Today I went and bought me a digital copy of Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London, the first volume in a long series of British urban fantasies I’ve been eyeing for a while with mixed interest. On one hand, I read some great reviews, and the London setting I find fascinating, on the other I’m not so hot about urban fantasy or modern fantasy.
What got me decided today is a mix of three different reasons:
- Reason the first – it’s been announced that a TV adaptation of the series is in the works, produced by Stolen Pictures and featuring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I loved the Cornetto Trilogy, and I was positively impressed by what Nick Frost did on Into the Badlands, and therefore I’m quite happy with the news. I know I’ll watch the show, so why not start checking out the books, too?
- Reason the second – the Italian branch of Amazon is selling the first ebook in the series for less than the price of a Cornetto… should the book turn out to be not to my liking, I’m not wasting any money.
- Reason the third – I’ve just read an ugly review of this book, posted by a person that so far has never let me down: if he says the book sucks, I know I’m going to love it.
This last bit is worth expanding a little.
It was Gene Siskel, I think, that said that a good review is one that provides the reviewer’s opinions and feelings about the movie (or the book) and that allows the readers to decide whether that work is something they might like or not independently of the reviewer’s opinion.
A negative review might in this sense still tell us this book (or movie) is what we might like anyway, and conversely, a positive review might still tell us this movie is not for us.
This is the reason why it is important to find reviewers we can trust – I think about Kim Newman, or Mark Kermode or, back in the day, Siskel and Ebert.
But there’s a number of reviewers – especially in the blogsphere hereabouts – I know I can trust to say exactly the opposite of what will be my reaction to a book. This, too, is a form of trust.
And today it sold me a book.