Tuesday, 27 November 2012

rivers of london

I'd seen Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch, in the bookshops, but it was Douglas asking if I'd read it, as it seemed my kind of book, that prompted me to get it from the library and read it. Fantasy novels set in London are attractive to me (this the sub-genre of fantasy detective novel), but I often shy away from them because I fear they will either be disapppointing or so good that I'd be bitter. This turned out to be the former.

It was an easy read, but I won't be reading the next one. It has one of the range of interesting premises - fantastic things going on in London that the general population is unaware of, this time through the angle of a Met officer being unexpectedly taken on as apprentice wizard into the now-two-man Met department responsible for crimes relating to magic, myth, supernatural and horror. The new apprentice - and his non-magical colleague - took the existence of this stuff, and his own magical ability, far too much in his stride; it felt incoherent and internally illogical, with so many different kinds of fantastic elements in the mix (although he spent quite a bit of time on the logic of how magic worked, there were lots of other areas that needed similar attention, and as it approached the end the logic behind the central crime story became completely incomprehensible to me), the tiny dept and the reluctant collusion and covering up of the rest of the Met.

But the thing that perhaps annoyed me the most was that one element of the cover illustration - which was an interesting map of central London - meant that I worked out a key element of the mystery of what was going on on p24, when without it I may not have got it until p158, and the big reveal is on p203. The blurb, usually the culprit in such cases of giving away too much on the cover, was blameless.