|Title: The Minority Council
Author: Kate Griffin
Series: Matthew Swift #4
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reviewed by: Julia
Excellent – Loved it! Buy it now & put this author on your watch list.
Matthew Swift, sorcerer, Midnight Mayor, is in charge. Or so he’d like to think. And 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 given a toss. 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.
The voice of THE MINORITY COUNCIL is tricky to slip into, both because of Swift’s plurality and the Beat poet run-on sentences that paint the city around him. I don’t think reading earlier books would have helped, other than giving me more pages to acclimate myself to the style, but finishing this story has me eager to go back and start at the beginning.
Matthew Swift is immersed in the moment, a stream of consciousness pan of the city around him. I had a hard time differentiating between his own turn of a phrase and British colloquialisms, and in long sentences that sometimes meant I got lost. Eventually I just relaxed into narrative, let it flow around me, but this was a slower read than my usual urban fantasy fare.
Swift emerges as an unlikely white knight, fighting for and alongside the women in this story. His apprentice, a social worker, and a one night stand… though our protagonist is male, THE MINORITY COUNCIL is filled with kick-ass heroines that are by turns silly and ferocious. And despite all the raw power that is thrown around, the virtue most celebrated in this story is competence. Attention to detail. Perseverance. Swift’s MacGyver approach to magic is impressive for its cleverness and provides an accessible counter balance to his mystic perception of the city. One third common sense, two thirds otherworldly being, Swift remains just grounded enough that I kept trying to puzzle him out.
I definitely recommend reading an excerpt before starting this series, and caution that THE MINORITY COUNCIL shouldn’t be gulped down in an afternoon. The poetry of Griffin’s writing took a little while to adjust to. Swift carries the weight of an entire city along in his narrative, and this point of view is best savored. I found that it’s well worth the time investment to relax, take things slow, and slip into Swift’s skin.