Review of the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. Rivers of London is about the police constable Peter Grant in London, that discovers that magic is real and is roped into the supernatural branch of the British police… It’s Peter and an elderly wizard called Nightingale.
Review of The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch
I find this series quite funny and greatly enjoyable. Not all the books are equally strong, but they are all enjoyable. Police procedural with a strong sense of place. London is almost a character in the book, in much the same way as in Neverwhere. Or male protagonist is at the start of the first novel he is not particularly good at anything but he got a soft hard, but quite a few flaws as well. So far there are four books in the series.
Edit 2023: In the first few books Peter Grant have a lot of internalised sexism in his narration, but it goes away in the later books as Ben Aaronovitch has been called out and apologized for it. Aaronovitch has done a lot of work on it in the books to make up for it and is now bring in a lot more fully fleshed female characters. Unlike watching Peter, they tend to be very competent.
My review of Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, book 1
Rivers of London is a really enjoyable police based british urban fantasy. We get to explore the world along with Peter Grant. Peter treats the magic like a science puzzle and that is really fun to follow. Rivers of London is very readable!
My review from 2021 of Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Rivers of London is so delightfully British and I love it! It is kind of a cross between a British cop mystery and American Gods. It is delightful! Also the protagonist is such a typical English protagonist – he is so clueless when it comes to social skills.
Rivers of London has made me want to read more non-american work, because the view of character and storytelling in the typical American urban fantasy book is just so different from how people from other cultures think about how to build a story and who to feature in it.
Rivers of London was very much what I needed to read and I read it in pretty much any break during the day that I had – including getting to sleep way too late for my own good on the account of this book.
The stats: Rivers of London
Published: 2011 by Gollancz
Length: 392 pages
Read: November 2012
Author: Male, white, british
The protagonists: Peter Grant: Male, PoC, mixed race, police constable, wizard
My review of Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch, book 5
Like the Laundry Files the Rivers of London books also take place in England and is based around a government agency that deals with the supernatural. But the tone in these books are completely different. Foxglove Summer is also funny. Unlike the first four books in the series this takes place in the countryside rather than in London. I really enjoy how many quiet scenes we get in this book. It is an aspect many books for adults often leave out – the scenes where we get to know the character’s life. It is something that I quite enjoy in middle grade and young adult fiction and the Peter Grant books has it in spades.
My review of The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch, book 6
With The Hanging Tree you are really getting two books in one: An excellent police provincial with office politics and you are getting a really good urban fantasy book.
I highly recommend The Hanging Tree and I think I will go back and read the rest of the books in the series again this year.
This review was originally posted: November 9 2012, November 24 2014 & November 15 2016. Updated and edited July 2, 2023