Monday, 30 August 2010

The Midnight Mayor Review

The Midnight Mayor

- Kate Griffin

Publisher: UK – Orbit

It's said that if the ravens ever leave the Tower of London, then the Tower will crumble and the kingdom will fall. As it happens, that's not so far from the truth ...One by one, the magical wards that guard the city are failing: the London Wall defiled with cryptic graffiti, the ravens found dead at the Tower, the London Stone destroyed. This is not good news. This array of supernatural defences - a mix of international tourist attractions and forgotten urban legends - formed a formidable magical shield. Protection for the City of London against ...well, that's the question, isn't it? What could be so dangerous as to threaten an entire city? Against his better judgement, resurrected sorcerer Matthew Swift is about to find out. And if he's lucky, he might just live long enough to do something about it ...

A Madness of Angels was one of my favourite reads last year and The Midnight Mayor follows the same vein. While initially the story is somewhat similar to A Madness.., the character of Matthew Swift is explored in more depth. At first he’s woken up confused and chased by Spectres and soon realises the Midnight Mayor is dead and London is under attack. This time however, instead of Swift’s motivation being revenge, its fear for himself and his city that drives his actions. As the book progresses we follow Swifts journey – both literally and figuratively and see a more vulnerable side than we’ve not seen before and eventually it is his humanity that saves the day. There are times when he fears he won’t survive and that made me connect to him more this time than in the first book. The relationship between Swift and his enemy/partner Oda is expanded in this story and has a very bittersweet feel to it.

The writing is as atmospheric and beautiful as ever with the descriptions of London dirty, truthful and spot on. The action travels all over the city from Morden to Willesden and it obvious Griffin loves this city. As a Londoner myself it just made me love the book even more as I recognise the attitudes of the people and the places described.

This is an Urban fantasy book as it deals with sorcerers in a city setting, but this is very much set in our world with little in common with the ‘regular’ urban fantasy – and perhaps better for it.
Recommended for Mike Carey and Jim Butcher fans – but read A Madness of Angels first. I don’t think it’s necessary to read this book, but it is an excellent book as well. 10 out of 10 – highly recommended.

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