The Short Review: Excellent
The Slightly Longer Review: An excellent read with good characterisation and a superb plot.
The Full Review: There is nothing I can find to criticise about this novel, which is rare. The characters are well rounded, fallible and at the same time worthy of respect, while the setting, my native London, is very well drawn indeed.
The book is the second in a series, but you wouldn’t know it as it is written so well that any hangovers from the previous book are filled in as needed by this story. This may in part be due to the writer having written for children before and children are a far more demanding audience than adults.
The lead character is Sharon, recently appointed to help the Midnight Mayor in his role as magical guardian of the city. Her job is to take care of the problematic magical beings by running the group Magicals Anonymous. This group contains several regulars who show up each week, including an OCD vampire who’s afraid of dirt and germs.
Her assistant and IT director, Rhys, adores her and would do anything for her, much like a puppy would do for its owner, and that thread runs through this story as one long gag that never grows old. Each time Kate Griffin putting a new spin on it. For those of you who know the show Big Bang Theory, imagine Rhys as Amy and Sharon as a normal version of Sheldon and you’ll get the idea.
Sharon herself, depsite being a cross between a hippy and a new ager, has her feet firmly on the ground and is enjoying her new role.
Trouble brews when the Midnight Mayor disappears, along with dozens of other people, leaving a pair of shoes hanging on telephone lines before they go. Where they go no one knows, but the answer, a macabre answer at that, is revealed in surprising circumstances near the end.
It is all to do with the Glass God, a being being created by a few people who are hinted at as the story grows and whose demise, a very disturbing demise one, is welcome. That death alone makes this a horror book and one that shocked me…that said I get shocked when the BBC appoints another piece of eye-candy as Dr Who’s assistant instead of a proper actress.
Along the way we get to see graveyards turn out their dead in a bunch of slime and bones, and the very old creature responsible for the dead. Not a pretty sight at the best of times and this is the worst of times.
The ending is not a surprise in one sense, but it does allow Sharon’s character to grow and develop in a surprising way. The tag line of the book ‘what was promised, must be paid’ more than describes it, but not with the full horror of what it means for the future of London and its people.
To reiterate, this is an excellent book and well worth a read.