As a subgenre within fantasy, urban fantasy is set mostly in contemporary times, and specifically in cities. In our giant cities with their mysterious neighborhoods and streets we rarely have a chance to seek out that special place where there should be something that is a little bit magical. After all, if you look hard enough in any large city, you will find that one great hole-in-the-wall restaurant, that beautiful undiscovered park, your next great friend, or a wild adventure. Urban fantasies offer you all that and, sometimes dragons and magic beyond your wildest dreams.
There are quite a few urban fantasies that take place on the streets of London. One second a protagonist is moving through the traffic and tumult of modern London, and the next they are tossed unceremoniously into the strange shadow world that might exist just around the corner, a London beyond the London you know. All of this happens once, and you never find any of the places again.
What makes Midnight Riot such a fun departure from these other books is Peter Grant. Like many of the heroes in the mythical Londons of urban fantasy, Peter Grant is a young man who finds a world larger and stranger than he imagined, full of magic and danger. The thing is, Peter makes this discovery as a probationary police officer. He gets the thrill of discovering magic, but he also has the dawning fear that somehow he will be forced to translate the experience back into the language of London Metropolitan Police paperwork. How exactly does one say “the spirit of the Thames River is disturbing the peace” in paperwork, anyway? Is there a form for that? Peter becomes a hero not because of an overhanging prophecy of doom or his great magical strength, but because, in the end, he took an oath and swore to take the right actions when he became an officer. If science and forensics won’t work, he’ll try magic. If magic doesn’t work, well there are always riot gear and heavy boots.
Midnight Riot is the first book in a series called Rivers of London in which Peter Grant tries to learn magic without melting his brain; become an upstanding police officer; serve the community; survive his family; understand women; not get stuck with all of the paperwork; and make it home in time to watch Doctor Who. The series author, Ben Aaronovitch, did write for Doctor Who.
Midnight riot; Moon over Soho; Whispers underground; Broken homes; and Foxglove summer are available in e-media format..
Midnight riot; Moon over Soho; Whispers underground; Broken homes; and Foxglove summer; are on order in paper format.
For more detailed information about the series check out The Folly.