May 2017: Book Club Review

Theme - Fantasy: ‘Rivers of London’ by Ben Aaronovitch

This month’s book club theme was fantasy and we landed upon Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, the first in the PC Grant series, as our choice. Rivers of London cleverly mixes police procedural with magic and science, mixed in with detail about the geography and history of London. 

Peter Grant is a probationary police officer with the Met. He shows no particular promise and seems destined to make a ‘valuable contribution’ from behind a desk, while his friend Lesley becomes a high flyer. However, after an encounter with a ghost, he discovers a talent for the supernatural and is instead recruited to work with Inspector Nightingale, a wizard.

As you would expect with fantasy, Rivers of London demands a certain suspension of disbelief, but the group thought that on the whole the characters were believable and we were easily swept along with the storyline. Peter is different from many other crime fighting protagonists. He doesn’t seem to have a drinking problem, he’s obsessed by science, easily distractible and he’s mixed race with an interesting family background. Not all of the magical elements made sense, but with five other books in the series already released, it’s likely that the mysteries will start to unravel.

We rated Rivers of London 3/3 (see scale below) with the group agreeing that we would recommend to others, especially if they know London well as this adds another layer to the narrative.


A couple of us have even bought the second in the series already, eager to find out what happens next.

1 = got through it just about, but didn’t find it enjoyable
2 = enjoyed, but wouldn’t recommend to others
3 = loved it and would recommend to others

Recommended further reading:

If you like the sound of this, there are six books currently published in the PC Grant series.


Other fantasy suggestions from the group include:

  • The Mistborn Series – Brandon Sanderson

  • American Gods – Neil Gaiman

  • The Kingkiller Chronicle – Patrick Rothfuss

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