rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
Riona ([personal profile] rionaleonhart) wrote2016-07-05 01:56 pm

I Actually Used The Word 'Groovy' And She Didn't Even Flinch.

I went into a bookshop with the specific intention of buying Rivers of London and realised too late that I didn't know the name of the author. With an inward sigh of despair, I trudged into the 'Sci-Fi and Fantasy' section, prepared to comb through all the shelves alphabetically.

Thank God for the name 'Aaronovitch'.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #5: Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch.

'Vagina dentata,' said Nightingale. I wasn't sure that I was reassured by the thought that it was common enough for there to be a technical term for it.

Usually, when I enjoy a book, it's because I like the characters or the world or the concepts. Occasionally you'll find a book that's enjoyable because the narrative voice is just so much fun to read. Peter Grant is a great narrator, and I think the constant undercurrent of his wry humour is what really makes Rivers of London. It feels like you're sitting down with him in the pub and he's telling you a story.

There were aspects of this book that impinged slightly on my enjoyment of it. It contained a lot of horrific gore, which I wasn't entirely prepared for, although that's not really the book's fault; I think I expected it to be aimed at a younger age range than it was. It's also a bit male-gazey, although it is at least narrated by a mildly sexually frustrated young man, rather than being one of those books that feels the need to monitor everyone's breasts at all times even if the main character has no reason to be looking at breasts. And I don't like saying that books need better editing, because I'm a copy-editor and I know how thankless a task it is; people will see the one typo that slipped through, but they'll never see the thousands of mistakes you corrected. That said, this book could have done with better editing.

Ultimately, though, this was fun! I hugely enjoyed Grant's voice, and the asides about the history of London were interesting. I liked the friendship between Grant and Lesley. I wanted to care about the relationship between Grant and Nightingale, and there were a couple of moments where I thought 'is this the moment I get invested in these two??', but in the end I didn't feel they had as much of a connection as I'd hoped for. I've gained the impression that they're a popular pairing, though, so perhaps their relationship is stronger in later books. (Not sure yet whether I'm actually going to pick up the other books in the series, but we'll see.)

Also, at one point the protagonist makes out with a little brook that runs near my childhood home. There's no other book I can say that about.

(Anonymous) 2016-07-05 04:30 pm (UTC)(link)
This one I can get behind!

Peter's narration really is fantastic. I wanted to write Rivers of London fanfic once, but realised I'd never manage to emulate Peter's voice. Peter's pretty great, and I really like Lesley as a character. Not sure this makes sense, but she's the sort of character that you really don't see as a girl that often? Lots of men, but rarely are women written like Lesley.

I like Nightingale enough, but never quite got the obsession the fandom has with him. I just prefer Peter and Lesley, haha.

What did you make of the Punch and Judy stuff?

As for the later books: if you do plan on reading more, at least finish the to the end of book 3. I say this because the only book I'm not massively fond of in the series is book 2 (though it does have some interesting stuff toward the end and isn't skippable) and it'd be a shame to judge the rest of the series based on the most "meh" book.

Aaronovitch used to write for Classic Doctor Who, btw! I think that's cool.

-timydamonkey
wolfy_writing: (Default)

[personal profile] wolfy_writing 2016-07-05 05:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank God for the name 'Aaronovitch'.

Imagine if you'd been looking for something by Roger Zelazny.

It's also a bit male-gazey, although it is at least narrated by a mildly sexually frustrated young man, rather than being one of those books that feels the need to monitor everyone's breasts at all times even if the main character has no reason to be looking at breasts.

Yeah, I can deal with male-gazey narration if it's because the story is from the perspective of a male character who would have that kind of gaze much more easily than female characters being all "As I walked down the street, I noticed how pert my breasts were!"
wolfy_writing: (Default)

[personal profile] wolfy_writing 2016-07-06 05:46 am (UTC)(link)
If I ever do that, it's completely and totally deliberate.

[identity profile] darkest-alchemy.livejournal.com 2016-07-05 09:45 pm (UTC)(link)
"so perhaps their relationship is stronger in later books"
I don't remember the other books* but from what I remember of the fifth(?) book their interaction in that consists of a few brief phone conversations, Nightingale wasn't really even in it and I was disappointed by this.

*that's probably not a reflection on the quality of the other books, I just have a very bad memory

[identity profile] littlered2.livejournal.com 2016-07-05 10:34 pm (UTC)(link)
I enjoyed Rivers of London and its sequels very much! Agreed about Peter Grant's excellent qualities as a narrator, and the appeal of the friendship between Peter and Leslie. (My dad is still friends with his female partner from his early days in the police, so I am inclined to feel very fondly towards them, although I hope my dad and his partner didn't have the same undercurrents of sexual tension. Too awkward.)
ruuger: My hand with the nails painted red and black resting on the keyboard of my laptop (Default)

[personal profile] ruuger 2016-07-06 06:36 pm (UTC)(link)
IMO Rivers of London was the weakest book in the series (my favourite so far was Foxglove Summer). I'm not really sure where the popularity of Peter/Nightingale comes from - I guess they're just the obligatory slash pairing that became popular simply on account of being popular :)

rather than being one of those books that feels the need to monitor everyone's breasts at all times even if the main character has no reason to be looking at breasts

You mean pretty much any book by a male author? ;)

(I've noticed that you can tell that you're reading a male author when you can describe the breasts of every single female character)