A Madness of Angels (Matthew Swift 1)
by: Kate Griffin
458 pages [Hardcover]
Matthew Swift awakens two years after a particularly violent and untimely death, not quite his old self, with one thing on his mind; revenge. Revenge against whoever killed him, and revenge against whoever brought him back.
I had picked this book up a while back at the library and at the time I just couldn’t get into it. I figured it was because I had snagged several books at the time and those just seemed more appealing in the moment. But, as I got further along with the book this time, I think I know why I put it down before.
There are some cool things in this book, which I will get to in a minute, but I think I’ll start with what I didn’t like so much first. There is something in this author’s writing style that made reading feel a little more like work. The words didn’t fly effortlessly off the page, painting pretty pictures in my head, like a lot of the other books I’ve read. I think it had a lot to do with the level of description and frequent name dropping of London locations.
While description is generally a good thing in a novel, in this case, the frequency of it seemed to overburden the narrative. Every time the character moved from one location to another I was confronted with specific names of places that were generally meaningless to me, since I have never been to London, and detailed descriptions of those places. Periodically, this wouldn’t be so bad, but it seemed to happen quite often and interrupted the flow of the story for me.
Abundant description aside, there are some things I really liked in this story. Instead of bringing well-known supernatural creatures into the urban environment, like most urban fantasy novels, this story’s creatures evolved out of the urban environment itself, creating original gods and unique entities. Anywhere there is life there is magic and that magic grows from that world.
Matthew Swift himself was fun to watch and the way he was written from the beginning, given his special circumstances, was well done. I’d say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything.
If it weren’t for my problems with the location dropping and description, I would have liked the story a lot more. I had no problem with the plot or the characters and the world building was quite good. I can’t decide if I will continue with the series or not. This book was a little more work, but perhaps not completely unworthy of a little extra effort. Until next time…