A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin was one of the strangest books that I’ve read lately… and yet incredibly captivating. The hardest thing for me to adjust to, after a lifetime of being the reader that begged to “just finish this chapter”, was the way the book was broken into huge sections rather than chapters. The narrative also took some getting used to because it unfolds as you read it. Like the movie “Memento” where the character has short-term memory loss and is trying to reclaim his life, Matthew Swift knows very little about what has happened to him. He remembers being hurt and dying, yet now he is back, his eyes have changed to a brilliant blue colour… and he is not alone in his own body. This would be a lot for one man to take in and process under any circumstance… but Matthew is also an urban sorcerer in the heart of London and someone has sent a terrible shadow named Hunger to hunt him down.
My husband is more of an informational reader, but every so often a book comes along that grabs his attention. He found this hardcover book in a bargain bin and the book store over the holidays and was completely drawn in by both the tale and the unique narrative style. It was also a fun read for him since we’d been to London a few years ago and he could picture some of the places quite vividly. As soon as he finished the book, I added it to my pile while he hunted down Kate Griffin’s two sequels to this tale.
Despite the odd absence of chapters, A Madness of Angels sweeps the reader along as they try to figure out who and what has been behind the attacks on Matthew Swift. Griffin’s way of describing how urban magic works is novel, engaging and even plausible… which I appreciated as a detail oriented reader. The numerous plot twists and possible outcomes kept me guessing until the bitter end and the story’s conclusion wrapped things up nicely. If you like your tales of magic and mystery urban, edgy and slightly unconventional, then you will thoroughly enjoy A Madness of Angels. Let’s see how Griffin does with the next two tales in the series…
Hardcover format, 458 pages, published in 2009 by Orbit Books