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“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 
― Stephen King, On Writing.

Nataliya's quotes

"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."— J.K. Rowling

Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1) - Ben Aaronovitch Midnight Riot is a fun mix of so many things that I love in my pleasure reads - the geekiness and the science¹, the dry British humor², and the magical/mythical/phantasmagorical stuff in a big city³. What's not to like?¹ My whole life, basically. Really.² Examples - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, even some of China Miéville's stuff.³ Examples - Harry Dresden books, China Miéville, Neil Gaiman, even Sir Terry."Carved above the lintel were the words SCIENTIA POTESTAS EST. Science points east, I wondered? Science is portentous, yes? Science protests too much. Scientific potatoes rule. Had I stumbled on the lair of dangerous plant geneticists?"Midnight Riot (which used to be called Rivers of London before some American publisher undoubtedly decided that the target audience should NOT be aspiring US-based geographers) is a great read for me, a self-proclaimed devout Dresdenite (as in Harry Dresden, the Chicago wizard for hire, and not so much the German city). It has all the surface similarities to that series - a magically-inclined PI constable collaborating with the police force of a big city to solve magical crimes, while interacting with a slew of mythical creatures and engaging in self-deprecating pop-culture-references-laden humor (and, in case of Peter Grant, lacking the borderline-misogynous chivalry). But before you, those who do not share my affection for the Dresden universe, run away screaming from this book, please listen - it apparently appealed even to those who cannot stand Harry Dresden. All the similarities aside, this book has a very distinct and fun voice, and is less pulpy, much lighter on the magical stuff and whimsy, and heavier on dry humor and police procedurals as well as geekiness than the Chicago wizard books. "I'd like to say that I remembered the practice of exchanging hostages from school history classes or from stories of precolonial life in Sierra Leone, but the truth was that it came up while playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was thirteen."Peter Grant is joining the ranks of my favorite characters with his self-deprecating humor firmly rooted in pop-culture and modern world, as well as his own complicated family dynamics. A probationary constable who is recruited into a small (now consisting of 2 people) department of London police dealing with the supernatural, he approaches learning magic from a viewpoint of a natural scientist, carrying out experiments, creating theories, and even using science and valid deductions to counteract the villain in one of the major confrontations. All helped along with humor, and told in a narrative voice that is very even-keeled, even when the protagonist is faced with a life-or-death situation, and which, in my opinion, adds to the appeal of this story."We did an hour of practice, at the end of which I was capable of flinging a fireball down the range at the dizzying speed of a bumblebee who'd met his pollen quota and was taking a moment to enjoy the view." And the city - Ben Aaronovitch's love for London is contagious. London is very much a character in this story, and way more than just a setting. The history, the streets, the landmarks, even the rivers in this story are captivating. I love when that happens in books, and I thoroughly enjoyed it in this story. "Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the "London once-over" - a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport - like BASE jumping or crocodile wrestling."--------------------------------------But wait there for a second, Nataliya, you must be wondering, if you loved this book so much then (a) why don't you marry it? and (b) why the hell did you just 3-star it, huh??? Well, here's why. While I love the narrative voice and the protagonist to pieces, I find the storyline(s) not very memorable or compelling. I'm sure I'll remember Peter Grant for years to come, but I'll be hard pressed to remember what the hell the story was about. No, it's not hard to follow, but it's just not that memorable, and, honestly, not that engrossing. Moreover, the two main stories in this book, aptly represented by the titles that the different sides of the ocean have chosen - Midnight Riot and Rivers of London - felt to me quite separate from each other, connected only by the fact that Peter Grant was involved in both of them. I think Aaronovitch should have either connected them together in a more meaningful way, or has chosen one of them to focus on. Despite my gripes with the storylines, I was so enamored with the narration and the humor and the protagonist that I will without a doubt read the next book in the series, and will highly recommend this one. Peter Grant for the win! 3.5 stars."If you ask any police officer what the worst part of the job is, they will always say breaking bad news to relatives, but this is not the truth. The worst part is staying in the room after you've broken the news, so that you're forced to be there when someone's life disintegrates around them. Some people say it doesn't bother them - such people are not to be trusted."---------------By the way, here is