By Nick Sizer
I won’t specifically dwell on the prequel, because I can’t quite spell how “fuNkin” awesome it is. Thankfully there’s no serious need to read it first; but you will miss out some of this newer book. I agree, it is a small pain to have to find a good book in order to fully appreciate another good book; but while that-internet shop-named-after-a-rainforest is taking over the world, this reviewer doubts it will be too difficult. Plus “in 2013” this book will have two sequels…
Suffice to say anyone who hasn’t heard of Mr Aaronovitch is possibly hiding under a rock; both Diana Gabaldon and Charlaine Harris have said good things about his writing; fortunately for this suspicious book-voucher user cum fan it wasn’t overblown.
His pithy but occasionally brusque prose doesn’t shine like Harris’ but he certainly knows how to feed a reader. Here’s a paragraph found in said book:
This is how you get out of the bed the next day. You push off your duvet, rotate your body, put your feet on the floor and stand up. Then it’s have a wee, have a bath, get dressed, go downstairs, eat breakfast, talk to your boss, practice your forma, eat lunch, smack the sh*t out of the punching bag at the gym, shower, get dressed, get in the Ford Asbo and head into town to make sure your face is being seen. You do this because it is your job, because it’s necessary and because, if you’re honest, you love it. Repeat this process until the bad dreams stop or you just get used to them – whichever comes first.
I like and loathe that Aaronovitch was willing to put much more sex into this outing; unfortunately it becomes part of one thread so it is quite regularly repeated (nudge nudge). There’s justifiably good reasoning behind that decision. While this smug if slightly evil reviewer did see it coming (this pun not intended) the similarly dense finale will set up future plots very nicely indeed; as well as being nearly the all’s-well-that-ends-well that Aaronovitch has “p0wn3d” all his very own.
I’m not quite sure why he insists on writing really quite short chunks; I assume the writer aims for a fairly freecycle / pass-it-on oriented reader. Type that size I usually see in my library’s teen-grabbing blood-‘n’-sluttery (yes I still have a local library) but at 375 pages the paperback does well to ride the very boundary of too-big-for-pockets, while still keeping a similical foot in will-still-do-some-damage-when-used-as-a-weapon territory.
The jacket is something else: a section of Stephen Walter’s The Island London Series (of illustrations) cover each of the four UK editions thus far; and why not?! Each stands out on its own; and the same around Rivers of London gave me a gnawing-good glimpse at the violence to come, without turning a single page.
You may not be chasing a wizard, learning a dead language or using telekinesis to shape the very air around you; but I think you should find out how exactly one would go about it. Should you already be a junior police officer, preferably attached to the Metropolitan Police (patrolling London). You get to drive a Jaguar…