Monday, 23 May 2011

The Neon Court Review

The Neon Court (Matthew Swift 3)
-       Kate Griffin
Publisher: UK – Orbit
When the city was founded, he was the mad native spirit that waited in the dark, on the edge of the torchlight. When the streets were cobbled over, he became the footsteps heard on stone that you cannot see. When the Victorians introduced street lighting, he was the shadow who always shied away from the light, and when the gas went out, there he was. The shadow at the end of the alley, the footsteps half-heard in the night. A daimyo of the Neon Court is dead. So are two warriors of the Tribe. And a freshly-prophesied 'chosen one' is missing. Each side blames the other and Matthew Swift is right in the middle of it, trying to keep the peace. Because when magicians go to war, everyone loses. But Swift has even bigger problems. A dead woman is trying to kill him and the city itself is under attack from a force of unimaginable power. As if trying to stay one step ahead of an assassin and juggling magical politics weren't challenging enough, Swift must also find a way to defeat a primal threat from humanity's darkest nightmares. Or there may not be a London left to fight over ...
I love London. I live on the outskirts and have spent many a happy hour wandering the streets, footpaths and cobbles of the city. If there was one series of books that best describes the magic of London, it would be the Matthew Swift series. Once again Kate Griffin has captured the uniqueness of a city so old and new, both dirty and clean, ordinary and extra-ordinary. The system of magic is based on urban magic, electricity and concrete, rush hour and terms and conditions can carry their own spell. The writing is so detailed and layered and just sucks you in – once you get used to the style. 300 pages that feel like a lungful of air to a drowning man – vital, life saving and far too short.
The previous two Matthew Swift books had him swept up in events beyond his control, but this time Matthew takes charge as his character has grown and developed. His apprentice Penny has helped ground him and gives him someone else to care about. At the same time his new responsibilities both to Penny and the city are taken seriously and as ever Matthew and the blue electric angels don’t want to die. They fight for the city, for Penny, for themselves and weep over those they can’t save.  
This may not be the place to start if you haven’t read any Kate Griffin before, as many elements of the story do refer to previous events and existing relationships. But that just means you have three fantastic books to read ahead of you! Start with A Madness of Angels and then The Midnight Mayor. I can not recommend this series enough.
Recommended for fans of Felix Castor and China Mieville. 10 out of 10.


  1. Sounds good :) And I read way too few books like this with male leading characters (not counting fantasy here ;)

  2. I've heard good things about this author. Oh this sound so good and I need to read her soon.

  3. Oh, I haven't read this series yet, but I do want to. It sounds like a great read. :) Thank you for the great review!