The sequel to A Madness of Angels, The Midnight Mayor sees the wards of London failing: the ravens at the Tower dead, the Wall defaced, the Stone broken, the Midnight Mayor killed by a thousand paper cuts. A terrifying, powerful being appears in the city and threatens to destroy it. Matthew Swift, sorcerer and embodiment of the blue electric angels that lived in the telephone wire, has to work with the Aldermen (think supernatural bureaucrats) to fight this menace and work out how to destroy it.
While not quite as good as the first book, The Midnight Mayor is still a lot of fun. OK, the plot is less than watertight and possibly over-reliant on infodump, but for me this doesn't really matter. For me, the draw of Griffin's book is the city itself: the myriad little magics drawn from city ritual, city tradition, the Underground sign as magical ward, the monster made of fat from the sewers, the ghosts lurking in an empty nightclub. Griffin's prose, ragged, uneven, singsong, slipping between Swift's I and the angels' we within a sentence, captures urban life and the joy of urban magic wonderfully:
We dragged in the fire from the live rail, the rushing of the train, the pumping of the cold air in the tunnels, the light, the darkness, the blood, the heat in my stomach that I couldn't give, the strength in my blood that I didn't have left, the warmth in Oda's body clutched to our chest; we dragged in a million million million ghosts who had died to dig the tunnels, who had lived their lives on the train going from here to there and back again, touch in, touch out, ticket, escalator, platform. chair, a million, million, million dead and living things who every day prayed for their train to come for the seat to be free for the paper to be left for the strangers to be kind for the journey to be swift for the ticket to be cheap for the stairs to be empty for the tunnels to be cool for the announcers to be gentle.
That atmosphere, that palpable love for London that runs in every sentence, is really just fantastic, and makes up for all of the book's imperfections for me. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series, The Neon Court.