peter is still a guy, and occasionally a right arse. But the women in these books are real and human—even when they’re not. Human, that is.
added by feeling.is.first | editTor.com, Liz Bourke (Sep 11, 2012)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Aaronovitch, Benprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dürr, KarlheinzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Domis, BenoîtTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holdbrook-Smith, KobnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knowles, PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mussarra, Joan JosepTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quadrelli, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walter, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youssi, WesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Awards and honors
Yet ah! why should they know their fate?

Since sorrow never comes too late,

And happiness too swiftly flies.

Thought would destroy their paradise.

No more; where ignorance is bliss,

'Tis folly to be wise.

Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College by Thomas Gray
In memory of Colin Ravey, because some people are too large to be contained by just the one universe.
First words
It started at one thirty on a cold Tuesday morning in January when Martin Turner, street performer and, in his own words, apprentice gigolo, tripped over a body in front of the West Portico of St Paul's at Covent Garden.
He sliced it in half to show us the interior. It looked like a diseased cauliflower.
”And this ,” said Dr. Walid, “is your brain on magic.”
I returned to the coach house with a packet of marigold gloves and my Uncle Tito’s Numatic vacuum cleaner. Let me tell you – a thousand watts of suckage makes a big difference
The chip that handled RF conversion was superficially intact, but had suffered microscopic pitting across its entire surface. The patterns reminded me of Mr. Coopertown’s brain. This was my phone on magic, I thought.
(Tyburn discounts Peter’s authority over the Folly) - “I am a sworn constable,” I said. “And that makes me an officer of the law. And I am an apprentice, which makes me a keeper of the sacred flame, but most of all I am a free man of London and that makes me a Prince of the City.”
Mr. Punch was running for his afterlife, but I was gaining.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary
The name's Peter Grant.
I'm a police constable
and trainee wizard.
Complex plot features
river gods and goddesses,
old magic and ghosts.
Down by the river:

“Get yer trousers on, you're nicked…

Despite being dead.”

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034552425X, Mass Market Paperback)

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:02 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"As a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic"-- P. [4] of cover.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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