Rivers of London, a new favourite series?

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch is a book that was on my June tbr, and when I didn’t manage to get to it that month I moved it over to July. I just for some random reason really wanted to read it. I’m glad I did!

This is a book that I’ve seen pop up in so many charity shops over the years, both this book and the later ones in the series. So eventually I decided to pick a copy up and give it a shot, and I’m glad I did!

I’m going to get my bad points out of the way first. One isn’t really that bad, yet, and that is that our main character Peter is mixed race. His mum is Black and from Sierra Leone and his dad is white from England. The author is white, and so I am still doing research into some own voices reviews on this representation. It looks as though, growing up in London, Arronovitch was exposed to a lot of families from Sierra Leone (and other countries) and so as long as he’s got own voices beta readers I imagine it could be okay. Additionally, there were points where the book flips the regular racist narrative on its head. The race of other characters only being pointed out when they’re white, for example, and questioning the stereotypes that people are judging PC Peter off of.

My second, and final, issue is the sexism in this book. It is so clearly written by a man. He’s always thinking about the breasts of the women he’s talking to, with sexual tension present with pretty much every female character on the page. It’s a pretty clear line between the male and female characters. There is potential there, however, for improvement and I’ve seen an interview with him for a later book in the series that discussed the research he carried out and the people he talked to so he could accurately write a lesbian character. With that in mind, and with the book having been published in 2011, I’m hoping that as the series continues on these things improve as Aaronovitch learnt with the times.

But I’ve not even told you what the book is about yet (how have you got this far without knowing?) To sum it up nice and quick: Police Constable in 2011 just joining the police force after “probation” and learns that there is magic. This magic is entwined with the “real” world and he moves into the police department that deals with this sort of magic.

Now you’ve read that, you can probably see why I enjoyed this book. The concept is 100% up my alley, and apart from the two issues I mentioned about Aaronovitch’s writing style is so much fun. Very stupid silly humour mixed in with drama and action. Almost like the Skulduggery Pleasant books written by Derek Landy? But adult.

I absolutely sped through this book, in my final sitting I read 200+ pages without even realising. In fact my only thought was disappointment that I didn’t have more of this world to delve into straight away. I am definitely continuing with this series. It’s a lot of fun

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 6, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 7, Plot:8, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 8, Enjoyment: 8, which gives a score of 7.71 and a 4* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: alcohol, alcoholism (mentioned) , blood, bones, car accident (mentioned), death, decapitation, drugs, gore, hallucinations, misogyny, murder, occult, profanity, racism, sexism, violence.

This book has some flaws that we (unfortunately) expect from books of its time. But I’m hopeful for the future book and I’m excited to possibly be able to recommend the series more widely once I’ve read some more from it. Now I just need to get my hands on the books…

Have you read any of the books in this series? What were your thoughts? Please let me know!


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