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Stray Souls (Magicals Anonymous) Paperback – 25 Oct 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0356500640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0356500645
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 348,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Griffin's writing is as fluent and enjoyable as always, with a hint of humour that verges on Pratchett-esque (SFX)

Kate Griffin flawlessly balances horror and humour to . . . pull off a funny yet frightening read about the supernatural-induced demise of London . . . both unique and addictive (SCIFI NOW)

Book Description

The first book in a new urban magic series from the author of the Matthew Swift novels set in London's hidden otherworld

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is set in the same world - and the same backdrop - as Griffin's highly successful Midnight Mayor series, featuring Matthew Swift as her conflicted and very powerful protagonist and is definitely one for the adults. Sammy the Elbow, the world's second best shaman, sprinkles his dialogue with language almost as foul as his smell...

This book is written in multiple viewpoint, with no first person narrative, so we get a ringside seat to witness the struggles of Rhys, a druid forced to shelter from Nature due to his chronic hay fever; Gretel the troll, who wants to cook; Sally the banshee, who writes everything down on a whiteboard so that her magically-enhanced voice doesn't drive men mad; Kevin, the vampire who has major issues with blood - along with any other fluids that may pose a risk of infection... Even Matthew Swift, the Midnight Mayor isn't particularly effective - his specialty being to blow things up in a messy destructive manner, whereas this job requires finesse. I've enjoyed all the Midnight Mayor books and come to admire Griffin's writing talent - however my misgiving was that with such a very powerful main character, the forces ranged against him also had to be equally huge, or there was no real plot. But, the motley crew surrounding Sharon certainly don't fall into that category.
I expected an action-packed plot wound full of tension and vivid descriptions of some of the less wholesome parts of London, which I certainly got - but what was a delightful surprise were the laugh-aloud moments. And this book is full of them. Griffin's humour is pitch-perfect and a wonderful counterpoint to the full-on action and pathos. A book that leaves me with a lump in my throat while making me laugh always has a special place in my heart - it doesn't happen all that often.
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Format: Paperback
Sharon Li is a Shaman - she just doesn't know it yet. She begins a group, Magicals Anonymous, for all those people who are a little bit out of the ordinary and finds herself trying to save the city.
This book was a little bit slow to begin with while the reader was getting to know the characters and the London in which they live. However as the book progressed I found myself getting more and more involved and was really quite sad when I finished it! The underlying plot is fairly basic - magical people/creatures need to save the city from a bad magical creature, in this case a wendigo. Yes, I had to google it too! (other search engines are available!). By keeping the basic plot quite simple the reader was able to enjoy the characters that were created without frantically trying to keep track of the twists and turns. I wonder if the next in the series will have a slightly more complex plot as we have now got to know the characters? I look forward to finding out.
The characters in this book are simply wonderful - Sammy the Goblin who also happens to be the second greatest Shaman in the world, the Midnight Mayor, Sally the art loving Banshee, Gretel the cookery loving troll, Rhys the allergic druid, Kevin the OCD vampire........a fantastic collection of characters from what can only be described as a most unusual imagination!
There is also a lot of humour in this book - well the character list gives that away for starters. I found myself chuckling out loud and received some strange looks from my family (not an altogether unusual event!).
This book was very individual but there are slight similarities with the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher, the odd hint of Terry Pratchett's work and a dash of the Rivers of London Series by Ben Aaronovich. If you liked any of those books then this series is definitely worth a try. In fact, whether you have read any of those books or not why not give this a try?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I hadn't read any of the Midnight Mayor books before reading Stray Souls, but this didn't affect my enjoyment of the book. I suspect that, if I go on to read the original series, a little more depth of meaning to some of the scenes in this book will be added but I don't think the lack of familiarity with this authors world made a big difference in understand what was going on as the book did seem to stand alone rather well. (Although I was reminded of Simon R Green's Nightside a few times, although Kate Griffin's shadow London is a slightly cuddlier, friendly place than the Nightside.)

The book follows Sharon Li, a beginner Shaman, who sets up a self-help group for confused and conflicted magical beings. She, and eventually her support group Magicals Anonymous, get dragged into a saving the city from some rather evil property developers backed by bankers.

I enjoyed the story and the way the plot rattled along well.

The author doesn't choose a single perspective to write from but each (sometimes very short) chapter reflects the perspective of a different character. This is an interesting approach which works well in a book with quite a large number of characters - you get a really clear sense of who they area and what motivates them. The characters are essentially a succession of slightly comedic archetypes: the vampire with massive hygiene issues and a problem with blood and a very grumpy, smelly goblin and a terribly polite art-loving banshee but they are well-written enough to be sympathetic and engaging. There are some points when things start getting quite silly, but just stay on the side of being fun and entertaining.
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