Book: A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffiin
Genre: Fantasy (Urban)
For: Fun and The Twenty Eleven Challenge
From: a birthday present from Jenny
I went into this book not at all knowing what to expect and yet, it turned out to be nothing like I expected. I know this doesn't make sense at all, but I'm hoping you'll know what I mean!
And this review is going to be a strange one to write because my feelings are so mixed! For instance, in the beginning I was confused and foggy, in the end, I was glued to it. In the beginning, I didn't get the main character and in the end, I thought he was fabulous. In the beginning, I felt like I was slogging through it, in the end, I flew.
See what I mean?
So in the beginning we have this guy who wakes up suddenly and acts a bit confused as to where he is or what's going on. (I guess my confused feelings would make sense then, right?) We learn that he remembers being killed two years prior, yet, here he is now, alive... and sort of well.
Strangely though, he flips back and forth from calling himself I to calling himself we. I knew that I would understand what THAT was all about later, but for awhile, it still drove me crazy!
He finds himself trying to search out his friends, who are not easily found. He ends up with a rough bunch of crazy people and they might be helping him, or might not be. All he knows is that he feels the need to find the dude who he thinks killed him. Which seems simple enough, but it all gets quite complicated.
We are introduced to scads of fantastical beings. And the crazy underworld of London which is described in this incredibly unbelievably way. Most of the time, we read about the London of oh, say, Austen-ish era, or even Dickens sort of life.... but this is, as I said, the underworld. The beggars, the graffiti artists, the homeless, the misfits, the bikers. And a little bit the rich and powerful. We crawl through tunnels, and around The Tube, and through the alleys and gutters, into abandoned buildings and in and around all sorts of historical landmarks too.
I'ts very hard to describe, but it was all fascinating really!
However, my favorite part was Matthew Swift, our confused, yet intensely powerful hero. He has much fighting to do, yet in between the fights, I loved it when he wandered the streets to just partake of life. After all, he was getting a second chance. And the we part of him? They were experiencing things for the first time. And they learned that life itself, is where all the magic can be found.
This fulfills the bit of the Twenty Eleven challenge that says take a genre you really love (fantasy in my case) and read a sub-genre from it that you don't normally read (urban fantasy in my case, especially non YA urban fantasy.) This definitely fit the bill as it was truly unlike anything I've ever read.
Bottom line: After a bit of slow start.... I loved it.
(P.S. Be warned, this is what I call a "gritty" read. F words are many. Oh and yes, this is the first of a trilogy of course!)
Graeme's Fantasy Book Review
Fantasy Book Critic