The object of the good guys’ wrath is Matthew’s former mentor, Robert James Bakker, who has been driven by his greed for magical power and immortality to create a supernatural dictatorship that allows no detractors. The plot also involves attempts to destroy a diabolical shadow (the Hunger), which is in deadly pursuit of Matthew and his fire.
BOOK 3: The Neon Court
As the story opens, Matthew finds himself in an abandoned building alongside his nemesis, Oda, who has been gravely injured. When the building starts to burn, they escape, but, as it turns, out, Oda is no longer human—she is something very dangerous. As Matthew tries to figure out what's happening with Oda, he realizes that the sun hasn't risen in a long while, the rain hasn't stopped, and time seems to have elongated into a continual night. Along with solving this problem, he must deal with the culmination of a long-standing feud between the Neon Court (the "high-society" Faerie Court) and the Tribe (magical outcasts who gain their magic from disfiguring themselves). The Tribe's dialogue is written in texting form to emphasize their street-cred "outsiderness": Here, Toxik, the Tribe leader, is conversing with Matthew: "U rnt listnin. dat woz wat I woz ment 2 b." (p. 247).
Matthew is still using the mundane world to make his magic. In one scene, he brings the little orange-lit man in a "Don't Walk" sign to fiery, monstrous life to hold Oda back until the traffic light changes so that Matthew can escape. We learn a great deal about Oda's early family life in this story, and we can understand why she grew to hate all things magical. Matthew's apprentice, Penny Ngwenya, also plays a critical role in the story, which is another solid addition to a great series.
I have just one minor fault to find with the series: Generally, I admire an author who provides a detailed sense of place in an urban fantasy novel, but in this series, Griffin really goes a bit too far with her endless, if eloquent, descriptive riffs on every single London neighborhood, street, and room through which Matthew passes—and he passes through many, many locales. Frankly, the verbal pictorialization gets repetitious, and I found myself skipping over blocks of print to get back to the plot. A little of this goes a long way.
Fans of Simon R. Green’s NIGHTSIDE and SECRET HISTORIES series will enjoy this series, with its dry humor and its vast menagerie of vicious supernatural creatures of the night, like the litterbug (made entirely of street litter), the grease monster (composed of old cooking oils), and Mr. Pinner (a murderous, indestructible humanoid created from bits of paper, which remind me of the Robert De Niro's final scene in Terry Gilliam's film, Brazil—death by a tornado of paper).