The magical wards of London are being systematically destroyed -- the ravens at the Tower of London are dead, the London Wall is defiled. Before the very fabric of London is sucked into chaos, Matthew Swift must solve the riddle of where Mo has gone, and who is scrawling the slogan `Give Me Back My Hat' across the walls of his city. In The Midnight Mayor, Kate Griffin takes the reader on a scorching tour around the city of London, introducing the Midnight Mayor and the extremely creepy Mr Pinner, Death of Cities.
If you liked A Madness of Angels, you'll enjoy The Midnight Mayor. Kate Griffin employs the same writing style, imbues the pages with the character of London, and builds on many of the concepts introduced in her first novel about Matthew Swift.
I did like A Madness of Angels -- very much. I loved the dense writing, the beautiful descriptions, and the way that Griffin was able to turn the mundane into the magical. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystical characters and reveled in the mystery of the blue electric angels.
The Midnight Mayor was very similar, and that comprises one of my complaints about it. There were so many echoes of the first novel that it felt as though I was still reading A Madness of Angels. Once more, the novel opens with Matthew Swift in a state of confusion. He then tackles a creature from the depths of nightmare. In the first book this was the litter-bug; in The Midnight Mayor he comes up against spectres that can be slowed down by the recitation of ASBOs. Then, as last time, we spend the majority of the story travelling around London and trying to use the rules of the Underground to prevent the villain from capturing Swift and Oda. Again, the finale is a breathless adventure tackling the dark soul that has been terrorising Swift -- in A Madness of Angels it is Hunger, and here it is the Death of Cities. I loved the first book, so it was no hardship to follow more adventures of Swift, but I would have liked to see more departure from the formula.
One way in which The Midnight Mayor departed in a grand fashion from A Madness of Angels was in the development of Matthew Swift's character. In this novel he truly came alive, stepping to the fore and taking charge in a way that he failed to do last time. This character development was handled deftly by Griffin, to the extent that it was only really at the end of the novel that you realised how far Swift had come from his first confused moments. I also want to mention the scene where Swift and the blue electric angels found their wings -- this was a real `punch the air' moment and it left me truly agape.
I also appreciated the little flashes of dark deadpan humour that Griffin has added to Matthew Swift's character. This added pathos and allows the reader to identify more easily with him:
"...It's like quests. You get told `go forth and seek the travelcard of destiny' and you know, I mean, you seriously know that it won't have just been left down the back of the sofa. You read -- seen -- Lord of the Rings?" "Yessss..." "Ever wondered why they didn't just get the damn eagles to go drop the One Ring into the volcano, since they seemed so damn nifty at getting into Mordor anyway?"
Griffin also successfully fleshes out some existing secondary characters -- such as Oda -- and brings in some intriguing new characters -- here the Aldermen were a highlight. This all helped to give The Midnight Mayor warmth that was missing in A Madness of Angels.
Altogether, The Midnight Mayor is another triumph of imagination and whimsical storytelling from Kate Griffin. I thoroughly enjoyed working my way through the stunning prose. The effort it takes to immerse yourself in the world of Matthew Swift is definitely repaid in full.
This is the continuing story of Matthew Swift, the Midnight Mayor of London. If you haven't read any of the other books in the series then I suggest you start with "The Madness of Angels" and progress through the series. There is so much in this book that just won't make sense otherwise.
Here we find ourselves in the "other" London. Where the Beggar King and the Bag Lady are real and the Aldermen, who supposedly support the Midnight Mayor, are not adverse to a bit of summoning, scrying, spells and, if need be, guns. Matthew Swift is the rather irreverent Mayor who goes about his own business with little regard for his PA, Kelly, who is trying to get him to attend meetings, address dinners and read paperwork. Matthew would rather be out looking for trouble - and it does find him.
Kelly, Matthew's PA, is quite brilliant. She has all the correct phraseology and seems to be able to solve any problem which crops up whilst seeming to be a fluffy chatterbox. Penny, Matthew's apprentice, is back with Attitude, a new friend and a shopping bug. The supporting character actors remain excellent such as the Beggar King and Dudley Sinclair. The Aldermen are fairly interchangeable as characters but I got the strong impression that they were deisgned to be fairly interchangeable - all dressed in black and driving black 4 x 4s.
This is an intricate book which is why it is vital to read the first few in the series. There were several occasions when I felt it all got unnecessarily wordy & I found myself skipping paragraphs. Yes, scene setting, description and atmosphere are vital but I did feel it was overdone in some areas.
There is quite a lot of darkness in this book. More than the previous ones in the series. I found myself questioning whether the ends justified the means a few too many times. The author presented us with a dark side to Matthew's character which she didn't really discuss afterwards. Did this make him a better or worse person carrying around his feelings? Perhaps this will crop up again in the next book.
In all this was an enjoyable read and a good continuation of the series. I shall certainly be keeping my eye out for the next one.
This book reads very much like the first one (A Madness of Angels (Matthew Swift 1)) - you're dropped in to the action right at the start and spend the rest of it unravelling the mystery. The style of writing is very fast-paced, the action never seeming to stop long enough to catch your breath. I enjoyed this book slightly more than the first one, which took me a while to get used to the writing style. I'd recommend this to anyone - especially those who've read the Night Watch (The Night Watch) series.
I think my only gripe with this (and the first book) is the lack of chapters. The books are split into parts, which is fine - but sometimes it's not possible to read 150 odd pages in one go, and I like to finish a chapter when I stop reading. Perhaps it's just me though - and I did still enjoy the book.
Having been glued by the original offering by Kate I really had to get my hands on this hot little number upon its release. Why? Well Kate has taken a touch of Neverwhere, blended it with a modern Urban Fantasy and topped it with a liberal splattering of that good ol Constantine magic that the reader can't help but enjoy. Whilst the first offering took a little bit to get into, this one really does hit the spot from the first page.
Whilst the arc may seem a little similar to the original offering, A Madness of Angels, this one really does take a different tack and exploration due to the differences with protagonist that really adds a touch of freshness to the outline. A great offering and one that the reader can jump into without having read the previous although personally I think you'll be missing a lot.
When sorcerer Matthew Swift finds himself attacked down a phone line and subsequently being blamed for the death of the mythical Midnight Mayor his world is about to change in strange ways he could never have expected as the city of London comes under supernatural attack. I've found myself really enjoying this urban fantasy series. The magic is imaginative and original and Matthew Swift the main character in the book is both likeable and interesting and totally unique. I'm honestly surprised this series isn't better known, but it's one I'll be recommending to friends. I'm now really looking forward to reading the next installment The Neon Court: A Matthew Swift Novel (Matthew Swift 3).
I came across this having read and thoroughly enjoyed Ben Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series. Although the Midnight Mayor is another book in the 'urban fantasy' sub-genre, it is very different, and it took a while to read into the rather more disjointed prose. I knew when I chose the Midnight Mayor that it was the second in the series, but a number of reviews of Kate Griffin's first Matthew Swift novel, made me think it would put me off them altogether. I found some of Matthew Swift's internal dialogue tedious, but that is probably the trouble with having two beings inhabiting one body. However, I was sufficiently gripped to want to know what happens next and how Matthew develops his role and comes to terms with what has happened to him - assuming that he does or can. I suppose my problem at the moment is that I don't like Matthew and maybe I don't need to and it doesn't matter, but it helps if you care sufficiently about the protagonist to want them to survive into the next book.
I haven't finished reading the entire book, so no spoilers but I will say that the writing is just as good (and has the same flaws) as the first book. It's compelling and engaging to read, as long as you skip over the huge paragraphs of pointless 'laundry list' descriptions. But those are easy to identify and you miss nothing important if you skip them. (One could argue the details provide 'atmosphere' but the sheer amount of detail makes the detail boring rather than building the scene. The atmosphere and setting could be just as easily served with 1/3 the amount of detail - and if you read the first book you probably know what I'm talking about.)
But that one flaw really doesn't diminish the story itself and I find that even when I know what's going to happen next, something else also happens to further the mystery and keep me turning pages. I'm very glad I have book 3 already on my bookshelf waiting for me.
I really disliked the first book vehemently and it is one of only 2 1 stars I have ever rated. It was a struggle to read and I thought it badly written and too disjointed. But there was a sample chapter of this one in another book I read and I got straight in to it. Much more cohesive than number and and a fantastic read. The only reason it gets 4 not 5 stars is I still think the angels go on a little to much and since time was of the essence why they wax lyrical is beyond me. That said I will be getting the next one on the strength of this as I think as the author grows into writing adult fiction she has the potential to create a series as good as the Dresden files. Very impressed