[Book Review] Rivers of London: Body Work and Night Witch

I return! I was too busy being sick to string together enough sentences for any blog entries last week, other than my review of That Ain’t Witchcraft for Speculative Chic. I really loved that book, and I can’t wait for the next one. It’s going to be a long year. It might be time for an end-to-end reread of the InCryptid series. In the meantime, I’m still working my way through Rivers of London! I have reached the graphic novel portion of the series.

My friend Lane, when she reviewed this series for Speculative Chic, mentioned that she didn’t read the graphic novels, and it felt like there were some weird gaps in continuity. So I treated myself to all of the currently existing graphic novels in the series, and dug up a reading order that included them within the novels’ timeline, and hopped in. This is partially because events that happened in Body Work and Black Mould are referenced in The Hanging Tree, and I wanted to find out what happened, especially given that Sahra Guleed (who is awesome) was involved.

Short reviews, maybe a few spoilers

Body Work is a fairly straightforward tale. Picture Stephen King’s Christine (from the eponymous novel), but marginally less evil. Only, what happens when Christine gets chopped and redistributed into other cars? Bad stuff, that’s what.

I’ve always liked Guleed, and getting to spend more time with her just increased that fondness. Given that Lesley seems to have peaced out entirely to the dark side, I would love to see Guleed start working with Nightingale and Peter at the Folly. I don’t see that happening, but a girl can dream, can’t she? She’s already been involved in “Falcon” specific work a few times; why not bring her fully into the fold?

I enjoyed Body Work just as much as I’ve been enjoying the novels. I sort of wish that more authors would get the chance to add these little interludes within the scope of their long series. Getting to see side adventures that aren’t long enough to merit a full novel, and would feel strange worked into the body of a novel, is an especially delightful treat. I’m also pleased that the way that I was picturing the characters seems pretty spot-on, based on the art.

Night Witch was also enjoyable, and gave a bit of insight into what Lesley’s actually been up to ever since she made her decision and joined Faceless. It also gave some interesting background into Varvara Sidorovna Tamonina, first introduced in Broken Homes. She’s an actual badass witch, having fought for the Russians in WW2. I hope that this isn’t the last that we see of her. She’s tough, smart, fearless, and the closest thing that Nightingale currently has to a contemporary and an equal. (Do they have a ship name? Can it be Nightingwitch?)

My very favorite part of Night Witch? Getting to see the full extent of Beverley Brook‘s power as a river goddess. Things that were hinted at in Foxglove Summer are seen in their full, magnificent glory. In Foxglove Summer, Beverley is able to obtain a room at the fully-booked local inn just by asking somebody if she can have it. Night Witch shows that Beverley’s able to easily sway people into doing what she wants them to do. Russian mafia breaks into her house, there to do a murder on Beverley? Mmm, she thinks not. She thinks that they’re going to give her a mani-pedi and clean her flat. That was utterly amazing. I love Beverley so much.

As for Lesley, watching her do Faceless’s bidding was…upsetting, I suppose. She’s always been a determined woman, and she’s seemingly devoted to whatever plan that he has cooked up. I really liked Lesley. I admired her determination and her tenacity. She still has those traits; she’s just choosing to use them for the good of Faceless. And now? They have an entire boatload of money.

Yay. I can’t imagine anybody better to have that much power and money at his disposal. OH WAIT, YES I CAN.

Molly is AMAZING in both books, but primarily in Night Witch. I loved watching her attempt to spring into action to go after whomever had kidnapped Nightingale, and Peter consoling her that after he found them, she could stab them to her heart’s content. I also adored the image of her brandishing two knives while she stood guard over the Folly.

As a fun bonus, at the end of each graphic novel, there are one-page adventures showing different characters in different situations. The one that made me actually laugh out loud was the one featuring Beverley’s little sister, Nicky, at a Star Wars opening, demanding that the actors give her their autographs, and seemingly attempting to order one of the actors to marry her and move into her river…just before Beverley intervenes and reminds her that they’re not to use their powers in that way. So adorable.

I’m currently reading Black Mould, but I took a short break to read another romance novel–an old one that I’d read many years ago, Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts. I just really needed the fluff and the guaranteed happy ending, without the eldritch horror of the Griffin and Whyborne series (which I will jump back into eventually). Life is hard, and sometimes escape is the best way to cope.

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