Author’s note: Written prior to 2014, this writing style is no longer indicative of my modus operandi, but I stand by the gist of my points herein.
And so it continues.
Surprise! Swift survived the first novel. It got a bit hairy back there what with all the fighting and the murderous intentions. Secret societies, organizations pitted against magic (for "religious reasons"), psychotic colleagues, etc.
This novel opens just as abruptly as the last one did.
Matthew answers a public phone (because he will always answer the phone when it rings; it's part of who he is) and is blasted back down the street. And now he's being attacked by spectres, which are particularly rare for London. All I'll tell you is that the tools for their demise include beer and a cigarette. Happy imaginings. =]
Let me give you a visual of a spectre:
You've ever been strolling around a city and you see that kid shuffling along in a hoodie with the hood up and headphones going in, bobbing along to a beat that only they can hear? Now imagine said kid without a face. Just a gaseous space holding clothes in the proper shape. Now you've got a spectre--but you can hear their beats, and not all spectres bob to the same rhythm.
It's been said that, should the Ravens ever leave the Tower of London, should the Stone ever break, should the Wall be defaced, the city of London shall be damned. The Midnight Mayor's job is to protect the city--provided the Midnight Mayor actually exists, since Swift seems terribly skeptical--but if the city requires a protector, clearly there are things it requires protection from. Correct?
I am sure you have already deduced a few things with the help of the above paragraph coupled with the title. Namely, that the Midnight Mayor has died, that the position has been transferred to Matthew Swift, and that the city is in pretty deep shit.
Suddenly, the phrase "GIVE ME BACK MY HAT" is graffitti'ed across the city, written on the London Wall, on the wall where the Ravens were killed, on the window of the business housing the broken Stone--everywhere. Significant? You bet your ass.
Griffin does such a marvelous job creating suspense and then systematically untying knots which tie more knots until finally the whole thing comes undone at the end. You can't help but be drawn in, be captivated by her vivid imagery and intense, peculiar descriptions of things. She uses such unexpected language that catches you off guard but gives you a perfectly exact picture of what it is you're looking at and it's amazing. She has swiftly (hahahaha) become one of my very favorite and most inspiring authors--and it only took two novels. (One, actually, but we'll say two.)