I hesitated for quite some time before taking the plunge on Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovich because of comparisons to Pratchett’s Discworld series, which I have never been able to find a way to care about. Apart from the existence of magic, I saw few similarities. It was more like a traditional British police procedural with magic and magical creatures thrown in.
I am an addict of audiobooks, and I was especially pleased to have enjoyed the audio version of this book. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith was a fabulous choice to narrate this series. He made every character stand out, and performed the book more than simply reading it. Having begun the series listening, I intend to let Mr. Smith read all of these books to me. He is one of the few male readers who manages to make the female characters sound real, and not just like high-pitched men.
So many genre novels just seem to be slightly different versions of each other that it is a delight when a truly different novel comes along. While I could certainly detect some influences for this series, Aaronovitch has created a world that does not feel like every other wizard/detective/urban fantasy novel that has come along in recent years. Although I like many of them, I enjoy reading something distinctive, and Midnight Riot is quite different in the characters and the way Aaronovitch has incorporated magic into his world. I especially like the main character Peter Grant. A few plot elements seemed forced, and I felt that a few things just came out of nowhere (and not by magic). Overall, however, this book was excellent and kept me looking for excuses to listen. I was engaged from the first few words, and the novel did not let me down as it continued.
I recommend this novel.