|The Neon Court is the third book in
an intriguing series, by Kate Griffin (a.k.a Catherine Webb), about sorcerer Matthew
Swift. Intriguing? Because each book has been stylistically different: both in terms of
prose and in terms of the themes explored; and as Ms Griffin hits her straps as an author
the books are getting shorter and more focused. Question for the reader of this review:
how many authors books get slimmer as they advance their stories into a series?
the first two books in this series, A Madness of Angels and The
Midnight Mayor, Ms Griffin set up the theory and practice of magic in London;
the divisions and feuds between the magic fiefdoms; and the story of Matthew Swift. And
naturally, in The Neon Court Swift has another crisis to deal with
in the form of Blackout, the personification of the fear borne of night, plus a simmering
feud of fiefdoms set to become full on war.
Whereas the previous books were the magic first and personalities second The
Neon Court is personalities and story first with the magic a distant third.
Befitting the authorial change in focus the narrative style has changed from the gritty,
descriptive mode of the Angels and Mayor
to a dialogue laden, black humour rich, world-weary jaded cynicism which works
marvellously as Swift struggles to stay awake during the long night that Blackout has
induced reminiscent of British detective shows such as New Tricks
and The Beiderbecke Trilogy.
For the reader unfamiliar with Ms Griffins other works The Neon Court
is a very good place to start. The back story is artfully interwoven into the narrative
without distracting from the current story. This is urban fantasy before the
street-sweepers have come with a hero who knows the corruption that power can bring and
the dangers of wielding it. Yes, I more than liked this book because I now have an author
whose works are now on my must buy list which may seriously compromise the
impartiality of my next review, but thats a risk Im prepared to face.