The story was one of the weaker parts of the book. When I am reading the first book of a series, I expect the author to take me along somewhat slowly and introduce me to the world and to the characters. At the outset of the book, we are given a minimal introduction to Alex Verus, the central character. We are given a sense of his power and the BAM, we are introduced to other characters and the allusion to backstory. At time it felt as if the author expected us to share Alex's ability to see into the future. The result was a feeling of disorientation in the early stages of the book. About half way through you regain equilibrium and gather a sense of what is happening. From there, the story is entertaining, although at times it is choppy and the feeling of disorientation returns.
This is not to say that the book is not interesting. The author creates and interesting fantasy world filled with Light and Dark Mages of various types. It is less "urban" and more "fantasy" in my opinion. One of the supporting character whom he loosely describes as his "apprentice" has an interesting power/curse which I assume will be explored in the subsequent books.
Alex Verus is, at least in the first book, is not as entertaining as the other UF wizards. Peter Grant in the books by [a:Ben Aaronovitch|363130|Ben Aaronovitch|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1308855588p2/363130.jpg] are at the top of the class, followed closely by Mr. Dresden himself. While his ability to see into the future was interesting there was something about the character that made me dislike him. When reading review of UF with male leads, the characters are often referred to as chauvinistic or misogynist. I unually disagree but with Alex Verus, he was more that just protective of the female characters, he spoke down to them as small children from time to time. It wasn't fitting for a modern fantasy.
My last beef about the book was the setting. The setting is London, England but it might as well have been Any City, USA. I would expect the people of London to talk like they were in London and I would expect to feel as if I am in that Local. I am somewhat ruined by
[b:Midnight Riot|8680417|Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1)|Ben Aaronovitch|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320484733s/8680417.jpg|13552476] which does a superb job in using the setting of City of London and speech and mannerisms of the people. A wasted opportunity.
Regardless, fans of UF should enjoy this book. While not up to par with its siblings, it holds its own.