Book recommendation: Rivers of London series, Ben Aaronovitch

I’ve read the first two books of this series, and they’re just delightful–I want to hand them out to strangers on the street.  The first was called Rivers of London in its original UK edition, and is Midnight Riot in the US edition.  (No idea why that change was made.)  The second is Moon Over Soho.

The series reminds me to some extent of Mike Carey’s Felix Castor novels.  But where the Castor books are urban fantasy crossed with detective noir, Rivers of London is urban fantasy crossed with police procedural.  Taking the noir out of the mix makes it, well, lighter. (Hah.)  There’s some fairly grim stuff going on, but the hero, Constable Peter Grant, is mostly fairly certain that he is at least attempting to do the right thing, a moral semi-certainty that was largely missing from Felix Castor.

Grant is already ensconced in the London police when he discovers his wizardly talents, and he remains a policeman, trying to work within the rules and regs.  He’s mixed-race, and is very well aware of how that affects his job and his life.  He drops the occasional pithy line about class and gender issues as well. He’s also very, very funny.

I’m really hoping we find out more about his mentor in the next two books.  In my head he is played by Rupert Graves.

I’d  call these a definite buy for any library with patrons interested in urban fantasy.  (And if your patrons AREN’T interested, CONVERT THEM!)  As for reading level, this would certainly be accessible to a high-schooler or a high-level-reading middle-schooler.  (If the middle-schooler is not British, I would modify that to “high-level-reading middle-schooler who would not be frustrated by occasional British terms.” Well, and whose parents would not be too upset about the occasional sex and cursing.)  Some of the magic-inflected violence, while not wallowing in gore, is truly upsetting in concept, so it is perhaps not for the seriously nightmare-prone.

I’ve got the third one waiting for me on my Kindle, and the fourth one is supposed to come out this summer!  YAY.  Five squees out of five!


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