I found this book hard to put down … in fact the only reason it took me nearly a month to read it is because a) its a thick book with small print, b) I’ve been extremely busy with not much time to read and c) I’ve always been a slow reader.
In this second book about the London sorcerer Matthew Swift, we find Matthew dragged into the magical politics of the city. He’s been made Midnight Mayor, protector of the city, just as the death of cities is working his mojo on London. Can he stay alive long enough to save the city?
Reading the second book in a series without having read the first can often be a challenge, but Kate Griffin (pseudonym of young adult author Catherine Webb), made the task quite easy on me. There was a enough information given to help the uninitiated make sense of what was going on while, I believe, avoiding pissing off readers of the first book with too much “been there, done that” information.
I only found myself lost for the first few pages as she went back and forth between “I” and “we.” Turns out Matthew Swift isn’t entirely Matthew Swift anymore … he’s also the electric blue angels. Given that the first book is called A Madness of Angels, I suspect that that fine point is explained in greater detail there.
What Worked for Me
The Midnight Mayor is written with a quick, staccato rhythm that suits the urban noir of the story. If magic realism and dark urban fantasy had a child, this book would be the result.
Matthew Swift/the electric blue angels is a likable character who, throughout the book often has the opportunity to say, “Still not dead. Ta-da!” He is almost snarky in the face of imminent demise, somehow managing to grasp the barely appropriate magic out of the air to save his ass (and that of his reluctant companion, Oda).
Oda believes Matthew is dammed, but for a dammed person he really, actually cares about people. He is somewhat of an innocent in the happenings of this story, and yet all his allies would almost rather see him dead. Still not dead, ta-da!
The rapid-fire, almost stream of consciousness writing style, coupled with the likable, humorous semi-anti-hero protagonist made this an entertaining read. The constant twists and turns and dangerous situations made it a page turner.
What Didn’t Work for Me
It probably isn’t fair, but the opening did have me lost for awhile. For that reason, I’d recommend reading the first book first.
The ending, although appropriate on some levels, almost felt anti-climactic. Of course, that could be because the whole book was so fast paced that once it slowed to a stop at the end, it left you feeling like an adrenaline junky who had just ran out of adrenaline.
Ultimately, there really wasn’t much about this novel that didn’t work. It was a truly enjoyable read and I look forward to backtracking and reading A Madness of Angels, as well as any future books in the Matthew Swift series.
SCORE: 5 out of 5 Palm Trees Possible
NOTE: Although I received this book free to review, that did not affect my opinion of the book. Read past reviews of books Iâ€™ve received for free and youâ€™ll know I donâ€™t hold my punches.