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Stray Souls

de Kate Griffin

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2772082,061 (3.7)34
When Sharon Li unexpectedly discovers she's a shaman, it's not a moment too soon: London's soul is lost. Using her newfound oneness with the City, she sets about saving London from inevitable demise, but the problem is she has no clue where to start. Meanwhile, a mysterious gate has opened, and there are creatures loose that won't wait for her to catch up before they go out hunting. Now Sharon and her motley crew of magical misfits must find a way to save the world.… (més)
  1. 10
    Rivers of London de Ben Aaronovitch (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Both are a bit quirky, set in London, and deal with the spirits of things, magic and murder.
  2. 00
    Hard Magic de Laura Anne Gilman (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: Urban fantasy, female protagonists growing into their powers as part of a team
  3. 00
    The Last Dragonslayer de Jasper Fforde (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Similar quirky feel to the writing and is also about discovering magical abilities in an urban setting.
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Even though Kate Griffin is writing this sequel series in the same universe as that of Matthew Swift (Midnight Mayor, electric blue angels, sorcerer of Londn) she tells a starkly different story within the magical confines of London through the medium of Sharon Li, shaman (in training). Unlike Swift, who is a lone wolf at heart, Li's shamanic nature urges her to seek out a tribe, creating eventially the self-help group (of sorts) for those of a magically afflicted nature. As expected with any support group, she is inundated with the strange, the almost, the trouble of London's magical community, which ends up being extremely effective as a means to the storytelling. Each strange and unique character provides somehting necessary to the story, whether it is the unwitting brute force of Gretel (a bridge troll with a penchant for takeout), the comedic sarcasm of Kevin (a germaphobic vampire), or the unexpected ralling point of Rhys (a hay-fever plagued almost-druid). Alongside Sharon this motel crew is tasked with finding the disappeared Lady of 4am (Greydawn), whose Dog is plaguing the city in revenge, and with taking on a green-driven wending who has learned to play on the money-driven nature of London's financiers. We have some interactions of the Midnight Mayor, because being within London and being another of the magically inclined he has unwittingly become part of Sharon's tribe, but it is undoubtedly Sharon's unique force of will that drives this story. I won't reveal the outcome, but let's just say that we're very much looking forward to the next book in the series (and feeling a touch sad that there are only two books...) ( )
1 vota JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
This one was a little harder to get into for me than the Matthew Swift books, but I promise it's worth the effort! ( )
  Raiona | Jan 28, 2021 |
I picked this up on a semi-whim and largely because it’s an accidental life goal to read every urban fantasy set in London ever. It was pretty good overall and if Griffin hadn’t made a few character choices that had me sighing loudly, I’d be continuing with the series. It’s light but creepy, keeping whimsy and humour well-balanced with darker stuff, which is what I’ve come to think of as the “good London UF vibe.” Think Neverwhere with a touch of Strange Practice.

Griffin’s a good writer on multiple levels. She does some really neat things here with points of view and chapter structures, and has that arch British tone I love so much. She’s also really good at character voice, getting the London sound right, and I loved the cast of oddballs she created, who have attributes you don’t often see and which are at odds with themselves. A troll who likes Thai food. A druid with allergies. That sort of thing. Just about everyone’s sweet and adorable while still being rounded or relatable, and even the bad guys are kind of overblown and silly. And there’s a good bit of casual racial diversity too.

As for plot: it felt fresh and reasonably original and went to expected places through unexpected means. There was a bit too much harping on certain topics, some of which I’ll touch on in a second, which slowed things down for me, but overall, that gets a decent thumbs-up too.

But. Well. I get that this is a slightly older book and awareness of diversity issues wasn’t as much of a thing as it is now, but still, I feel like Griffin could have made different choices. There’s a variant of that “anonymous pair of hitmen who finish each others’ creepy sentences” trope, slightly played for laughs like everything else, except that they keep naming female body parts and male sex acts. She wanted a scary but unusual villain, so chose something First Nations and then changed core aspects until it was basically just a demon. (She did this with banshees too.) There’s a vampire who’s health-conscious to the point of germophobia and everyone calls him OCD.

As red flags go, none of those are horrible, I know, but they still made me annoyed with the story and lowered my enjoyment enough that I can’t rec it. It’s another of my “wish it had been better” reads, because, like I said, so much of the book hit the spot for me. And yet….

Warnings: Sex-based slurs and casual misogyny doing double duty as creepy and funny. A non-Native wendigo and a non-Irish banshee. Conflation of germophobia with OCD.

5.5/10 (was a 7 before the warnings kicked in) ( )
  NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
Fuck yeah, Sharon Li.

Hats off for a heroine in an urban fantasy who's genuinely dealing with all the crap of being a little (just a little) left of centre as a young city woman, with the friends and the lack of job and the lack of guy and crazy shit happening but like hell is she going to be belitted, condescended at or led around by the nose. Hats off for a heroine who isn't white-as-white-can-be, who doesn't kick arse so much as shoulder into her powers and rearrange reality, who doesn't have a big, burly, swoony love interest (love ya, Rhys), and who is so very, very real.

Because Sharon is so down-to-earth and dealing with the unbelievable, this has a more comedic, light-hearted touch than the adventures of Matthew Swift (though, note, the Midnight Mayor is a recurring support character, and it's delightful to see him from other points of view). There are certainly Pratchettarian overtones. But it retains that "this is soul-charringly serious, mum" element that gives Kate Griffin's work such satisfying weight and resonance. I found the combination not quite as delicious as I do Matthew Swift alone, but still highly entertaining and very nicely put together. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
Nancy Pearl'd it. After about 100 pages, I just couldn't find any reason to continue reading this. ( )
  lesmel | Mar 3, 2017 |
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Then he couldn’t shake the feeling, imagined or not, that as she dragged him out of Burns and Stoke with a cry of “Come on, druid, make yourself useful!” she hadn’t bothered to open any doors. Which was unfortunate, because he hadn’t logged out of the servers at Burns and Stokes before shutting down, and if refusing to obey the laws of matter was disconcerting, failure to observe proper security procedures was just bad IT.
Eddie: “Usually these beasties just sit around in the city and do shit,” he explained, “like the ‘soul’ isn’t a fucking commodity! Fuck that! I say to you , fuck that! This is the twenty-first century! Time for the fucking soul to earn its way.”
The Internet and Sharon Li had had good times and bad times, but if there was one truth about their relationship, it was that they had had a lot of times.  There was nothing html could hide from her for long.
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When Sharon Li unexpectedly discovers she's a shaman, it's not a moment too soon: London's soul is lost. Using her newfound oneness with the City, she sets about saving London from inevitable demise, but the problem is she has no clue where to start. Meanwhile, a mysterious gate has opened, and there are creatures loose that won't wait for her to catch up before they go out hunting. Now Sharon and her motley crew of magical misfits must find a way to save the world.

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