Kate Griffin is the name under which Carnegie Medal-nominated author, Catherine Webb, writes fantasy novels for adults.
An acclaimed author of young adult books under her own name, Catherine’s amazing debut, Mirror Dreams, was written when she was only 14 years old, and garnered comparisons with Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman.
She read History at the London School of Economics, and is now studying at RADA. A Madness of Angels is her first adult fantasy novel.
When a man is tired of London he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford - Samuel Johnson. In fact, Dr Johnson was only half right. There is in London much more than life - there is power. It ebbs and flows with the rhythms of the city, makes runes from the alignments of ancient streets and hums with the rattle of trains and buses; it waxes and wanes with the patterns of the business day. It is a new kind of magic: urban magic. Enter a London where magicians ride the Last Train, implore favours of The Beggar King and interpret the insane wisdom of The Bag Lady. Enter a London where beings of power soar with the pigeons and scrabble with the rats, and seek insight in the half-whispered madness of the blue electric angels. Enter the London of Matthew Swift, where rival sorcerers, hidden in plain sight, do battle for the very soul of the city...
"Urban fantasy / magic realism in London. We’re dropped into a body in present day London. Eventually we come to realise that it is the body of Matthew Swift, sorcerer, deceased. Or he was, until now. Bless, he then finds out all his friends are dead, killed by the same thing that killed him – a shadow known as Hunger. Quickly found by a bunch of ‘concerned citizens’ he begins to track who he suspects had him killed, and the author begins to reveal just how Matthew came back – and what he is now. Come be we, come be free."
When you review books for a site called “Fantasy Book Review” you’re going to get a lot of stuff that harkens back to Tolkien, or Brooks, or Lewis, or whoever. So it’s wonderful when you get something that doesn’t seem to harken back to anything, or if it does, it’s Neil Gaiman. Kate Griffin is one of those authors who I’m going to be in love with for the rest of my life. Her writing captures London – I imagine – so well that it feels like I’m there, with her and her characters, walking through those same streets.
If a book is able to leave you feeling at once saddened and emotionally drained as well as leaving you wanting, no, needing more, than in the end the author has obviously done something right. With her third book featuring Matthew Swift as our fearful hero, The Neon Court, Kate Griffin has once again shown just how capable she is of wringing out your emotions while keeping you pinned to your chair, scurrying through each page in the vain hope that things will all work out in the end.
If you haven’t had a chance to read any of the Matthew Swift novels by Kate Griffin, then this isn’t necessarily the book for you. It’s fun, and probably fine for anyone jumping in. But really, it’s just more proof that you should be reading everything Griffin puts her pen to. Either way, this is definitely a book you should be putting on your shelves.