Tag Archives: Midnight Mayor

How Are They Doing?

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You’ve followed the protagonist and her friends and enemies through a whole series of books, finally closing the last volume with a sigh… So, which character would you like to revisit to see how they’re now getting on? Thanks to Anastasia, who first posed this question here, I’ve compiled my own list of top ten characters I’d like to catch up with.
In no particular order…
1. Corporal Carrot from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett – Okay – I lied. There is an order – GuardsGuardsbecause this wonderful body of work has to be one of the major starting points for any speculative fiction fan. And why Corporal Carrot out of the cast of Discworld characters? Because if anyone is liable to suddenly march out of obscurity and into a Hero’s storyline, then it’s got to be Corporal Carrot. And I’m betting even an ordinary day in his life is probably rather more event-filled than most folks – particularly if he and Angua ever get around to producing offspring…
2. Johan Eschback from the Ghosts of Columbia series by L.E. Modesitt Jr – This fascinating series is set in an alternate world where America was settled by the Dutch – and large parts of the world are uninhabitable because whenever anyone suffers a violent death, they return as ghosts able to cause havoc to the living. Johan Eschback is a retired secret agent, now happily remarried to an opera singer, who finds himself unable to turn down an offer to resume his former career in a series of enthralling adventures. I’d love to peep back into his life and ensure that he and the lovely Llysette are still thriving…
3. Jarra from the Earth Girl series by Janet Edwards – This YA science fiction trilogy follows the adventures of Jarra, who is part of a minority of humans trapped on Earth due to an allergic reaction she suffers whenever travelling offplanet – leading to discrimination by the majority of humanity who have now relocated to more desirable planets. Is Jarra enjoying her new role? I really hope she retains all her energy and enthusiasm which makes her such an engaging protagonist.
4. Tintaglia from The Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb – This series of four books set in Hobb’s world concentrates on the dragons and their keepers struggling to find the fabled dragon city. Tintaglia has to be the most defiantly self-centred and arrogant protagonist I’ve ever cared about – and I’d love to know if the beautiful blue dragon is still engrossed in her own affairs to the exclusion of everyone and everything else.
5. Sookie Stackhouse from the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris – I read all the books and Deaduntildarkeven followed the first couple of series on TV until I decided that it was all a bit too gory. While the TV series followed the storyline of the books reasonably closely, it couldn’t successfully recreate the dry humour that ran throughout Sookie’s first person narrative, which makes her a solid favourite of mine. Is she still well and happy? I’d love to drop in and find out.

6. Nadia Stafford from the Nadia Stafford series by Kelley Armstrong – This entertaining trilogy features an ex-policewoman who embarked on a career as a hit woman after being kicked off the force for taking the law into her own hands. The story arc over this enjoyable thriller/whodunit series with a difference is a cracking read – and I’d love to know that if the choices Nadia finally made are still working for her…
7. Jon from the Jon and Lobo series by Mark L. Van Name – This science fiction romp is about a duo, so I suppose I should have also added Lobo’s name. Jon is an ex-labrat who has done some fairly awful things in his time – and teamed up with Lobo, a mouthy AI. Together they are a formidable twosome who try to provide might for the right. With mixed results… I love the non-stop action and sharp dialogue that accompanies this entertaining, well written offering. And would like to think that Jon enjoys a measure of peace in his life – though I have my doubts, given he has Lobo alongside…
8. Matthew Swift from the Midnight Mayor series by Kate Griffin – To say that Matthew is a troubled soul is something of an understatement, given that he’d been murdered and spent two years living in the wires cris-crossing London before being reincarnated as the spiritual saviour of the city. I’d like to think he is now putting his feet up – but somehow have my doubts. He does occasionally put in an appearance in Griffin’s spinoff series – and I wait patiently to see if he settles down. Or better still, steps away from the gruelling post of Midnight Mayor.
9. Lila from the Quantum Gravity series by Justina Robson – This genre mash-up is a tour de force and I still find myself sliding back to considering these remarkable books. The premise is that a quantum bomb has allowed creatures from other realities to bleed through into our world without anyone really noticing… And yes – you’re right. It sounds mad, but Robson makes it work. I’d love to know that Lila is still raising hell somewhere. Preferably a safe distance from where I am.
10. Devi from the Paradox series by Rachel Bach – This enjoyable space opera romp featuring adrenaline œF$¿Æ‘$8Òò¤»däå¸R8BIjunkie Devi, who gets into more scrapes than I’ve had hot dinners, is a blast from start to finish. And I’d like to think that she and Rupert are still dancing around each other and causing sufficient chaos to keep them happy, though probably – knowing Devi – she’s probably up to her eyebrows in trouble.

Those are my choices for protagonists I got to know and would love to be able to just peep into their futures and ensure everything is still going smoothly for them. Who would you like to revisit and check out?

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Review of The Neon Court – Book 3 of The Matthew Swift series by Kate Griffin

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When the city was founded, he was the mad native spirit that waited in the dark, on the edge of the torchlight. When the streets were cobbled over, he became the footsteps heard on stone that you cannot see. When the Victorians introduced street lighting, he was the shadow who always shied away from the light, and when the gas went out, there he was. The shadow at the end of the alley, the footsteps half-heard in the night.

A daimyo of the Neon Court is dead. So are two warriors of the Tribe. And a freshly-prophesied ‘chosen one’ is missing. Each side blames the other and Matthew Swift is right in the middle of it, trying to keep the peace. Because when magicians go to war, everyone loses.

And there you have it – most of the blurb for Griffin’s third book in the series that created such a stir with A Madness of Angels. So, does Griffin manage to maintain the high standard of writing and outstanding characterisation that she established in that first book?

Matthew Swift is now the Midnight Mayor, albeit reluctantly. It’s his job to step in and save the day when London is threatened by magical forces – along with the Aldermen and his assistant, Penny. Matthew’s still the bloody-minded individual with a planet-sized chip on his shoulder that at times saves his life – and at other times has him haring down yet another noxious alley with no shoes on… But what Griffin is now offering is the beginnings of a team forming around Matthew. We start to learn more about Penny, and Dee, one of the Aldermen who steps into the line of fire alongside Matthew in his battle against the thing at the end of the alley.neoncourt
What makes this series outstanding, is the way Griffin incorporates her magic into the London landscape – and then twists it into something quite different, often revolting… The sequence with the King of Rats had me profoundly grateful that I was inbetween meals when reading it – and then there is the unforgettable image of escaping off a burning building on a flying creature made up of discarded plastic carrier bags. Needless to say, there is nothing Flower Fairies about Griffin’s depiction of the fae – The Neon Court. They are portrayed as exquisite – and completely ruthless about the humans who they ensnare to serve them. Their deadly enemies, the Tribe, mutilate themselves with bizarre piercings to prove their physical toughness and as a declaration to the world that they care nothing for material values. The downtrodden and reviled often find a niche with the Tribe, who also speak in a form of text-speech. I’m hoping that they reappear later in the series – I found them fascinating.

So, any grizzles? Well, it’s more of an observation, really. The majority of long-running series that I’ve read tend to start with someone stumbling across the issue that ultimately makes them a bit powerful in the first book, and steadily becoming more formidable as they gain strength and experience. This didn’t happen in A Madness of Angels – Matthew Swift was more or less as he is, now. So, while the opponents change, they are all very heavy duty – they have to be because Matthew is such a force. Using the word formulaic is far too harsh – Griffin’s poetical prose with her wonderfully imagined magical landscape and quirky unpleasantness is a one-off. But there is a definite pattern emerging within each storyline. Did it ultimately spoil my enjoyment of The Neon Court? No. But I am hoping that in the fourth book of the series, Griffin manages to ring the changes – maybe take the Midnight Mayor somewhere else, for instance…

If you have a weakness for well written, gritty urban fantasy and you haven’t yet picked up this series, then you’re in for a treat – however, don’t start with The Neon Court. Give yourself a treat and track down the first two books, first. Meantime, I’m off to find a copy of The Minority Council.  Hats off to Orbit – the covers for this series are absolutely wonderful.
9/10