Monday 23 January 2012

A Year of Reviews

It's been a year and a bit since my first non tie-in novel was published and I've read a lot of reviews. I tried not to but I could no more resist them than I could a jumbo sized packet of chocolate covered peanuts. And like the chocolate peanuts I don't think devouring them did me much good but what you going to do?

To commemorate I thought I'd blog some of my favourite review quotes; the criteria being not whether they were favourable or damning but whether they stood out in some way - fun, insightful, clueless, zany or just plain incomprehensible.

Short and Sweet

London. Police. Wizards. Love. (I want this on a T-shirt)
Way better than most of the paranormal police procedurals out there, but from me that's like saying this is the most enjoyable open heart surgery.
(Lovely image)
Loved it until page 304, then lost me completely at page 382.
(Wonderfully specific)
I f**king love this book.
(Hic. you're my best friend aintcha)
DNF. One-word review: tedious.
I suggest you start reading this book without knowing a thing about it.
(Too Late)
sexist author is sexist
(I was tempted to respond 'Lazy critic is lazy' but I've been told not to do stuff like that.)

Peter Grant...

...a mixed-race hero - hurrah!
...struck me more like a preppie than a police officer...
There is no Ron or Hermione...
I love his slightly different background and POV!
...seemed to sort of bumble around and take his queues from the other characters instead of standing on his own. a little wooden, although likeable...
...adorable, feisty, and at times completely clueless.
...(and hot…. Peter Grant? Come on, you totally would.)
Sadly, the main character is a bit of a Nice Guy & far too much time is spent going on about women who wont shag him...
...he's not divorced, he's not bitter, he's not lonely, he's not white.
...I think Harry might have been a bit more competent than Peter Grant is. self respecting mixed race person that would ever describe themselves as "a little bit ethnic". I promise you that would get ad-lib if it were on TV.
Had Harry Potter been this boring, I would have rooted for Voldemort.


If the book had included a map this might have been a little bit easier.
I found the geography lessons more interesting than the plot...
Just a shame his UK publisher titled it Rivers Of London. Almost didn't pick it up, thinking it was actually about the rivers of London.
As a native Londoner this book makes me homesick.

The women...

I really could have done without the stereotypical lesbian - because all lesbians look like men and have hair that looks like a bicycle helmet, ya know...
...women aren't just breasts and vaginas, which the narrator and the world of the book often seems to forget.
...his approach to female characters verged on misogynistic (really!)...
...a somewhat magical woman, associated with the River Thames, starts out as a sexy love interest, ends traded to a group of magical country rubes, perhaps as a sex willing concubine.

The Author... seems that this series will be a repository for all his ideas that wouldn't make it into Doctor Who in a month of Sundays - even the Torchwood team would balk at many of them. 
...I'm thinking the author might have some unconscious issues with women. far more interested in jazz and the architecture of London than he is on magic, policework, action, sex, or anything else...
The story is...
...definitely a little strange.
I found myself alternately getting bored enough to contemplate giving up, then getting to an action scene that was interesting enough to give me hope that the rest of the book would hold my attention. Unfortunately the slow parts-then-good stuff pattern would then repeat itself...
I didn't know what was going on half of the time.
The plotting is a little herky-jerky at times...
...started out as a fantastic crooked little adventure and ended muddled and boring.
...loafs along with the easy inevitability of Agatha Christie mystery.
...good and boring at same time.
An average Urban Fantasy that is more concerned with London than story or magic or anything else really...
...A fun and intertaining Torchwoodesque story.
Pap, but enjoyable, well-crafted pap.
An unremarkable book full of remarkable things.(1)
It was a bit too swift in places which made following the details of the case difficult.
...a fun, quirky book which is light to read and yet still sinister. innocent will not want to read these books. But, they are fun.
This is a fun and entertaining book that is trying really hard to be even more fun and entertaining than it is.

And as for the style...

The paragraph lengths (very, very long) are also daunting.
The prose isn't perfect - I do wish Mr Aaronovitch had used a few more semicolons and a few less commas...
I don't see how it's different from Anita Blake or The Dresden Files, except for the exotic british slang.
I'm still not sure I approve of how often Google & YouTube were mentioned.
...a concoction consisting of the humor of Terry Pratchett, a dice of Neil Gaiman's characters and plot and finally a fixer kind of guy and supernatural goings on from Jim Butcher.
Is this fine literature? No. Is it well written? Not particularly.
As one who prefers good and[sic] grammar to bad and loathes "metrication" very deeply, this does not appeal.
Like a Mark Billingham rewritten by Robert Rankin.
More popcorn for the mind...


Judging by the book blurb and author quotes on the cover, this book seemed like it should have been something I'd enjoy, but I have to say I was disappointed.
I’m not ready for another trip into the fairy world.
The humour evaporates, as does the novelty...
...I initially judged the book by the cover and thought this was going to be written more seriously than it was.
I can't see much resemblense[sic] to it and for me Dresden Files is a lot more funnier written than Midnight Riot.
Disappointing, particularly so given the 4-star average rating. ...The world-building is lacking and inconsistent, actions taken seem out of character, and the ending was a confusing, muddled mess. The Dresden Files this ain't. ...Aaronovitch has several prior books under his belt - most of which seem to be TV novelizations. Never a good sign. No clue how this book has the rating it does.
So boring. Everything from the magic to the characters is paper thin and barely explored.
It was just depressing that the character discovers magic is real but it's directed towards hurting people & quarreling.
I'll give the second book a chance and hope it explains some of the nonsense in this one.
...i found the characters very shallow and couldn't get to grip with them, i kept losing track of the plot, eventually i gave up.
It was perhaps unfair to read a book with such lofty expectations... reminded me too much of China Mieville's Kraken - and reminded me how much more I'd enjoyed that.
...the story itself would fit nicely into a TV procedural without too much grief.  And I don't mean a season finale level episode either, more like the last episode before sweeps start.
I was completely willing to go along with it, until the resolution suspended my disbelief from a very high bridge.
I can't say too much about this book as I gave up after 140 pages...
I picked up Rivers of London expecting to fall in love, but unfortunately I just didn't.
I am a fan of Harry Potter and this book is certainly not the adult version.
It's ridiculous story line made me so angry that I couldn't bare it any longer. I am a fan of Harry Potter and this book is certainly not the adult version. like a verbal A toZ of london with a ridiculous storyline relying on time travel, magic, and the existance of Gods of the Thames.
...plot and characters aren't very original. Wizards and magic - see Harry Potter. Super cop and side kick - see Doctor Who. Even one of the most original characters, Mama Thames, reminded me of The Oracle from The Matrix!!
We read conversation after conversation at location after location, and when things do happen, they are not very interesting.
The concept is great, the story imaginative - the writing however, is awful.

Ewww! It's just too.... British.

The most difficult thing for me with the book was that Aaronovitch used a lot of British slang that I wasn’t familiar with.
I did have a little trouble with the London slang, but I still enjoyed the book.
My main complaint it that it was definitely geared toward a UK/London audience.
My "issue" with this book is COMPLETELY PERSONAL. I'm not familiar with British writing -- I'm too comfortable with American style. So like 75% of reading this book, I totally don't "get" it. It's hard to enjoy the story when I don't feel comfortable with the language. It's like I'm looking on these words but they don't mean anythin to me. It's totally my own failure, I know, and should not reflect the quality of the book.

(1) This is one of my favourites and led to me spending a week saying things like "This is an indigestible plate covered in digestible things."
(2) Try to imagine Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda.


Mddestiny said...

It was that Potter-clone bit on the cover blurb that threw a lot of my friends. I know people who had to be convinced to buy it because Potter is so over. And I also know people who bought it because they thought it was a Potter-clone and were disappointed with the lack of magical schools and zany antics. You need to get the publisher to get it off the cover, doing no favors.

Dunno about the sexism, but I could really relate to Stephanopoulis as the hard-edged Lesbian cop. She seemed realistic, and I've seen a fair few clones of her in the police (and nursing profession too) forces.

Miss Peas said...

Does it help or hurt more when people who criticise your writing aren't capable of constructing a sentence?

In either case you are a better person than me. I would have hunted them down and tattooed the laws of grammar onto their bleeding bodies >.>

Flibbertigibbet said...

Critics - whatever. I enjoyed the first and second of the series and will buy any subsequent books too!