The Midnight Mayor: A Matthew Swift Novel

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Matthew Swift series

He'll cajole a key into fitting into a lock one moment, then smash his fist, crackling with electricity, into an alarm the next. He loves street food, wants to know everyone's names, gives all his money to beggars, tells anyone about magic who'll listen, refuses to kill his enemies--he's basically my favorite character ever.

The other characters are equally intriguing but I hesitate to name names, lest I spoil anything. I love these books, and I can't wait to read the next one. Spectres and Saturates scum monsters stalk or squish through the streets. There is writing on the walls of London. The ravens of the Tower are dead. And Matthew Swift, somewhat-deceased, partially-possessed sorcerer, has been attacked through the very phone lines from which he draws part of his identity.

When he awakens from unconsciousness, wounded and bleeding, it is to the realisation that the Midnight Mayor, mysterious protector of the city, has been murdered. But what with the disturbing entity calling itself the Death of Cities after him, he hardly has time to care about all the people from his own side who suspect him of having a hand in the Mayor's death.

There is no way that I can write a review that adequately captures the world that Kate Griffin creates. Honestly, I think this song --"Septimus" from the soundtrack of Stardust--with its quixotic uplifting tone and darker undercurrents, captures the story better than any words of mine. I was floored by the sheer creativity of A Madness of Angels , and Midnight Mayor is just as fantastically inventive.

The sheer creativity of the world is delightful: In the end, the darker mood was far outweighed by dry wit and extravagant imagination. This book made me smile, and that is too rare and wonderful to resist. Jul 14, Amanda rated it it was amazing Shelves: The magical wards of London are being systematically destroyed — the ravens at the Tower of London are dead, the London Wall is defiled. 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, The magical wards of London are being systematically destroyed — the ravens at the Tower of London are dead, the London Wall is defiled.

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. 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. This added pathos and allows the reader to identify more easily with him: You read — seen — Lord of the Rings?

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. Oh, that beautiful moment when you read just the right book at just the right time! In book 2 we have Matthew waking up, having been fried by a telephone booth. Because the blue angels certainly can't pass up the opportunity to answer a ringing phone, you know?

We meet the Alderman, the Midnight Mayor, a man who has no smell, and we get to see Oda again. There was a wonderful mix of magic we're familiar with and magic that was new, and some that we knew that failed this time around. It's fun to se Oh, that beautiful moment when you read just the right book at just the right time! It's fun to see how Matthew taps into the life of the city and how much he appreciates it. Because Magic is life. And while I struggled with Matthew's strange character in the first book, I find that in this one his madness adds an incredibly unique quality to this character.

I'm very pleased that I read this book and I enjoyed it much more than the prior one. It's fun, creative, unique, and very funny.

Disparate Pieces

There were so many quote-worthy moments that I'm lucky I was reading it on the Kindle that isn't directly connected to Goodreads. Good fun and I can't wait for more. View all 3 comments.

Nov 03, Phrynne rated it it was amazing. I loved everything about this book. Matthew Swift has to be one of the best characters ever invented and I still say he must be Harry Dresden's long lost cousin or even his twin brother separated at birth. The descriptions of London are magnificent and actually make me homesick which is amazing since England has not been my home for many years now. The pace of the story is relentless and it is very hard to put the book down at any point. There is one scene in which Matthew and the Wow, just wow!

There is one scene in which Matthew and the blue electric angels use the power from the rail in the Underground to save themselves which is just brilliant. I had to read it twice. This is the second book in the Matthew Swift series and it is every little bit as good as the first. If you like urban fantasy then you will love this book! Oct 04, Xing rated it really liked it. The plot was more fast paced than the first book, and the dialogue just as fun and intriguing.

Though I still stand that the amount of detail i. Asides from that, definitely a great read! Jul 15, Kristin rated it it was amazing Shelves: Matthew Swift has died and been resurrected once before, and he would very much like to stay alive for good this time, thank you very much. It's too bad someone has other plans. The Midnight Mayor has been found dead of thousands upon thousands of small slices to the skin, with clothing and even fingernails somehow untouched. With the protective wards of the city down and the Midni Matthew Swift has died and been resurrected once before, and he would very much like to stay alive for good this time, thank you very much.

I fall in love with Kate Griffin's writing a little more with each book I read. I know some aren't overly fond of her writing style, feeling that her descriptions of London are a bit too list-like, or scenes a bit too rambling. I feel like I could use her books to get myself around London without getting horribly lost. Her use of language is like candy to me, and I eat up every single word. The characters in this one, as in her other books, are plenty unique. A personal favorite of mine was Boom Boom, a club owner with a whale of a cardiac problem.

I also found the Big Bad to be fairly unsettling. The magic, spells, and enchantments used are really clever, and often quite intense from both sides, good and bad. Can't wait to start the next book in the series. Mar 23, N. Jemisin rated it it was amazing. Almost gave this one four stars, because it started out too much like the first book, and I don't actually like it when subsequent books in a trilogy give me more of the same. It even started off the same way: Matthew awakens, disoriented and afflicted with strange magic, then has to immediately fight off a dire threat spectres this time, instead of the litterbug of the first book.

But soon we're introduced to new marvels and mysteries, like the Aldermen, and soon we get something I hadn't rea Almost gave this one four stars, because it started out too much like the first book, and I don't actually like it when subsequent books in a trilogy give me more of the same. But soon we're introduced to new marvels and mysteries, like the Aldermen, and soon we get something I hadn't realized I'd been craving: He earns a lady friend!

He almost gets Oda to crack a smile! Even the angels get to try something new, and glorious. And the ending won me over wholly, along with whetting my appetite for book 3 of the series. Mar 09, William Crosby rated it liked it. But way too much description of London for my tastes. I do not enjoy reading travelogues. If that is your thing, then check this book out. A slightly different view of London. The writer likes lists. Some of her paragraphs are just long lists of what the narrator sees and other various lists.

I do not like lists. I found myself skimming. And a fascinating take on magic. Dec 23, Dan rated it really liked it. Also, the author writes too much description. I've learned to skim over all the comma-separated lists of scenery elements. I understand that the main character draws strength from his environment, but still. She should have just had one item per scene. Sep 19, Jenny rated it it was amazing Shelves: These books are like a rich chocolate cake, so, so good!

One sliver almost makes you keel over from a sugar high, but you just can't stop. And why would you? I love, love, love these book!!! This one was just as good, or better than the first. Oh how I loathe waiting for the next! Jan 23, A. Matthew Swift is possessed by the blue angels of the telephone lines and they cannot leave a phone ringing.

So when a public phone box rings, he answers it. Then he is accused of killing the Midnight Mayor - the magic mayor of London. Which is odd, because he IS the new mayor.

The Midnight Mayor – Claire North and Kate Griffin

The old one has died in a bizarre death of a thousand paper cuts way. Nice… Who has actually called him down on London is another matter. He has to be summoned. Same as the first one: I loved the world building but I ground my teeth at the writing style. I just skipped every conversation with the Order member Oda.

Swift has to say everything to her at least three times before she seems to understand. If she is opposed to magic then she has to admit that it exists! As a reader I find it so annoying. Duh… you find a guy with a bandage and you ALL know that is how the job transfers because you were all hoping it went to one of you?

They were worse than useless. And this was a group that was supposed to be all powerful. I was just not caught up in the ending. It was just… too bizarre. Pity because there were some cool images like the guy with the heart of a DJ. Sort of… 2 stars Jun 10, Anita rated it really liked it. I read the first book in this trilogy, "A Madness of Angels", about three years ago.

I was very impressed by the story, the characters, and the magic that exists just as a by-product of the heart of the city and it's inhabitants. I was drawn into the urban fantasy and daydreamed about it's magic and ideas long after I finished the book. Three years later, I finally decided to continue the adventure, and revisit the mystical sounds, sights, and smells of London. The Midnight Mayor d Life is magic.

The Midnight Mayor did not disappoint, in fact as good as the first book was, "The Midnight Mayor" was twice as captivating and exciting as the first book. Nov 17, Peter Taylor rated it it was amazing. From the cover It's said that if the ravens ever leave the Tower of London, then the Tower will crumble and the kingdom will fall.


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As it happens, that's not so far from the truth One by one, the magical wards that guard the city are failing; the London Wall defiled with cryptic graffiti; the ravens found dead at the Tower; the London Stone destroyed. The array of supernatural defences - a mix of international tourist attractions and forgotten urban legends - formed a for From the cover It's said that if the ravens ever leave the Tower of London, then the Tower will crumble and the kingdom will fall.

The array of supernatural defences - a mix of international tourist attractions and forgotten urban legends - formed a formidable magical shield. Protection for the City of London against What could be so dangerous as to threaten an entire city? Against his better judgement, resurrected sorcerer Matthew Swift is about to find out.

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And if he's lucky he might just live long enough to do something about it I liked this book a lot. Partly, because like Terry Pratchett, Kate takes a simple idea and stretches it to an extreme, but I think with a darker side. The only possible downside was that it had fairly long descriptive passages, but since I've always liked London these did not distract me. Below are some extracts About London "Fleet Street. Pinstriped trousers, perfect silk hats, swished black hair, black leather briefcases.

Lawyers and Bankers, the common rich men of the city" "Waterloo, where the chaotic street plan had fallen like custard from a trembling spoon" "Behind HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge was lit up in dangling red and green lights. The Tower of London sat squat and orange, like an angry garden gnome in the family too long to care that it was now cracked and ugly" "St Pancras International.

Some wise cracker had announced in the 's that, with the Houses of Parliament having burnt down there should be a competition to build the replacement. Pancras was one of the entries. If British MP's wore sweeping cloaks and cackled at the moon it would have been the perfect place" "Acton is a borough that prides itself in not being Acton. Wherever you live in Acton it is your noble and firm intention to make it clear that you do not really live in Acton. You live in Ealing, or maybe if you're low on luck Ealing Borders.

Or you live in Park Royal, or maybe you're almost Chiswick - wherever you are if you live in Acton then you don't" "Bethnal Green, just far enough from squalor to be respectable, far enough from wealth to be poor, winding enough to be old, open enough to be new, where all the buses met and divided, to take their passengers to a place more certain than the crossroads where all these things converged" Miscellaneous that I liked - "Dawn and sunset in winter both happen when you're not looking.

Affections for the written word

You can see the beginnings of daylight, the shimmerings of dusk, the bending of the shadows, but the actual moment when the sun hits the horizon in either direction is lost behind a building or in a moment of distracted conversation" "Supposition took facts bloody hand for the dance and cha-chaed round the room" "We do not understand why people who watch the workings of the washing machine are mocked.

Meditation classes and serene chants have nothing on the slow turning of socks in soapy water" "Never ask a mother about their kids. Far more sensible to ask their shoes" Men, when they buy shoes, invest body and soul in the effort. This is not just a pair of shoes - this is the pair of shoes, the one and only, they have to be perfect, they have to be right" "Our face in the bedroom mirror would have frightened a dead horse that had already seen the innards of the glue factory" "Evening asked night if it was free for a coffee.

Night sheepishly went in search of its dancing shoes, having left them somewhere behind the spotlights" "The wind was nose-bite icy, ear-dropping cold" "We were beginning to understand why in pre-anaesthetic days, the Bible had stipulated that suicide was a sin. Anything other than the prospect of eternal damnation, and the human race would have probably done away with itself at the first sign of the dentist" Aug 23, Nicole rated it really liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

To view it, click here. One complaint that has nothing to do with the author: This book is far trippier than the previous one. Just one thing among many: How weird is that?! There are even more fun pop culture references in this one than I recall from the first book. The running joke about Jedi was especially cute. Matthew continues to be a fascinating character, someone with sometimes-scary power and a decidedly snarky side who also has an impressive moral compass.

I found Oda more intriguing than she was in the first book. She continues to hold her seemingly inflexible religious views, yet helps Matthew anyway.


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  5. The Thames seems to be the only natural thing that Matthew can draw a lot of magical power from--I guess because the river is so much a part of London? Dec 29, Vijay rated it really liked it. This series by Kate Griffin Catherine Webb is rapidly becoming one of the more exciting and original urban fantasy series I've encountered.

    Where most authors simply transpose traditional notions of magic to contemporary or urban settings, Griffin conceives of a world in which magic, powered by life and belief, evolves to fit the modern day. The result is a brilliantly vivid portrayal of London and the vibrant pace and chaos of one of the world's most bustling metropolises. The first book in th This series by Kate Griffin Catherine Webb is rapidly becoming one of the more exciting and original urban fantasy series I've encountered.

    The first book in the series, "A Madness of Angels", was excellent, and the development of the protagonist into a multi-faceted complex entity unfolded brilliantly. Now, with the repercussions of the first book still being felt across the city, this book delves deeper, both in building the main character and in exploring his world.

    I also think this book did a better job of infusing humor into the narrative. This isn't necessarily an easy read. The style of the narrative is occasionally and quite intentionally chaotic stream-of-consciousness. While that's one of the things I love about these novels, readers who prefer things to be more orderly and sensible might find this to be a bit of a headache. Still, if you like your urban fantasy a little quirky without descending to the silly, darkly humorous and still deeply moving, then you should give these novels a shot.

    If you read enough fantasy, the idea of magic ceases to be unusual, even if still impressive. Griffin reminds us that life and civilization and magic are all still miraculous and beautiful and worthy of our awe. I'm very much looking forward to the third book in the series, "The Neon Court", coming out this spring. And next time I visit London, I may brush up on the first two novels to build a walking tour based on the various haunts figurative and literal explored in the series, and try to explore the city's mythology a little more deeply.

    Jul 05, J. Robinson rated it it was amazing Shelves: Let me start from the beginning. It all started in March this year, when the cover of The Midnight Mayor caught my eye on the shelf. Who could resist picking that up and buying it? Reluctantly, I went back and found the first book, A Madness of Angels Let me start from the beginning.

    Reluctantly, I went back and found the first book, A Madness of Angels. These books are really well written.

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    I am we and We are me. My favorite scenes to name a few in The Midnight Mayor: And then there was a scene where Matthew and secondary character Oda, were running from the villain of the book. Matthew pulls them down on to the undergrounds tracks, and after touching the live line, spreads blue digital wings to fly them away! Besides the characters, and the fantastic scenes, I loved that the books offered a philosophy that anyone, and not just those in the books, could live by.

    The theme of urban sorcerers finding magic within the confines of everyday things, within the city itself, was just amazing and really, a whole new look on magic. I highly suggest reading these books! We be light, we be life, we be fire! We sing electric flame, we rumble underground wind, we dance heaven! Come be we and be free! We blue electric angels. Feb 14, Fyonfyon rated it it was amazing Shelves: Having found the first book in this sequence a very pleasant if blood-soaked surprise, I was more than happy to get stuck into the second of the series.

    And it was clear straight away that this was not going to be some lacklustre retread of previous works certain US authors of similar genres - I'm looking at you. With a little sniff of contempt. Sure all the elements that made the first book such fun are still here - at times bone dry humour, plenty of snappy dialogue and ac Having found the first book in this sequence a very pleasant if blood-soaked surprise, I was more than happy to get stuck into the second of the series.

    Sure all the elements that made the first book such fun are still here - at times bone dry humour, plenty of snappy dialogue and action sequences that seem all but broadcasted onto your eyeballs - in 3D Imax glory. But it's also pretty clear that we're stepping up the pace more than a notch as we all but plunge into some blistering action that doesn't relent. And once it starts oooooh, around sentence two it doesn't relent. The surviving cast members from first time around are back, joined by a new set of faces as well as an overall enemy that is quite frankly awesome - both in terms of the restained menance he embodies physically and the incredible power he possesses.

    I don't know how Kate Griffin came up with the Death of Cities as a concept, but it's a stroke of utter genius Our hero - Matthew Swift - has also evolved a little since his first outing. It was easily the best book this reviewer read all last year. For those of you who have, The Midnight Mayor lives up to every expectation you might have. In fact, arguably, it's better. Where A Madness of Angels dumped you right in the deep end of a confusing and highly detailed world, you come to The Midnight Mayor with all that prior knowledge. Reading the first few pages are like slipping back into a comfortable chair.

    The characters, the rules, the style are all familiar, which allows you to get to the important thing — the story. And it's a very good story. Griffin writes with such confidence, revealing only the tiniest scraps of information as she drags you across London and back again at breakneck speed, trusting entirely that you'll stick out the ride. About halfway through you'll realise you still have no clue what's going on, but somehow it doesn't matter — you'll be so completely engrossed in the world and characters that you won't want the journey to end. The world Griffin has created around Matthew Swift is such a vibrant and exciting place, made even better by telling observations about life — for magic is life, and life is magic — such as being able to drown anything in the bottom of a beer bottle.

    The vampires and werewolves we've come to associate with urban fantasy have been replaced by hoodie wearing spectres, listening to bass beats on their iPods, and Saturates — a disgusting creature made of all the things washed down the drain. Oh, and an ASBO is a powerful warding spell. Everything is so brilliantly observed, the most fantastical things happen, yet you find yourself thinking, you know what, that makes perfect sense. For similar urban fantasy adventures, try Neil Gaiman and Mike Carey.