Books You'll Fall in Love With

12/02/2014 19:36

I have totally fallen in love. The object of my affection is not even a man because Detective Grant, the protagonist of Ben Aaronovitch's books is far too galling me to be attractive for me. All in all, the series Rivers of London in which he appears as the main character has completely captivated me and it seems that I have become its biggest adorer.

I decided to read these books a long time ago upon the strong recommendation of one of my friends. I also read a few very intriguing reviews of them. To be honest, I bought the first part of the series a long time ago because it was on sale on Amazon but just a few days ago, before my trip to London, I decided to start my ''trip'' with one of Aaronovitch's books.              

         The novel is about a young officer in the Metropolitan Police, Peter Grant, who is afraid of spending his whole life doing paperwork. His biggest dream is to land a job with the Criminal Investigation Department. The day before the job interview which may help his dream come true, Peter is appointed for night watch of a crime scene. In Saint Paul’s Cathedral a murder was committed, but it is too dark for crime scene technicians to detect any traces. By now, it seems it is an ordinary detective novel. What is more, as its plot takes place in London, I enjoyed reading it even more. Can you imagine how surprised I was when suddenly Peter sees a ghost and is talking with him?! It was absolutely unexpected and, as I discovered later on, it was only the beginning of surprises. Our protagonist finds out that he has some extraordinary abilities, which will attract Inspector Nightingale's attention. The inspector is the last wizard working for the Metropolitan Police. The magic, once very common, is slowly disappearing mainly because most wizards died during a great battle during the Second World War. Peter's unusual abilities to detect vestigium, in other words, subtle aromatic traces left behind by magical practices, help him to become Nightingale's apprentice. Grant decides to move to a huge mysterious house in Russel Square and instead of working in the office, he becomes a member of a special team which deals with crimes involving magic.

         The whole series is extremely humorous, intriguing and interesting, which makes it hard to stop reading it. Its plot concentrates on a detective motif: Peter solves mysteries, chases criminals, interrogates witnesses and racks his brains. All of this is not as easy as his suspects are not always normal people or even his allies. What is more, Aaronovitch is a very imaginative person. Peter's friends there include naiads, and one of the problems that he has to solve is the conflict between Goddess Thames and her male equivalent. Aaronovitch’s London teems with ghosts, vampires and many other strange creatures. At first, it is not so easy for Peter to get used to all these phantoms, but after some time he learns how to talk to them and not to fall victim to their special magical abilities.

         In the background of the story there is plenty of information about the history of London, which makes it even more interesting for those people who are interested in this city. London is presented as a city of diverse cultures and different races. Even Grant's mother comes from Sierra Leone and his father is an ex-jazz musician addicted to drugs. Mother Thames has also dark skin, dr Walid, with whom Peter cooperates, despite his strange-sounding surname, is a Scot. All of these characters are so peculiar and amusing that they pique the reader's curiosity. Aaronovitch's language is quite specific; that is why, it is really hard to translate it into other languages and preserve its idiosyncratic sense of humour. Once, when I was travelling on a bus reading one of the books from the series, I burst out laughing, which captured other passengers’ interest.

        Here is a short excerpt to convince you to read these books. Grant and Nightingale are talking about someone who is probably responsible for a few crimes:

"...we know his teacher wasn't from some foreign tradition - this is a home-grown black magician.

   'You can't call them black magician,' I said.

   'You realize that we're using "black" in its metaphorical sense here,' said Nightingale.

   'It doesn't matter,' I said. 'Words change what they mean, don't they? Some people would call me a black magician.'

   'You're not a magician,' he said. 'You're barely even an apprentice.'

   'You're changing the subject,' I said.

   'What should we call them?' he asked patiently.

   'Ethnically challenged magical practitioners,' I said."

It is definitely a book series that is worth the time spent while reading. I recommend it not only to London lovers.

Sylvia Jarema



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