A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin Reviewed by Marion Deeds

First Published 6th April 2009 by Orbit Books
567 pages

This is the first in a new fantasy series. Matthew Swift, London sorcerer, was murdered two years ago, torn apart by a rapacious shadow with teeth. Now he’s back, and he’s not alone.

Some things have changed for Matthew, most notably his eyes. Once puppy-dog brown, they are now electric blue.

His mission; find the person who killed him, and take him down. He knows who did it; getting to that person is a challenge.


Griffin is purist when it comes to the “urban” in urban fantasy, and Matthew draws most of his power from the teeming energy of London. Whether it’s the tide and Thames; the swirls of graffiti on ancient stone walls; the senses of rats, pigeons and urban foxes, or the meaning captured on the paper litter that blows along the streets, the city is full of scraps of life, and life is magic. Griffin’s love for the city makes this book refreshing and intriguing. The plot has enough suspense and impetus to carry us along, but it is the descriptions of the city and Matthew’s magic, as when he fights a tattoed magical killer in a deserted square, that make the book compelling. It’s almost easy to lose sight of how masterfully Griffin has captured Matthew’s unique voice throughout the book.

A Madness of Angels has been compared to Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and there are similarities, but Matthew in an original character, and Griffin’s London is at once familiar to anyone who’s ever been in any city, and very, very foreign. If you enjoy urban fantasy I recommend this book highly.

Marion Deeds
- http://deedsandwords.com/

17th Oct 2010


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