Review of A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin

I like the use of the blue and the map texture, but the photographic elements aren’t very strong.

A Madness of Angels: Or, the Resurrection of Matthew Swift by Kate Griffin. ★★★★1/2

I adored A Madness of Angels.

A Madness of Angels starts with Matthew Swift, a sorcerer who died two years ago, suddenly awake in his old home. He doesn’t know why he’s back or who resurrected him, and he makes it his mission to find out and deliver vengeance.

I think a large part of why I liked this book so much was Matthew Swift himself, who is a fascinating narrator. He’s also no longer alone in his body – he’s sharing it with the electric blue angels. The narration is thus also shared between Matthew’s “I” and the angels’ “we.” How much of what is said is Matthew, and how much is the angels? Is there a line between the two, or, as claimed, they’re both the same?

There’s also a sense of exuberance to Matthew Swift. So many other urban fantasy protagonists tend to fall into the “jaded bad asses” mold, and he was a welcome departure.

The writing was also wonderful. The scenes of London’s magic came alive in my mind. While there are many “magical London” stories – NeverwhereLondon Falling, and Midnight Riot being some I’ve read – A Madness of Angels may be the best I’ve read.

On the downsides, there was a bit of drag near the end, although the book as a whole was fast paced. The “Matthew runs away from danger” scenes became rather numerous by the end and felt a bit repetitive. Also, I think a minor character was fridged. If it wasn’t for that last one, I probably would have given the book five stars.

In short, I’d check out A Madness of Angels if you like strange narrators, London based magic, urban fantasy without a romance focus that manages to circumvent most of the genre tropes. All in all, I highly recommend it.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. hymalyk says:

    What do you mean by a minor character being ‘fridged’? Sorry for my ignorance!

    1. It’s okay! It’s a term coined by Gail Simone to describe how female characters get killed off to further a male character’s plotline without having any agency of their own. The word comes from a comic where a male superhero came home to find his girlfriend dead and stuffed into a refrigerator. Wikipedia –

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