Monday, March 7, 2011

Review - Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (4/5 stars)

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 320 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: February 1, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0345524256
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in Peter Grant series
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program.  This is the first in a series of books that feature Peter Grant as the lead.  The book was well put together and engaging, but I had a little trouble getting into the writing style.

Peter Grant is about to be given his permanent job on the London Police force and he is praying it's not a job as a paper pusher.  Unfortunately that's where it looks like things are going until Peter bumps into a ghost that he can talk to.  This is a ghost that witnessed the murder he is helping investigate.  Suddenly it looks like Peter won't be pushing paper but instead will be apprenticed to Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, a man who works in the supernatural division of the London Metropolitan police force.  From there Peter is drawn into a murder investigation that will have him consorting with Gods and dealing with all sorts of supernatural creatures.

Aaronovitch does an excellent job of putting together a great plot and story.  Peter is a great character, as is Nightingale.  Both of them are somewhat mysterious, but have a healthy sense of humor.  The pace of the plot is pretty much non-stop from the beginning to the end.

I loved the London setting and enjoyed how the author incorporated the different deities with the rivers in the London area.  The plot was twisty, turny, and hard to predict which I enjoyed.  I also enjoyed that the whole murder ties in with an old school play.

There was only one thing that kept me from thouroughly loving this book and I had a hard time pinpointing exactly what it is.  I think I just had a hard time with Aaronovitch's writing style; the writing is so dense and includes so many intricate details.  Some of the details help the reader picture the story, but others are just too much.  So I would find my mind drifting as I read through all of these little details, then have to go back and re-read to make sure I hadn't missed anything while my mind wandered.  Because of this, the book wasn't as enjoyable for me to read as it should have been and at points it was just down right hard to get through.

Overall a solid entry into the urban fantasy genre; for the most part I really liked it.  I love the world created here and really enjoyed the characters as well.  There was something about Aaronovitch's writing style though that turned me off a bit and I think it was all of the little intricate details included throughout; they just drew out the story too much and at points my mind would start wandering.  I think fans of investigative urban fantasy from a male perspective might like this book; it really does have some great stuff in it.  I would recommend reading a sample first though to make sure the detail heavy narration works for you.  I probably won't be picking up the next book in this series, Moon Over Soho, there are just too many other urban fantasies out there where I enjoy the writing style more.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

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