Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Rivers Of London/Moon Over Soho

... written by Ben Aaronovitch. The moment I began reading, I connected with this book in a way I couldn't explain. It wasn't just like 'Oh yeah, picked up this book, fell into a mystical freaking place, 'unputdownable' (I hate reading that damn word on the back of a book, it's not even a proper adjective), the next J.K. Rowling/Stephen King/Terry Pratchett, couldn't put it down.'

No. I was already a good way into the book (Moon Over Soho) before I realised three things that made me go out the next day and buy Rivers Of London and its sequel.

One. The main character is a mixed-race policeman, with a black mother and a white father who plays Jazz - ??!! Like what the HELL! Amaziiiiiiinggggg

It's like, because of this, he addresses some minor race issues that many people (probably including myself) have faced. One part that stands out for me: in The second book Moon Over Soho, The main character Peter, the first new magical apprentice in about a century, meets somebody who is the curator of a magical library. Aaranovitch writes;
Harold Postmartin ... had clearly been expecting Nightingale to introduce someone
'different' as the new apprentice. I could see him trying to parse the phrase
but he's coloured in a way that wouldn't cause offence, and failing. I put him out of
his misery by shaking his hand; my rule of thumb is that if they don't physically flinch
from touching you, then eventually they'll make the adjustment.
© Ben Aaronovitch 2011, 'Moon Over Soho', Publ. by Gollancz

I, fucking, love, that bit.

Two. The story is set in London - my hometown! Yaaaay! A book about magic set in London by such a talented writer, a rarity. It was a strange but thrilling feeling to read vivid descriptions of places I've been, such as Covent Garden, Neal Street, etc etc. Reading it is kind of nostalgic, only it isn't because I live here, heh. :')

And of course, the magic.

Even though at some times, things done or said raised some curious questions, on the whole it was a very realistic take on magic. Every bit of magic used has a price; there seemed to be more of a cap on magic, more limitations - instead of just endless usage, like Harry Potter. (No offence though, I really like Harry Potter.)

Three. Like I said, his mother is black. There was an incredible passage in one of the books about 'Don't Touch A Black Woman's Hair, Don't Talk About A Black Woman's Hair' in there that made me laugh to no end at its accuracy. Not gonna copy it out in case I get my blog shut down for plagiarism, but honestly, I was rolling with laughter. There's no end in humour in those books - exactly the type of humour that I like, sometimes dry, sometimes sardonic, but all very very casual. It's not always obvious that a joke is a joke, but that just means its all the more funnier if you get it.

I went out and bought the book ASAP even though I'm supposed to be 'strapped for cash.' I don't give a damn. It's an absolutely amazing book that draws on so many features I know and understand. I looked up the genre and saw that it fell into the 'urban fantasy' category - I thought WOAH. I definitely want to write some shit like that, in some way shape or form. :D I will have both eyes wide open and keenly watching Ben Aaronovitch's next book release.

Peace and Love,
Star xx

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