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Rivers of London (2011)

by Ben Aaronovitch

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Rivers of London (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,5273141,859 (3.89)632
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.… (more)
Recently added byAngela_W.F., DanteAshton, weetab, private library, ednasilrak, Stevenhume001, Rennie80, RSi
  1. 320
    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. 234
    Storm Front by Jim Butcher (majkia)
    majkia: both involve paranormal mystery and smart-ass dialog.
  3. 60
    The Rook by Daniel O'Malley (Rubbah)
  4. 82
    A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin (TheDivineOomba)
    TheDivineOomba: Same Location, similar themes. Both Capture the essence of London.
  5. 82
    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)
  6. 62
    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both books have a certain dark British humour to them.
  7. 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.
  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
    Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older (rarm)
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 10
    Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman (LongDogMom)
  15. 10
    No Hero by Jonathan Wood (Rouge2507)
    Rouge2507: Similar: British policeman fights against the supernatural
  16. 10
    Bryant and 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
    Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw (andreas.wpv)
    andreas.wpv: Different type of protagonist and friends, but dealing with the un- or supernatural, solving crimes and preventing disasters. This is very similar though in style and tone, mood of the story. It is tense, yes, but holds no horror or exceeding brutality. The protagonist is human, and like a human, and the story has an undercurrent of kindness that many novels miss. And it is funny at times, from gentle humor to laugh out loud.… (more)
  19. 11
    Never the Bride by Paul Magrs (jonathankws)
  20. 00
    Nightfall by Stephen Leather (agneson9)
    agneson9: features supernatural/paranormal side of London

(see all 23 recommendations)

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» See also 632 mentions

English (311)  German (4)  Norwegian (2)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (320)
Showing 1-5 of 311 (next | show all)
By the book jacket, it sounds like a Charlie Stross ripoff, but it manages to be different enough in tone and content to make it its own thing. Fun. ( )
  qBaz | May 28, 2021 |
4.5 This has been on my radar for years, and I wish I had read it sooner. I really like the writing and it's exciting to find another series I'm looking forward to continuing with. I don't have a lot of time or respect for series fiction these days, so it's nice to expand the pool of likely-to-be-reliable candidates for what to read next.

My only criticisms of this book would be a.) that for the first third or so it didn't really feel like the overall plot was advancing much if at all. b.) that our narrator/MC Peter feels somewhat detached. Which is okay with me but I feel like I'm supposed to judge that negatively. Whatever. Already bought the next installment. ( )
  WeaselBox | May 16, 2021 |
I liked everything dealing with the river deity politics but none of the rest really held my interest since it felt pretty standard. I might check out the next one to see if it picks up though. ( )
  jobinsonlis | May 11, 2021 |
Oh, boy, that was fun! And funny! This is like the UK's answer to Harry Dresden - if Harry was way more mellow and his dog was a slipper with ears. Harry's dog might be named Mouse, but he ain't tiny. :) Toby still has it where it counts though.

Survey says: Harry kicks ass; Peter is swell bloke.

The world-building was pretty well-developed throughout the story, not just for the magic stuff but for London itself for us non-Londoners who don't know how London works. I imagine it's told in a politely backhanded enough way to still be amusing to those who live there though. We're told only what we need to know when we need to know it, and aren't info-dumped for no reason, yet it still manages to set things up for later books.

The case was interesting and certainly unexpected. Punch and Judy is just messed up, y'all. And to think that was considered appropriate entertainment for the whole family back in the day. Leslie looks like she's getting set up to be the Murphy of this universe, only much more mellow and less awesome. Though she could still end up being awesome later. We'll see.

I'm not sure at all why the American publisher changed the name of the book from Rivers of London - since the rivers actually are pretty important - to Midnight Riot. Sure, there's a riot and it happens at night, but it's not even the climax of the book. Com'n. Did they really think we'd need the promise of a riot to get us interested? That's horrible. This isn't like trying to get kids interested in a bunch of old guys sitting around discussing the meaning of life to a bunch of rocks (BORING!) versus wizards doing cool magical stuff with stones (AWESOME!). There was just no reason to change the title, and maybe it's just me, but it also introduces an unfortunate (most likely completely unintentional) racial implication. Peter's mixed-race. There's a riot. Must be connected, yeah? Let's make it the title! Boo! Bad job, American publisher! Bad job!

The narrator, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, did an okay job. He has a nice voice, all silky and rich and mmmmm...wait, what was he saying? ;) I did tend to get caught up in the sound of his voice and miss the actual words he was saying, having to go back and re-listen and mmmmm... :D The downside is that he really needs to learn how to breathe properly when he's narrating. Lots of deep inhales at pretty much every stopping or pausing point. Comma? Time to breathe. End of sentence? Time to breathe. I did listen to the sample for the next book, and he seems to have improved on this point, so I'll continue with the audios. ( )
  Linda_Bookworm | May 6, 2021 |
This is fun. Aaronovich has a nice turn of phrase. If you have enjoyed series by Simon R. Green and Jim Butcher, you will probably get a kick out of Peter Grant.

Be warned if you prefer e-books, the next books in the series are NOT available on Kindle. They are, however, available on Nook. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 311 (next | show all)
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» 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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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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Book description
Haiku summary
The name's Peter Grant.
I'm a police constable
and trainee wizard.
(passion4reading)
Complex plot features
river gods and goddesses,
old magic and ghosts.
(passion4reading)
Down by the river:

“Get yer trousers on, you're nicked…

Despite being dead.”

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