This is the second book in the Rivers of London series which is a sort of Harry Potter meets Scott & Bailey.
Imagine, if you will, a secretive, well-funded branch of the Metropolitan Police, tasked with dealing with cases involving magic and the supernatural. Well, calling them a ‘branch’ might be overstating it; there’s just the two of them: Peter Grant, police constable and wizard-in-training; and his mentor, Thomas Nightingale, a detective inspector who seems to have been alive since the nineteenth century.
It’s by no means an original concept, but I don’t think I’ve come across an urban fantasy novel (or is it magic realism?) that’s so well-written. The sense of place you get is extraordinary; Aaronovitch has mapped London to destruction, giving himself a rich environment in which to explore this magical world of vampires, witches and river gods.
The characters receive similar treatment: no one is a stereotype, and no one is quite what they seem, and everyone gets a back story woven throughout the novel which brings the whole book to life.
The writing is tight, funny, highly detailed (especially concerning the areas of jazz music, spell-casting for beginners and police procedure) and the pacing is superb.
I’m trying hard but I can’t really fault it, but it’s a complex novel with a lot of in depth background info that still manages to grip the reader from start to finish.
I’m going to have to give it ten out of ten. Great job!