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17 July 2012 @ 01:17 pm
idiot time  
Because avoidance of problems and actual tasks is fun, I accidentally read two of the three books I picked up yesterday afternoon from the library. This has resulted in very little sleep and fragmented dreams about time travel. (The second book I read, or reread, was The Graveyard Game by Kage Baker, because bookelfe was talking about the Company novels, and also, immortal road trip! If anyone has any suggestions for other road trips featuring immortals, besides my beloved Brief Lives volume of Sandman, I am all ears.)

The first book, though, was new to me: Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch, originally published in the UK under the *much* more helpful and appropriate title Rivers of London. Newly minted police officer Peter Grant discovers magic at work in the streets of London, and has his hands full tracking a malevolent spirit turned serial killer, while also trying to resolve a messy dispute between dueling spirits of the Thames. Here's a review:
http://londonist.com/2011/01/book-review-rivers-of-london-by-ben-aaronovitch.php

It's not going to become a favorite of mine, but I enjoyed it (although I had to squint past some of the gory bits - which is when I skim bits of text with my eyes squinted to avoid reading too much at one go). It was a bit like A Madness of Angels, if that book hadn't been desperately boring and if the protagonist had had a sense of humor. One thing that I really appreciated is that Peter is mixed-race, and while that isn't the focus of the book, it still inflects the narrative through Peter's awareness of how other people might see him in certain situations (for example, on the Tube, coming from a magical showdown with a bleeding cut on his forehead). I also appreciated that while Peter is new to magic, he's inquisitive and methodical about trying to figure out how it works. And since I'm me, my favorite thing about the book is the way that London's history and its magic combine.

I don't think the second book has been published in the US yet, but I'll keep an eye out for it. [ETA: whoops, I confused these books with some other books that aren't out here yet. Never mind.]
 
 
 
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tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on July 17th, 2012 05:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know! I had such hopes for A Madness of Angels, because the idea is *so* up my alley. But it was not to be.

I've only read the first Peter Grant book, obviously, but it was fun, and I just breezed through it in a day (albeit a day where I didn't really do anything else).
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tempestsarekind: books and flowerstempestsarekind on July 17th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
I definitely remember wishing that the novel was about any of the other characters, really. :)
cschellscschells on July 17th, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
I'm reading A Madness of Angels right now. Yeah--pretty tedious. But I'm enjoying it enough to keep reading. I'm pretty sure the 2nd and 3rd books of the Midnight Riot series are out here--I think I have the 4th on pre-order, supposed to come out in a week or two. Either that or it's the 3rd coming out...
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on July 17th, 2012 05:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I got it confused with some other UK books I was looking at that aren't out here yet, oops. I have duly requested book 2 from the library.

I really liked all the Londony-magicky bits of Madness of Angels, so I kept reading too, but I just found the protagonist so flat and dull.
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cschellscschells on July 17th, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'd forgotten it was part of a series! Wow. That's just... a lot of words! I'm not sure I have the stamina.
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cschellscschells on July 17th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
I'll definitely stop while I'm ahead, then! (What's also sad is that the titles are so good! I mean, "Neon Court"--how cool is that?)
cschellscschells on July 17th, 2012 07:53 pm (UTC)
Yeah, you're stuck in his head all the time and he's kind of... not that personable... Also, obsessed with details much?! I keep wondering if certain parts would be more funny if I knew London better. (Or, you know, at all, since I had the flu the one time I visited!)
tempestsarekind: neverwheretempestsarekind on July 17th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
Oh dear! Though I suspect that most of my limited London knowledge has actually come from travel specials and guidebooks, because I have no sense of direction, and am really bad at keeping neighborhoods straight when I am actually in them. :)

I definitely remember not getting the Knightsbridge/Night's Bridge joke in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere the first time I read it; it was clear that Knightsbridge was a place, but I didn't get the joke that (unlike Night's Bridge) it really wasn't scary at all.