I find the idea of urban magic appealing. It takes what I consider a ho-hum genre, fantasy, and makes it fresh. Part of the fascination is being enticed to look at my everyday world differently. If there were such a thing as magic, where would it be? How would it work?
In A Madness of Angels, Catherine Webb, who uses the pseudonym Kate Griffin for her adult books, takes the reader into the world of urban magic. The story takes place in modern day London. After being dead for two years, Matthew Swift finds himself emerging from a phone line in his old house. He is still himself, a sorcerer, but he is also a we, the electric blue angels, “creatures of left-over life, creatures of surplus feelings whispered into electric energy” in the phone lines. Matthew discovers that almost all of his former colleagues have been murdered. He, as both an I and as a we, sets out to revenge his death, which he attributes to his former mentor. He also sets out to find out who resurrected him.
A Madness of Angels is Kate Griffin’s first adult novel and the first book in the Matthew Swift Series. I had read and loved Stray Souls, the first book in a new Kate Griffin series that is based on the Matthew Swift series. I wanted to know the backstory behind Matthew Swift. From that perspective, I was disappointed. A Madness of Angels is not nearly as fun as Stray Souls. But, as a first adult book from a young adult novelist, the more serious tone makes sense. I enjoyed the description of the magic. Matthew Swift is an interesting character. I am also very curious to know how, or if, Madness of Angels evolved into Stray Souls. I’m at least up for one more book in this four book series.