The story starts with Facebook.
‘Facebook! Facebook?! I’ve got a city infested with horrors of the night crawling nether darkness; I’ve got monsters and demons and missing fucking goddesses and creatures whose footsteps burn the night and wards failing and meetings – bloody hell, I’ve got blooding fucking fiscal meetings with the director’s board – and they’re doing this with Facebook?!”
Sharon Li, the unlikely hero of this tale, decides to use Facebook to start up a self help group for the magically disinclined. She soon has a motley collection of London’s magical misfits looking for a solution to life’s problems. Joining Sharon on her struggle to self discovery are:
- Kevin – a vampire with OCD who carries dental floss and sterile wipes
- Gretal – a troll with a taste for gourmet food
- Sally – a banshee with a love of modern art
- Rhys – the druid who develops an allergy everytime he tries to practice magic
- Chris – the Australian exorcist
- Jess – who can turn into a flock of pigeons
- Mr Roding – a necromancer with a bad case of decay
- Mrs Raafat – the oddity as the only human in the group
Sharon is soon to find out that she is more than just a girl who can walk through walls and she learns that she is a shaman, well shaman in training. With the help of Magicals Anonymous and training from the second best shaman in London, Sammy the Elbow (aka goblin with a penchant for toothpaste) she has to find Greydawn, Our Lady of 4am and Keeper of the Gate. This isn’t just a missing persons case as Sharon and ‘her tribe’ are up against Mr Ruislip, the wendigo and murderous head of Burns and Stokes a multinational company. Mr Ruislip is 100% villian and will kill or sacrifice anyone in order to find Greydawn. Sharon also gets a little help from the Midnight Mayor – Matthew Swift (from Kate Griffin’s Matthew Swift series) who in his quirkly, antisocial way tries to help Sharon and the others in Magical Anonymous defeat Mr Ruislip and find Greydawn.
I actually found Sharon to be one of least interesting characters of the story and looked forward more to the chapters devoted to the other characters. Even though Griffin spent more time telling Sharon’s story than that of the other characters she still was a bit one dimensional and I felt just a little bit pathetic. She did improve however, throughout the story as her character grew and developed but had the book solely focused on Sharon I don’t think I would have found it to be so engaging and charming (in the grisly lots of murders kind of way). Ruislip was a great villian and everything you would expect from a baddie. I was also delightfully surprised by one of the other killers in the tale and without giving anything away thought this was a great twist.
Stray Souls is a great story and there was a lot of tee-heeing and chortling from Griffin’s hilarious characters and dialogue. Griffin’s chapters were sharp and punchy which kept the story going even when not a lot was actually happening. The story was a great observation of the impact of social media and society’s need for therapy. There are so many great lines that I could have spent this whole review writing quotes but if you are looking for a book that is truly amusing with a tried and tested good versus evil plot then I urge you to give Stray Souls a go.
Stray Souls is a quirky and intensely humorous jaunt through the underbelly of magical London. There is a great cast of characters and once again Griffin has managed to pull off wonderful observations not only of human (or partly human) nature but of the local environment as well. This book is light hearted, funny, bit grisly and bloody all at the same time. Great read.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Stray Souls
- The Glass God (2013)
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