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BOOK REVIEW The Midnight Mayor

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By Kate Griffin. Sorceror Swift from A Madness Of Angels is back for some more metropolitan mayhem

Author: Kate Griffin
Publisher: Orbit • 432 pages • £7.99
ISBN: 978-1841-49734-1 • OUT NOW!

If you read last year’s urban folktale A Madness Of Angels , you’ll no doubt already be drooling at the prospect of this thankfully speedy follow-up. If you haven’t read it yet, you really should.

You’re missing out on what’s becoming one of the best fantasy sagas in years, a series set not in the sprawling castles and valleys of a fictional world but in the streets of our very own capital. London is – quite literally, in this case – a living, breathing entity in Kate Griffin’s books, but you don’t have to live there to appreciate how rich and detailed her scenery is. You can practically taste the city on the pages of The Midnight Mayor ; all ozone, bus exhaust fumes and late-night kebabs. Despite how it sounds, it’s delicious.

Last time round we got to meet murdered sorcerer Matthew Swift and the peculiar blue angels who had reanimated his body and taken up residence inside him. This time a slightly better-adjusted but rather reluctant Swift is on a mission to discover who murdered the mysterious Midnight Mayor of London (no, not Boris – he’s the daytime one). It’s a compelling, intricate plot containing some truly gorgeous notions: hoodie spectres with no faces bopping their heads to their ghostly iPods; grease monsters oozing from the sewers outside fish and chip shops; the wording of an ASBO being used as a spell of defence. This is the world we know, but given a terrifyingly clever magical twist. Swift’s a charismatic hero and the final setpiece is a breathless, fulfilling climax to a book that’s even better than its predecessor.

If SFX handed out six starred-reviews, this would get one. If you don’t read it… well, it’s your loss. Jayne Nelson

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