FALSE VALUE / AUTHOR: BEN AARONOVITCH / PUBLISHER: GOLLANCZ / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
False Value is the eighth book in the Rivers of London series and begins with a reset of sorts. The books follow the adventures of Peter Grant, a detective constable and apprentice wizard who works in a very modern-day London. Magic is real and rare (though getting less so) and Peter, as a member of the Metropolitan Police Service is typically on the sharp end of the ‘weird’ side of things.
The previous book, Lies Sleeping, ended the first major arc of the series and this new novel is a takes us back to basics. It sees Peter taking on new responsibilities both at work and at home and there’s a definite shift in tone towards the stranger side of magic and the broader implications of what a resurgence of strangeness means to the world at large. Aaronovitch is clearly having a blast building on the world he’s already created. As False Value is the start of a new major plot thread, it’s a place for new readers to jump on, though to be honest, we recommend you start with Book One; if you like it you’ll want to read them all, it’s that sort of series.
The main character is a delight as always and the central plot revolves around a tech-bro billionaire and various shenanigans. Pacing is a little wonky this time round, mostly because of the structure of the story at the start, but it evens out as you carry on reading. The tone is light, witty, and action packed as always. Cinematic where has to be and detective chic in other places. And, as always, the description of London is so solid and real that you can practically feel the familiar layer of grime the city has.
Fans will be relieved to know that there is plenty for the various supporting characters to do, from the mysterious Nightingale to Toby himself. As a stand-alone novel it’s a solid book and a fun story. As part of the greater series it’s much lighter than the previous book but that’s to be expected. If this novel is anything to go on, the next books in the series are going to be a thrilling ride; we have a solid start and a steady tempo and it will be a thrill to see where the author goes with the broader themes going forward. As always, Ben Aaronovitch takes the reader on an unforgettable ride into the fantastic.