Archive for Kate Griffin

Heavy is the Head

Posted in Fiction, New release, Reading List with tags , , , , , , on June 7, 2012 by jaclemens

Matthew Swift is no Henry IV, but his head is uneasy all the same. It’s already occupied by the blue electric angels, and now he has to wrap it around the minutiae of being the Midnight Mayor. Swift was tagged to replace the outgoing (i.e. deceased) mayor in book two of this series, but it’s taken some time for him to settle into the role. Officiating is not his forte, so he allows the Aldermen to handle the majority of running the city. But when he discovers that a Minority Council has mucked it up behind his back, Swift must ferret out the members who have double-crossed the Midnight Mayor. While Swift is busy learning to be more mayoral we get to see him be more human, which makes this fourth book seem more like the first.

The grave burden of governance is also a theme in Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers, written by Robert Rodi with ethereal illustrations by Esad Ribic. In the smash hit movie The Avengers Thor tells Loki that the throne would suit him ill; in Blood Brothers Loki learns the truth of those words. Having defeated Thor and deposed Odin, Loki claims the throne of Asgard. To rule is not in his nature, however. Loki would be more comfortable bound in chains with a serpent dripping venom in his eyes than seated upon the throne before a throng of petitioners. Assuming the throne does not make someone fit to wear the crown.

Court Summons

Posted in Fiction, Reading List with tags , , , on January 5, 2012 by jaclemens

“What evil lurks in the stab wounds to the heart of a woman who should be deceased, not possessed?” That is the riddle Matthew Swift must unravel after he is unwittingly summoned into a burning building and finds his conjoined selves lying in a pool of another person’s blood. That person turns out to be Swift’s compatriot Oda, who asks him to help her, and to kill her. Someone else has clearly made an attempt at the latter, but Oda is unnaturally clinging to life. Oda, otherwise known to Swift as “Psycho-bitch,” has threatened to kill Swift for being a sorcerer on numerous occasions, but on this occasion she is requesting her death at his marked hands. Swift’s hands are marked because he is the Midnight Mayor, and, as such, he is drawn into not only burning buildings, but is also embroiled by his office’s treaty in the conflict between the Neon Court and the Tribe, two diametrically opposed factions with a longstanding feud that has boiled over. Then Oda’s eyes take on the look of boiled pudding, and to meet her gaze is to meet your own encephelo-exsanguination. If that weren’t enough, Swift is caught between the projection of his dead mentor, Mr. Bakker, and his new apprentice, Penny. It all adds up to one hellishly long day in court for the Midnight Mayor!

Red (Electrical) Tape

Posted in Fiction, Reading List, Recommendations with tags , , on July 8, 2011 by jaclemens

Matthew Swift gets his wires crossed with the Midnight Mayor, London’s legendary protector, in this second book in the series by Kate Griffin. Swift doesn’t believe in the Midnight Mayor personally, as that would entail believing that the mighty city needs protection. What force could be powerful enough to threaten the entire city? As the magical wards of the city begin to fail one by one, it falls to Swift to unravel the augury firsthand.

The Midnight Mayor didn’t have quite the same electrical effect on me as A Madness of Angels (see review posted on 5/12/09 ), but Griffin doesn’t pull any punches in this sequel! I would recommend this series to fans of China Miéville’s Kraken.

And In The Third Book He Arose

Posted in Fiction, New release, Recommendations with tags , , on May 12, 2009 by jaclemens

Madness of AngelsThe third book in my recent spate of men brought back to life books, A Madness of Angels: Or, The Resurrection of Matthew Swift was just as “dark fantastic” as The Dark Volume and The Watch. In The Dark Volume blue glass alchemy brings a man back to life, whereas in A Madness of Angels blue electric angels do the trick. The Watch reminded me of lines from U2’s “No Line On The Horizon;” A Madness of Angels reminds of these lines from “Breathe”:

Nine 0 nine, St. John Divine, on the line, my pulse is fine
But I’m running down the road like loose electricity
While the band in my head plays a striptease

The band in Matthew Swift’s head are the blue electric angels, incorporated with him upon his resurrection, and their tease is “come be we and be free.”  Swift is an urban sorcerer, one who draws upon the power of the city around him, but returning to mortality two years after his murder is not the work of any of his spells.  Someone has summoned him back, and the blue electric angels have come with him. The spectre that killed him before is after him again, but this time it has competition from both the blue electric angels as well as other factions that want to subject or destroy the angels for their own purposes.

Kate Griffin, otherwise known as YA author Catherine Webb, breathes life into an eclectic, electric debut.  I was so drawn into this story that I missed my bus stop.  When I belatedly stepped out into the rain I felt like the air was charged with power that could be tapped.  Swift tells his comrades in arms that sorcery is just a different point of view, a unique way of viewing the world around them,  and there just may be something to that.  This book is certainly unique and unpredictable, and there is certainly something to be said for that.