So, in the eternal quest to get the migraines to take a hike, I’ve been exploring options for reading ebooks. And I was messing around on the Amazon site, poking at Kindles. I asked the Martian if I could borrow his to see how it played with the migraines. To give it a shot I pulled up his Rivers of London list of books, and started book 1.
I have a complicated relationship with people recommending things to me.
See, frequently, someone I like and I know we have fairly similar tastes will recommend a book (usually it’s books), and when I read it I kind of wind up looking at the book like, “Really? Have a you met me? We have met, right?”
So, yeah. There have been a few recommendations that have worked. A regular at the club recommended Steven Erikson’s Malazan books, and that was a winner. As was Honeybadger’s bassist Lukas recommending Kate Griffin’s A Madness of Angels: or the Resurrection of Matthew Swift. I still need to read the rest of that series.
Anyway, back to Rivers of London. The Martian has been enthusing about them for years. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone: try the kindle and also give the book a shot.
Midnight Riot starts with London cop, Peter Grant. He’s done his two years of beat service and is on the cusp of getting assigned to a unit if he’s lucky. He’s been assigned to guard a murder scene, and then when his beat partner Leslie goes for coffee, a ghost talks to him. He follows up on the ghost’s lead, and it heads somewhere. He decides to go back and try to talk to it again that night, and meets Inspector Thomas Nightingale, admitting that he’s ghost hunting, and finds himself assigned to Inspector Nightingale going forward.
This is the first time in a long time that I started a book and just sat and read it through. I think a Seanan McGuire Toby Daye novel holds that distinction. I did the same with Into the Rolling Deep*, but as a novella it is much shorter, so I’m not sure that counts.
I like the magic system in this world. I enjoy that there are female characters with agency and people of color. I like the mythology around how the Gods of Rivers change and switch personification. I enjoy that magic is hard in this book, and that it can really fuck you up if you aren’t careful. I love that Peter himself is a person of color, and talks about his mother and their relationship to Sierra Leone, and how he doesn’t feel that her status as a cleaning lady in any way diminishes him. His dad’s an old Jazz man with a drug addiction, and is a maintenance junkie. He doesn’t seem to binge much, just does enough to keep an even keel.
Also, in a lot of ways Peter reminds me of me. He gets distracted by new information, and learning things pretty easily, and then deep dives as much as time and circumstances allow.
He has two women he’s crushing on through the course of the book, but does not entirely think with his dick. Nor does it stop him from treating them as equals and comrades.
The ending surprised the living shit out of me. That had not been a twist I had seen coming. And it was kind of awesome. I really enjoyed it.
So, yeah, I like the characterization, the plot is good. Not too complex, but not so simple you can guess the end from the first paragraph. Aaronovitch has a great turn of phrase, and I found myself laughing at certain lines throughout the book.
I highly recommend this book.
Now, back to the day-drinking!
*Seriously, if you are into horror and mermaid lore, check this out. I still need to read the follow up novel. But I read this on the bus and gasped audibly enough at the end that other riders asked me if I was ok. This was in bright daylight.
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