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A Madness of Angels (Matthew Swift) Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
So I was caught a bit off-guard when this book turned out to be AMAZING.
The story follows Matthew Swift, an "urban sorcerer" in London. Although he can channel electricity from wall plugs and banish demons using trash bins, he was not an especially powerful or ambitious sorcerer -- that was, until somebody killed him and brought him back to life. Now Matthew's eyes are blue (they were brown) and now he has both incredible power and a driving ambition: revenge.
The story follows his quest for vengeance as he stalks and tackles his enemies one-by-one -- but with some fascinating diversions. First, he's being trailed by the Hunger, the same creepy wraithlike creature that killed him the first time. Second, Matthew himself is no longer quite human, as the story gradually reveals -- or wholly sane, really, but this is a minor matter. Griffin reveals all this with dark, dense, chewy prose that reminds me of China Mieville and Storm Constantine at their best. She sandwiches this between devilishly witty humor (as when Matthew weaves a powerful protective spell out of a subway ticket, simply by reading the ticket's fine print) and elegant characterization, and tops it all off with some of the most original magic I've ever seen.Read more ›
Needless to say, I was slightly nervous going in.
Plotwise, this is fairly simple. "You murdered me, so I'm going to destroy you." You might think that 'murdered' might complicate this revenge tale a bit, but, you know... magic. It you need a quick plot, this one isn't for you. Just walk on by. It takes its time getting from point A to point B.
What is excellent is the world-building. We get introduced to The Bag Lady, The Begger King, and the Lord of Lonely Travellers, to name a few. That there are entire entities that exist solely due to stray thoughts being left as people travel through the city is a great one. The entire city is alive with magic, and we are along for the ride as the angels experience it all for the first time. Which is probably where the book loses some people.
The descriptions in this book are flowery, lyrical, or overwrought depending on if you enjoy them or not. Let's just have an example. Where other books might say "Matthew sat down on a bench overlooking the river," from Kate Griffin we get...
I came to the tiny yard of flagstones and half-hearted container shrubs that jutted out between a giant converted warehouse and an office with walls of black-green glass, and sat down on a bench looking out past a row of iron railings to the river.Read more ›
What I truly liked was how Ms. Griffin continually painted pictures with her dialog and descriptions. She brings Matthew to life quite like you might expect from one recently dead, and one never having physically lived sharing the same body. Those subtle sounds and voices you hear on telephones becomes the electric blue angels and live a symbiotic life within Matthew. They are electricity and remember all. They can go to the moon and back in a nano-second. They are the thoughts and lost words of everyone on the telephone. They are all of us - our energy made the magic that made them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The story starts out at a good pace and with quite an interesting setting. It's the first book related to urban magic I've read, but it's a concept I grasp easily, and while the... Read morePublished 15 days ago by M.A.Maradiaga
I'll be honest: I was predisposed to like this author's work after having read the "Horatio Lyle" series, (written under her real name, Catherine Webb). Read morePublished 2 months ago by Matthew D. York
was bored and skipping ahead during the prolog. Only made it 18% into book. Like watching paint dry. NOTHING happens. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Joseph T. Ford
I had just tried the first book in the author's Magicals Anonymous series and couldn't get into it. Many of the reviews of that book stated that this series was much better, so I... Read morePublished 6 months ago by BookWyrm
I quite enjoyed this book. Coming from left field with the dragged through the electricity wires, but it rolled along really well. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
the first book in a very enjoyable series.
its always a relief to find a good series that isn't a romance novel pretending to be urban fantasy. Read more
The writing style made it impossible for me to get into the story.
I read about 10% when I finally decided that dragging myself through the pages in hopes of betterment... Read more
A good example of urban fantasy.
Best: sublime descriptions of magic in the city and poetry embedded In the narrative as a means of getting at the stream of consciousness of... Read more
An interesting take on urban sorcery. It seemed to plod at times but I still found it engrossing.Published 14 months ago by Flydecker