Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Neon Court (Urban Fantasy Novel)

On one level The Neon Court, the third book in Kate Griffin’s (Catherine Webb) Matthew Swift Series, is depressing and dark. Late in the book Matthew lists all the people who have died while he tried to solve his and London’s latest magical problems. Matthew comes across as both a hero and an antihero. (One of the few bright spots in the story is the addition of Penny, his apprentice, who unknowingly almost destroyed London in The Midnight Mayor.) But on another level, The Neon Court is a wonderful example of urban fantasy and has some very thoughtful character development. Matthew brings a lot of heart to the role of Midnight Mayor. Griffin explores his complex relationship with Oda, a woman determined to eradicate magic in London. By the end of the novel, Griffin has fully described how Oda became “psycho-bitch,” making the story that much more tragic.

In the beginning of The Neon Court, Matthew find himself magically summons to a burning building. He finds Oda with wounds that should have killed her and uses his magic to rescue the two of them. As the story unfolds, he discovers London has some major magical problems. Two rival magical factions, The Neons and The Tribe, are about to start a war. The Neons are beautiful, neo-fairies. The Tribe members, made up of magical folks who don’t fit into any other group, are as ugly as the Neons are beautiful. Both have been told that whoever finds the “chosen one” will win the war. Meanwhile, Matthew discovers that Oda has become possessed with an entity called “Blackout;” anyone who looks at her start bleeding from their eyes and usually dies. Also, London has become shrouded in an unending night, and slowly more and more of the outer areas are becoming inaccessible. To help Matthew, the Aldermen give him Bakker’s last breath, connecting Matthew with part of Bakker’s consciousness. Bakker was the last person known to defeat Blackout. Matthew, Penny, Bakker, the Aldermen and others attempt to rescue London before it disappears.

On to the Minority Council, the last book in the Matthew Swift Series.

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