I had high hopes of ‘Rivers of London’. It was recommended to me by a couple of people whose judgment I trust. It was, broadly speaking, a fairly enjoyable read. But to be honest I was disappointed. it didn’t deliver on its initial promise. The plot was confusing, the central concept – the Magic Police – was derivative, and the subplot meandered (see what I did there?) to an anti-climax.
The novel features a young officer in the Met Police; who has an encounter with a ghost at a crime scene. He takes this unexpected event pretty much in his stride. It quickly leads him into the branch of the Met that deals with magic and the supernatural, and eventually to him becoming an apprentice wizard. There are two plots, one in which a demon possesses people and turns them into murderers, and one frankly rather minor sub-plot involving a dispute between the warring gods of the River Thames – hence the book’s title.
The pace is brisk, and the narrator is engagingly naïve, frank, and amorous towards his female police partner. Aaronovitch has done a lot of work here – the portrait of life as a city copper is convincingly done. The sense of place is strong – the area around Covent Garden in particular is meticulously recreated. Continue reading