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I Belong

Review: Stray Souls by Kate Griffin

Title: Stray Souls

Author: Kate Griffin

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Magicals Anonymous (Book 1)

Publication Date: October 30, 2012

Format: Paperback, 464 Pages

ISBN-10: 0316187267 (Orbit)

ISBN-13: 978-0316187268 (Orbit)

Reviewed by: Michelle


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.

Quick & Dirty: A familiar setting filled with new characters, but has a few distracting qualities.

Opening Sentence: It was raining when Sharon Li became one with the city.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Stray Souls by Kate Griffin is a new series set in a similar London as the Midnight Mayor series. Magic and paranormal beings are a norm in this world, complete with new characters in an urban world. I was a fan of the Midnight Mayor series, so I couldn’t wait to dive into Stray Souls. The synopsis drew me in, filling my mind with ideas of what could take place in this new series. And the cover? Guys, the cover is eerie and captivating at the same time.

Sharon Li is a barista and a shaman. With a tendency to walk through walls, Sharon attempts to deal with her issues with the city and advertises on Facebook for a group. She starts a support group for the paranormal, magical beings with problems and issues of the like. Matthew Swift, otherwise known as the Midnight Mayer talks Sharon into saving the city. Sharon has quickly realized that her support group and herself is the only thing that is able to help the city soul from being destroyed.

Sharon is an optimistic character, creating a common place for paranormals. She is a bit of a pushover at first, but that didn’t last long. Once Sharon gained a little back bone, I saw what she was capable of. I was concerned that Sharon would be a main character who got lost in the background, amidst the many other characters in the book, but Griffin knew what she was doing.

The other characters had distinct personalities, and the witty banter was amusing. Sometimes, I felt it was too much too fast. The short chapters that introduced them were interesting, and honestly, I’m not really sure if I liked them or not. Just when I felt the pace picking up, it moved on to a new chapter or a new character. But I will say that the humor is great. It alleviated a lot of the issues that I had and made Stray Souls more enjoyable to read.

Even though Stray Souls is set in a familiar setting, there are elements that are new to me. Griffin describes the city in a different way as well, allowing me to see it a brand new light. The essence of the city is clear and defined. While the Midnight Mayor books had a darker, maybe even more serious tone, Stray Souls has a lighter, more humorous feel to it. Just from reading about the characters and their personalities, you would understand what I mean.

Griffin’s writing style has evolved in Stray Souls. While previously she had written in first person, Stray Souls is written in a third-person narrative. Each chapter alternates from focusing on the main plot and then to a newly introduced character. At first, it is distracting, and I often found myself disconnecting from the story. I felt the pacing was a little slow to start, but quickly moved its way to be on par with the Midnight Mayor books.

Notable Scene:

“Time to go now,” he added. “Time to run.”

Starting at the very bottom of the register, almost too low to almost too high, it grew and grew and it became from the floor to the sky: hhhhhoooowwwwwlllll!!!!

She looked up at the man in the window and there was light in his hands, light on his skin, a brilliant electric blue and he wasn’t human-nothing human looked like that- he was a thing wearing human flesh, he was a face pretending, a body bursting from something else inside, and as he looked round at her his eyes burned and in them were a million million voices all shouting all as one and she…


Magicals Anonymous:

1. Stray Souls

2. The Glass God (July 9, 2013)

FTC Advisory: Orbit provided me with a copy of Stray Souls.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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