Review: Stray Souls (Magicals Anonymous #1) by Kate Griffin

November 12, 2012 Review 1

Stray Souls

(Magicals Anonymous, #1)
by Kate Griffin

Genre: Urban Fantasy |
Excerpt: Yes No | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Julia | Source: Publisher

  • Paperback:464 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; October 30, 2012
  • ISBN-10:0316187267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316187268


Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.


‘Don’t look back. It wants you to look back.’

London’s soul has gone missing. Lost? Kidnapped? Murdered? Nobody knows – but when Sharon Li unexpectedly discovers she’s a shaman, she is immediately called upon to use her newfound powers of oneness with the City to rescue it from a slow but inevitable demise.

The problem is, while everyone expects Sharon to have all the answers – from the Midnight Mayor to Sharon’s magically-challenged self-help group – she doesn’t have a clue where to start.

But with London’s soul missing and the Gate open, there are creatures loose that won’t wait for her to catch up before they go hunting.

Stray Souls is the first novel in the Magicals Anonymous series, set in the same fantastical London as the Matthew Swift novels


Defining your identity can be hard enough for any person, without magical “extras” making you feel all the more isolated and alone. Kate Griffin puts the epic and the mundane side by side in STRAY SOULS. As Sharon’s support group bumbles through their neurosis in a crumbling city, a terrible magic is killing those around them.

Unfortunately, it was just this snapshot writing style that made it hard for me to get into STRAY SOULS. 100 pages in, Sharon was still a cypher and I resented only getting spare glimpses of the Midnight Mayor and his fight against the Dog. Sharon is a modern hero, armed with self-help books and Google, but I was more than ready for her to grow out of “overly earnest support group leader” into “kickass shaman” by the time she actually started driving the story.

I had to adjust my expectation from “Urban Fantasy” to “Hapless British Comedy with Magic” before I could enjoy this book. STRAY SOULS is a story of misfits, complete with point of view “confessionals” from supporting characters.  I loved the dotty, powerful characters immediately, Dr. Seah (“…drugs are cool – I mean, like medicinal drugs – they’re awesome.”), Sammy the Elbow, and Matthew Swift.  The neurotic members of Sharon’s support group took a lot longer for me to warm up to.  As Sharon’s patience grows thin and her temper flares, however, I enjoyed her more and more. But even as the characters started to win me over, I still found myself skimming past most of the social commentary and therapy jargon.

This is a book that I liked despite itself. The narrative style didn’t click for me until about halfway through, and Sharon’s self-help schtick never quick clicked, but almost against my will I found myself laughing along with Griffin’s relentless humor. Where I had to be won over page by page, readers who like a little silliness in their urban fantasy will love this mix of danger and humor unreservedly.

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One Response to “Review: Stray Souls (Magicals Anonymous #1) by Kate Griffin”

  1. Breana M.

    Stray Souls sounds like it might be good. I’ll have to check it out—also, I love the cover. Nice review! 🙂