Rivers of London Review

  • Author: Ben Aaronovitch
  • Series: Peter Grant #1
  • No. of pages: 392
  • Dates read: 02.10.20 – 07.10.20
  • Star Rating: 2 stars

Plot: Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

Yeah. So… this was not it!

I read a book earlier this year called Stormfront by Jim Butcher and some of the problems I had in that book also happened in this book. You can find the review here >>>

I have one question… why do some male writes have to oversexualize and objectify every female character that comes onto the page??? It’s gross and creepy!!!!!!! Ew! We will get more into that later.

First up, the plot was quite interesting I thought it was ok (though it needed some structuring) and I liked learning about the magic system. The magic system is tied to science quite strongly so why I enjoyed learning about the magic and how it works, it was a struggle at times to understand why things worked the way it did. Not sure if it was my lack of scientific knowledge or the way it was written, it just seem quite confusing and all over the place.

But, the big problem for me was the characters. The plot and the magic system could have been a 3 and maybe even a 4-star book but the characters were a massive let down for me.

I think the biggest problem is that this book is in first person narrative and we are in Peter Grant, our main character’s head, and he makes all these unnecessary comments about the women he meets and also loads of sweeping statements about race which left me uncomfortable. I think if we were reading the book in a 3rd person narrative or just a less sexist 1st person narrative it would have been a much more enjoyable reading experience.

So starting off with the women. Every single woman’s body is commented on. Before we learn about their personality we hear about their boobs or their curves. All the female characters are extremely objectified to the point where I can’t really remember what their personality was because it was outshone by the main characters comments on wanting to sleep with them or how their boobs looked. It was really irritating and at times uncomfortable. The female characters had so much potential but fell short.

Then we have the comments of race. I am always apprehensive when white authors decide to make their protagonist’s a person of colour as they lack the experience it is to understand their culture and background. I felt that the author did not do enough work in researching the background for his main character. This book contains sweeping generalisations and stereotypes, specifically towards various African cultures, which made me uncomfortable as the main character is mixed-race himself and raised by a mother who is from Sierra Leone. To me I felt that the white author was voicing his own opinions on black people and the travelling community but thought it would be ok or more “palatable” to have those opinions be said by a mixed race character. There were mentions of racism in the book but it just felt very odd as it this book was full of clearly some white man’s point of view but it felt like he was hiding behind a black man so to speak. There was a complete lack of nuance and understanding on his part.

I will not be continuing this series as I don’t like the way the author writes about women and people of other races.

The next book I will be reviewing is Murder on the Dancefloor by Helena Dixon.

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