Rivers of London
also known as Midnight Riot was written by Ben Aaronovitch who many familiar with Doctor Who may recognise from his writing of classic episodes. Rivers of London
was an entertaining, quirky and somewhat gritty read, kept consistent by its main protagonist. It was not a philosophical masterpiece of literature but it did not set out to create the writing equivalent of The Great Wall of China and then walk across it three times. Rather it set out to produce a fun, airy urban fantasy for adults. And I mean adults. Like the Dresden Files (which it will draw similarities to and which I've only read book 1 of) this is not for children, and I mean that sincerely. Perhaps I'd recommend it to a handful of twelve or thirteen years olds I know (many of whom are no longer innocent or naive) but on the whole I'd prefer to have kids read these when they are aware of the adult concepts in them.
As mentioned above this is an urban fantasy and like the Dresden Files (Storm Front) follows a cop/wizard. How Rivers of London
differs is that in this book Peter Grant has not learnt magic (and in fact the magic in this book plays second fiddle to everything else - which explains the haunting soundtrack I imaginatively heard throughout the book). However throughout the book he begins the process of becoming a magician or wizard, learning to use magic and experiment according to magical principals. Peter Grant begins to learn magic due to an unexplained magical murder spree that sweeps across the city of London and so this book becomes: a) wizard training b) chasing down leads c) running into mythical beings and d) humour filled action adventure.
So apart from the urban fantasy elements (there were vampires and spirits of rivers) in this book I did like the humour. Peter Grant was a witty, 'devious' and all-round likeable ethnic character (the fact that he was of an African background was a nice change from the typical Aryan heroes) and there were some moments that made me smile. However the secondary characters were somewhat less developed or less interesting, the magic was not as present as I had hoped and the plot at times seemed overly chaotic. That said I do believe the sequel may prove more to my liking as I did like Peter Grant as a character of fantasy (and to be honest considering that urban fantasy isn't my preferred sub-genre that's saying a lot).
So three stars for this interesting urban fantasy. I recommend it for any adults or the few older teens who are into this kind of novel. Even perhaps if you aren't into this kind of book you may find the Briticisms and general humour of the novel make it worth your while. It is definitely worth a read and I will look out for the sequel and read it when I can.