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The Minority Council by Kate Griffin
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The Minority Council

by Kate Griffin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Matthew Swift (4), Urban Magic (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1871163,175 (4.11)35
  1. 00
    Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Also known as Midnight Riot, Rivers of London is set in London and filled with unusual beings of Power and magical murders in a similar way to the Swift books
  2. 00
    Child of Fire by Harry Connolly (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Both offer urban fantasy that is different than the norm with interesting characters and fascinating situations.
  3. 00
    Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch (amberwitch)
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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Matthew Swift, Midnight Mayor, has a tendency to begin his adventures by being dropped in the shit without a paddle; for once, the shit is something he kind of brings into his life of his own accord. After a one-night stand with a sorcerously inclined woman he meets on the Thames, a woman with powers to reach further into the past of the city than anyone ought to go, he gets a call for help and follows her trail right into a war with a drug ring -- peddlers of fairy dust, a deadly narcotic made for magicians. At the same time, while settling further into his role as the city’s supernatural protector, he sees a woman turned away by the Aldermen while seeking the Midnight Mayor, and his curiosity takes him into an investigation on a series of soul-stripping attacks against London’s miscreant youth, and on the corruption buried at the heart of the Aldermen.

Kate Griffin’s Matthew Swift novels have rapidly become some of my favourites in the urban fantasy field. The Minority Council is a bit of a change of pace. Matthew began the series as the lone wolf hunting his hunters, and although he’s grown in power and support since then, his solitary nature tends to win through. Here he’s more deeply entrenched in his role as Mayor -- he even has an unbelievably perky PA, unbelievable to him most of all -- and the structure of the Aldermen, and the nature of the relationship between them and the Midnight Mayor, is an integral part of the story. It was an inevitable direction for the series to take, but the result is a story that feels like it’s having a bit of an identity crisis. Matthew is starting to feel too disconnected from his humble street beginnings to be the right person to keep telling this tale, which it pains me a little to say, because I have really, truly enjoyed Matthew as a character.

In The Neon Court, Griffin did a fabulous job in weaving two very different strands of story together. The Minority Council has the same divided focus, but when the time comes to bring the two parts into a whole, the resultant pacing is very stop-start. One of the book’s most anti-climactic moments is when a significant segment of the story is resolved off-screen, including the death of a major character, and is then related to Matthew in a giant chunk of exposition that doesn’t even properly honour the voice of the character relating it. I’ve always enjoyed the series’ interludes, but they are usually used to provide background detail and additional character development, not to tie up big chunks of plot.

The series has always a high death toll and I’ve never had a problem with that, as I prefer authors who don’t pull their punches, but in this entry it gets excessive enough to be distasteful. Being a woman in Matthew’s world has a pretty high chance of coming with a death penalty. The deaths here don’t feel earned like, say, Dees’ did; one, in particular, is really nothing more than grist for Matthew’s wheel of angst, a lazy way to motivate him to chase the plot hook.

These have always been books with a sense of humour, and much like every other aspect of the series, that sense of humour is wonderfully evocative of London and its people. There are some great moments in The Minority Council that continue to capture that feel -- garam masala, anyone? -- but at times it’s trying a little too hard. Matthew’s new PA, for instance, is simply too much; she has all of the camp of Dr. Seah, but none of the charm, and far too much page count.

For all my criticisms, the book still has moments of brilliance that elevate it beyond the sea of urban fantasy novels out there and remind me of why this series is so compelling. The best such moment is a tense, masterful revelation of what the blue electric angels look like unchained and unchecked, and why some of Matthew’s opponents may be right that no one should be allowed to wield their power.

If I hadn’t enjoyed the first few books so much, I don’t think I would be quite as hard on this one. Griffin still puts so many of her urban fantasy peers to shame. This is a step down after the magnificence of The Neon Court, though. The fact that the story is hereafter continued in a series with a different main character -- briefly hinted at here in a throwaway line -- suggests that it may indeed be time to let Matthew Swift go. I hope the Magicals Anonymous books will revitalise Griffin’s sorcerous London.

Review from Bookette.net ( )
  Snumpus | Aug 24, 2017 |
Matthew Swift was one of many mediocre city sorcerers living in London until he was murdered.
Then, of course, he was a dead mediocre city sorcerer.

And then he came back.

And with him came the blue electric angels, magical beings created by all the emotional energy and power we pour into the telephone lines. Matthew Swift, now a "we" instead of a "me", is charged with protecting the city of London. He's stopped the Death of Cities, he's stopped Blackout, he's stopped the Neon army (the modern version of fairy) from tearing London apart. But now, it seems someone doesn't trust him to do his job. London's hoodlums are getting murdered and brainwashed, and Matthew doesn't know why.

I absolutely loved this book, so rife with energy and emotion and great dialog. Buuut then there's a whole section near the end where Penny (Matthew's foul-mouthed apprentice) relays a story of what she's been up to lately, and it takes about 15 pages and it's told in the most self-consciously colloquial style, and in revenge I have to take one star off this book and merely give it a "it was great!" rating instead of "it was transcendently perfect!" ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
I could feel all the shadows here, taste the power in the streets, deep and dark and waiting, feel it move beneath my feet, a well of time and magic that had no bottom, waiting to be tapped. The old stone city walls may have been mostly demolished centuries ago, but there were other barriers, unseen, wrapped around this part of the city, designed as much for keeping secrets in as enemies out. On street corners or embedded in coats of arms on grand municipal buildings, we could feel the watching mad eyes of the silver-skinned dragons of London.

In which Matthew gets a PA and discovers that the Aldermen are keeping things from him. A great improvement on the third book in the series.

Moving slowly, they circled the fire, basking in its heat. And when they raised their heads, it was briefly possible to see … … that they had no faces. Nothing at all, nothing but darkness and vacancy inside their hoods, nothing but what they were: spectres, walking shadows drawn to the summoning circle of burning alcohol and petrol, shattered glass and melting cans. Like life, magic too has its parasites. Nabeela said, “Are they … safe?” “Totally!” lied Penny. “Not really,” I admitted. “But are they going to try and hurt us?” demanded Nabeela, keeping her voice steady through an exercise of will. “Probably not.” “And if they did, we’ve got, like, the Midnight fucking Mayor to fucking defend us!” Penny declared, gesturing at me like a circus master presenting its lion. ( )
  isabelx | Apr 22, 2014 |
This series just gets better and better with each book! I love Matthew Swift and Penny, his apprentice is a hoot! In fact, the humour in this book was wonderful and a great offset to the horrible things that the characters have to undergo. Matthew has always had an uneasy relationship with the Aldermen and this book certainly takes that to another level as Swift firmly refuses to be anyone but himself and clearly shows them all why he is not only the Midnight Mayor, but also the Boss, with a capital B. He gets out and gets his feet and hands dirty, willing to not only make the hard decisions, but to feel the sorrow and awe and regret that is involved in so many of them. His compassion, even when facing what others see only as a monster, is what makes him such a special and wonderful character. Kate Griffin really brings the London and all the characters to life with her vivid descriptions and sharp, witty dialogue. The characters are so real. She makes you feel their pain and their fear and their wonder. And I love Kelly. She is such a breath of fresh air. This has become my favourite series ...I can't wait until the next installment!! ( )
  LongDogMom | Nov 4, 2013 |
A new Matthew Swift book is a treat, and this is one of my favorite urban fantasy series. Better paced and with more character development than the Neon Court, The Minority Council,Griffin's writing is developing a lighter touch. Still one of the most inventive systems for magic, and it is a pleasure to read these books as love letters to London. ( )
  leduck | Oct 19, 2013 |
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Panepinto, LaurenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I had been in Deptford, hunting vandals.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316187259, Mass Market Paperback)

Matthew Swift, sorcerer, Midnight Mayor, is in charge. Or so he'd like to think. London, being London, is having its issues. Drug use is rampant. Teenage vandalism is driving away business. Violent crimes are on the rise. Once upon a time, Matthew Swift wouldn't have cared. Now it's his mess to clean up.

Especially when the new drug on the market is fairy dust and the production process involves turning humans into walking drug labs. And when the teenage vandals are being hunted by a mystical creature. And when the petty criminals of London start dying by magical means.

It becomes clear that not only is this Swift's mess to clean up, but someone is trying to tell him how to do his job. Now he has to sort out who's behind the crime wave and who's interfering in his business. Swift has a lot of old enemies and few friends. If he's going to save London from a rising tide of blood -- he's going to have to learn his lessons and fast.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:12 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Someone is selling fairy dust on the streets of London, and using humans as walking drug labs. Teenage vandals are being hunted by a mystical creature, and petty criminals are dying by magical means. Not only is this Matthew Swift's mess to clean up, but someone is trying to tell him how to do his job.… (more)

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