Peter Grant may have been a probationary constable for the Metropolitan Police Service back in January, but he’s certainly not now. After a spooky encounter with a ghost, he’s now a newly appointed Detective Constable and first wizard-in-training in fifty years trying to solve a series of mysterious violent outbreaks and riots. Add to that a case of couples counselling for a god and goddess who are anything but easily handled and Peter’s got his hands full.
Just like the reader! There’s a lot of things I liked and a lot of things that frustrated me quite a bit.
♦ On the upside ♦
I really enjoyed Peter as a character. He’s well written, dead funny and I quite liked reading things from his POV, even though I usually steer away from male MCs. Aaronovitch did a remarkable job in developing that character and I was really hooked by Peter’s narration.
Similarly intriguing were the premise and the magic system that the author used. He combined magic with science, had Peter experiment to figure out the limits of what magic can do, and it really shows that he put a lot of thought and planning into it.
I particularly enjoyed all the lore and myth about the river spirits, learning about all the rivers that eventually join the Thames. Usually the most us non-Brits learn about water in London is that the Thames exists but nothing more than that, so that was very educating and I loved how every little stream played some part in the grand scheme of things.
♦ Favourite Quote ♦
I certainly wanted to scream, but I remembered that, right then and there, Lesley and I were the only coppers on the scene, and the public doesn’t like it when the police start screaming: it contributes to an impression of things not being conducive to public calm.
♦ On the downside ♦
It was dragging a lot. I don’t know if I only felt this way because I took forever to finish it since I couldn’t find the time to properly sit down and read more than three pages, but towards the end of it I just wanted it to be over and it just didn’t happen. I’d look at the percentage, thinking “surely it must be over quite soon” and I still had 20% to go. And it just didn’t end.
There was entirely too much action happening, especially after three quarters of the book were already over. Every time I figured that I had reached the climax, something more was about to happen. In fact, there was no real climax at all. It just kept going on and on like the author tried to cram as many fitting magic things into the plot as possible, not really caring whether or not they were relevant. In the end the story just sort of petered out, finally trickling to a stop.
Generally there was a lot of useless information in the book. I understand wanting to share as much as possible in regards to the world you’ve built, but there was a lot of yammering about this river and that river and going here and going there, and I think that the story could’ve worked just as well with 300 instead of 400 pages. The premise was good but at one point it was just overdone, and less pages might’ve helped with the awkward typos that nobody caught and the mixed up names that were really quite embarrassing (how can you not know your characters’ names???).
♦ Should you read it? ♦
Yes. All in all, I liked the book well enough to be interested in the sequels. It was a pretty fascinating read and I really hope to learn more about the magic of this series. :D