Kate Griffin – The Midnight Mayor

Kate Griffin continues her urban fantasy series (though without an official name dubbed the Matthew Swift series, after the main protagonist) with The Midnight Mayor (2010). The first novel, A Madness Of Angels, had many refreshing elements in regard to Griffin’s approach to the urban fantasy story. Now that the introduction is over the main question is if she can maintain that feeling.

Like A Madness Of Angels the novel can be read as a standalone story. In this regard her series seems different than the typical urban fantasy where there are often still many unquestioned things that could or have to be taken up in a later novel. This is not the case here. The plot is fully rounded with no significant open threads left open. This at least leaves it free for Griffin to decide if she wants to write more or not.

In a certain way The Midnight Mayor follows a similar structure in plot as the first novels. The main protagonist is suddenly thrown into the fray and does not know what is going on and he is hunted while he tries to figure out what is going on and the different parties involved try to decide which side to take. Even the setup of the adversary shows similarities to the first novel. Using similar plot structures is not that disturbing as there can be plenty of authors found who have done and do the same. The reader does not even notice it easily as he is just absorbed by the exciting story. It is only now, some time later, writing a review and thinking about the plot that I realize how much the same they were. It is thus not obvious as the story is packed with new ideas and players that do not make the plot easy to take notice off. It is only bad, in my opinion, if you already have the feeling you are reading a rehash while you are not even halfway. It’s that deja vu feeling. Fortunately there is no risk you will get that here so it is not a real issue.

Despite this being a story written from a first person point-of-view I did not really notice notable character development. You know his inner thoughts and how he feels the experiences he goes through as he tries to get a grip on the situation. Essentially he however remains mostly the same. It is only where he tries to make the better choice that makes a difference. Not that he did not try to do so before, but there was no choice to make. In this particular case he is presented with different possible solutions to defeating his adversary. When he rejects the more obvious and easier one he creates a new struggle and shows heart, which gives the story also more heart as well, instead of just being your typical urban fantasy plot. Griffin did a nice job in providing pseudo-hidden messages to set up this heart of the story. It is not entirely subtle but she weaves it into the usual prose that is used when writing from her main protagonists perspective.

The Midnight Mayor is a good follow-up to A Madness Of Angels. It does not have the new vibe of the first novel although Griffin adds in some new mythology and other elements to expand the world where it takes place in. It is certainly something she can explore further. It is quite solid and while it follows a similar plot structure the story has more heart in it which makes it a more uplifting tale. Recommended.

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