Informational note: This review is written with the understanding you either already have read the previous books in the series or honestly don’t care about spoilers for the previous books in the series. It’s hard to do a spoiler free review eight books in!
Hello again to my readers! You can enter my lair with no obligations. Although I ask that you indulge me another trip to the realm of powerful river gods, The Folly and Newtonian magic and police officer Peter Grant.
The Rivers Of London series is honestly my personal favourite book series in at least five years possibly a decade. I have a soft spot for Peter – his sharp wit and endlessly geeky references no doubt help – but his friends and enemies alike all shine well as excellently realised characters across the series. With particular note to DI Thomas Nightingale the ‘lord of the manor’ so to speak, the preciously devilish Abigail Peter’s cousin (who shall be getting her own side novella in the near future) and Beverly Brook, one of the aforementioned river goddesses.
The series – as I mentioned before in my review of book seven in the series Lies Sleeping which I reviewed when I first started these reviews – is a strange mix of police procedural, magic craziness and whatever else you can imagine! But there’s a change for this one. False Value is the first main novel – not counting the side novellas and short stories like the also excellent The October Man – to be released since the end of the threat of the Faceless Man.
As such certain things have changed: Peter and Beverly are prospective parents which can be problematic when your child could potentially have the power to flood the entire continent. Not to mention for this mission Peter is undercover. The Serious Cybernetics Company run by Australia born Terrance Skinner has some kind of secret hidden deep within the company…but will Peter be able to find it? And what could the collateral damage be? This secret is both technological AND magical…and has all the disastrous potential that entails.
Ben Aaronovitch is once again jumping in head first into his patented chaotic system! With introducing a few extra magical nuisances for Peter and Nightingale and another excellent double act at the office, he has his hands full and yet manages to keep you guessing and laughing along with the story. By the way don’t turn ‘spot the Douglas Adams reference’ into a drinking game. You’ll never get over your hangover! Beverly is particularly on point, along with Terrance Skinner. They both shine in this one as very entertaining. Skinner is very convincing as the Silicon Valley type you so very much WANT to believe. While Beverly starts to ask a lot of awkward questions that start you thinking as the story goes along at a lightning pace. I listened to the entire thing in three marathon sessions.
Speaking of listening, Kobna Holbrook-Smith returns as narrator and is once again a voice of jazzy gold. Kobna pretty much is perfect as narrator for this series. His Peter, Nightingale and the rest have been perfected to the point I couldn’t even imagine anyone else doing the audiobooks. His multiple accents for the numerous characters across the series just make them feel so real. I could easily imagine bumping into these characters if I ever went onto their turf or bumping into a Peter at a local games event while off duty – discounting the magic of course! There are very few narrator and writer matches I would consider a dream team but Ben and Kobna are very much one. The – very enjoyable – interview with the pair as a bonus at the very end of the audio after the book has finished is entertaining as Ben and Kobna answer various fan questions regarding the series.
In short I absolutely love this series and False Value is another excellent addition to the ongoing narrative. I don’t want to spoil anything too major so I won’t but I will say I truly hope that this book will persuade a few other people to join Lord Grant’s Irregulars as I sometimes call them. The Folly has more than a few surprises in store for my fellow readers and listeners.
Now…I see I have a guest. Can I help you my…inquisitorial companion? And don’t break the door!
“You there! I have need of your assistance. I have a text that I am in need of judging to determine if it is…heresy. Also have you seen my shoes?”
…Ah. I can see why you called upon me…