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review 2018-02-14 20:24
Great book for urban fantasy lovers!
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch

I enjoyed reading this one as it featured a main character who wasn’t your typical anti-hero - which we seem to have a lot lately. I’m glad to see Peter was just your average good guy who’s doing his best to be a policeman until he comes across supernatural things in which his whole life changes.

Peter’s relationship with Nightingale is pretty much a mentor/student one. Nightingale has his own secrets though and a few are revealed but there’s more to him that you think - I hope there’s more information about him in the later books to come. There are other supporting characters; I do like Leslie because she’s got the wit (possible love interest, maybe) and she’s a perfect sidekick to Peter. Molly is another interesting character that I would love to know more about. Again this is the first book in the series so I’m hoping more character development will eventually come forth in later books.

 

The world building is pretty good and Peter does a good job also explaining how things are in London (I admit I had to google a couple of things as I didn’t know who or what Punch and Judy were) but it gives you information on the city and events that are common there to actually make you feel as if you are following Peter around as he tries to solve the case and becomes an apprentice.

 

The plot was well done and I liked how the different story arcs come together in the end into one large circle. It may seem confusing at first but once you have everything laid out and you know who is who everything comes to a close and it’s a great closing. It obviously leaves room for more books coming so one can look forward to what is next for Peter.

 

(The Riot scene though? Holyyyyy sheeeeeee what the……)

 

It’s a good read, those who are into urban fantasy mysteries will likely like this type of book. Looking forward to book two!

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review 2015-05-26 04:50
Wickedly Fun beginning to the Peter Grant Series
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch

“I gave the prescribed Metropolitan Police “first greeting”.

“Oi!” I said, “What do you think you’re doing?” ― Ben Aaronovitch, Midnight Riot

 

“’Conflict resolution,’ said Nightingale, ‘Is this what they teach at Hendon these days?’
‘Yes, sir,’ I said. ‘But don’t worry, they also teach us how to beat people with phone books and the ten best ways to plant evidence.’”
― Ben Aaronovitch, Midnight Riot

 

First, I love British Urban Fantasy. It is often quirky, normally presented in a dry, witty style, and sometimes simply figuring out the language can give it a while other level of subtle humour not found in “American English” writing. I love it, and Ben Aaronovitch doesn’t disappoint with “Midnight Riot”. Of course, listening to the book rather than simply reading it added a whole other level to my enjoyment. The narration of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is everything I could have wanted and more. His delivery has the level of dry wit, spot-on delivery and subliminal snark that brings a ‘good’ book to the level of ‘brilliant’

 

Peter Grant is a London ‘copper’ – just off his two year probationary period as a constable, his lack of ability to actually pay attention to what is going on around him has him scheduled for – basically a fancied up secretary. But one cold night on a scene watch under the West Portico of St. Paul’s at Covent Garden, Peter meets an odd little man in an Edwardian smoking jacket: “…don’t ask me why I know what an Edwardian smoking jacket looks like: let’s just say it has something to do with Doctor Who and leave it at that.” That in itself is weird enough. But the fact that he is a ghost is just a tad over the top, even for a Londoner.

 

Suddenly, Peter finds himself in a world he never knew existed – where ghosts and goulies, goddesses and monsters all exist just below the everyday hustle and bustle of the crowded city streets. In his new position as assistant and student wizard under the tutelage of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale. Thomas Nightingale, London Detective and Wizard. Well, nobody ever said being a London cop is simple, you know. Now, there are all sorts of odd things going on around Peter – and all of his friends, his family, and his coworkers, as well as the whole population of London, are in more danger than he ever could have imagined.

 

Peter Grant is an unusual character. Half white, half Somali, Peter suffers the same sorts of issues that any black man in a mostly white force suffers. He likes his job, but his fuzzy grasp on concentration causes him issues – issues that his Probationary partner, Leslie May, has to pick up the slack on. And of course, the oddity of his new position causes a strain for him within the department, as does the bureaucracy inherent in a huge, ancient city such as London.

 

“As soon as we stopped sleeping with our cousins and built walls, temples and a few decent nightclubs, society became too complex for any one person to grasp all at once, and thus bureaucracy was born. A bureaucracy breaks the complexity down into a series of interlocking systems. You don’t need to know how the systems fit together, or even what function your bit of the system has, you just perform your bit and the whole machine creaks on.”

 

Midnight Riot is amazingly creative. Ben Aaronovitch takes the trouble to weave in the history and stories of London, all the way back to its very beginnings, Londinium, a settlement established on the current site of the City of London around AD 47. The focus of the story interweaves history and mythology, witchcraft and ghosts, and Mother and Father Thames and their children, the many other waterways of Britain.

 

As Tim from Temecula says in his Audio review, “It’s as British as Chicken Vindaloo or Soccer Violence.” Of course, as a former Brit, Tim should know – ;-)

 

Idiosyncratic and wickedly fun, the Peter Grant Series is an absolute blast. I can highly recommend it! Especially if you listen to the Audio Version narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Awesome!

 

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2013-06-30 00:00
Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch

I loved the first book in this series, Midnight Riot, so I decided to read this one too. Sadly, I didn't like it quite as much as the first.

Peter's “voice” was still a lot of fun. I loved all the little snarky details, and I liked the scientific approach he took towards magic. I enjoyed the brief appearance of Ash, the river god exchanged for Beverley in the previous book, much more than I thought I would, and I loved how Aaronovich was able to turn London into a character in its own right. I love Molly enough that I hope she at least gets to have a storyline in a future book devoted to her. However, the mystery aspects made less of an impact than they did in the first book, and the stupidity level was unusually high.

As with the first book, I found that I was more interested in Peter and his thoughts than I was in the mysteries themselves. Unfortunately, Peter's handling of things in this book was extremely bad. First off, all the victims in his primary case were jazz musicians. So, did he worry when his father suddenly started preparing to play jazz music again? No. In fact, he arranged for his father to play in front of an audience with some of the former band members of one of the victims in his current case. Second, he began sleeping with the girlfriend of one of the victims. It didn't occur to him until a good deal later that it was odd that she had already stopped mourning her boyfriend, and it didn't occur to him that it might not be a good idea to sleep with someone so closely connected to his case. Third, although Peter helped arrange the agreement between Mother and Father Thames in the previous book, he didn't once give a thought to the possible consequences of putting Ash in a potentially dangerous situation. The number of times Peter did stupid things really bothered me.

The jazz musician case was low key enough that I couldn't seem to drum up much enthusiasm for it. The vagina dentata case had a lot more action (and gore), but it wasn't really the primary focus. When things started to come together near the end, I had trouble following and remembering all the threads that connected everything.

Overall, I still enjoy this series (and you can bet I'm looking forward to the future TV series). I can't wait to see where things go with Leslie, who wasn't physically present during most of this book, but who pulled a huge surprise out of thin air in the last couple pages (I'm still wondering how she managed what she did, and who taught her). However, I hope the next book is better than this one.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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