For Matthew Swift, today is not like any other day.
We be light, we be life, we be fire
We sing electric flame, we rumble underground wind
we dance heaven!
Come be we and be free!
We be blue electric angels.
— Anonymous spam mail, source unknown
The Matthew Swift saga is a series of Urban Fantasy novels written by Kate Griffin (a pen name for Catherine Webb).They begin with urban sorcerer Matthew Swift waking up mysteriously in a house he used to own, two years after his violent death, with different-colored eyes and an internal narrative that thinks of himself as "we" about half the time.The novels include:
A Madness of Angels, or, The Resurrection of Matthew Swift (2009)
The Midnight Mayor, or, The Inauguration of Matthew Swift (2010)
The Neon Court, or, The Betrayal of Matthew Swift (2011)
"I was the apprentice of Robert James Bakker. I'm sure you've heard of him. I am a sorcerer. I was there when Bakker died. We... made it happen. I too have met death, and did not have to peel the bones away from my chest to survive the encounter. I am also, and incidentally, the Midnight Mayor, the blue electric angels, the fire in the wire, the song in the telephones, and we are having a bad week. Be smart; fear us." ... "We are the blue electric angels! We were born from the leftover breaths of humanity, by the fears and the thoughts and the ideas and the truths and the lies you poured into the telephone lines. We were created by you bigger and brighter and more alive than any mortal could aspire to be! Do not think to tell us what we can or cannot do! Where is her hat?!"
In The Neon Court too:
"We are the Midnight Mayor, protector of this city, carrier of its secrets and bearer of its shadows. The shadows watch us as we pass, the pigeons turn away at our passage, the rats scurry beneath our feet and shudder at the sound of our footsteps on the stones. We are the blue electric angels, the telephones sing at the passage of our voice, our blood is blue fire, our soul carries a pair of angel wings. We are the killer of Robert Bakker, sorcerer, master of the Tower; we destroyed the death of cities; we came back from the dead, Swift and the angels, two minds became one, two souls in one flash, in one form, in one voice. We are me and I am we. And we're frustrated."
And The Minority Council:
"My name is Matthew Swift. I"m a sorcerer, the only one in the city who survived Robert Bakker's purge. I was killed by my teacher's shadow and my body dissolved into telephone static and all they had left to bury was a bit to blood. Then we came back, and I am we and we are me, and we are the blue electric angels, creatures of the phones and the wires, the gods made from surplus life you miserable excuse for mortals pour into all things electric. I am the Midnight Mayor,the protector of the city, the guardian of the night, the keeper of the gates, the watcher on the walls. We turned back the death of cities, we were there when Lady Neon died, we drove the creature called Blackout into the shadows at the end of the alleys, we are light, we are life, we are fire and, would you believe it, the word that best describes our condition right now is cranky. Would you like to see what happens when you make us mad?"
Bullying a Dragon: Played straigh with Chaigneau, who had the brilliant idea of kidnapping Matthew, beat the crap out of him and blackmailing him (yes, the guy who happens to be a sorcerer and to channel beings of pure energy. It's not like he can curse him). Averted with Matthew: people consider his plans to destroy the Tower Bullying a Dragon, while Matthew knows he can do it.
Came Back Strong: Matthew. Not that Matthew Swift the brown-eyed sorcerer was a weakling, but Matthew Swift the blue-eyed sorcerer-possessed-by-angels is something else again.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The Angels in the first book are drunk on life. When Mathew decides to take a day off from slowly but surely destroying the Tower, he lets the Angels go to a movie theater, play on a kids playground, and eat ice cream, all to their amazement and extreme pleasure. The (very) few times Mathew and them do (very subtly) disagree on something, it's usually a throwaway line along the lines of "We wanted to -insert doing something not particularly appropriate to the situation at hand- but I didn't think it was the time."
Doctor's Orders: Dr. Seah cheerfully accepts that Matthew probably isn't going to stop showing up broken, bruised, and bleeding on her doorstep, so to make up for it she gives him stern orders to take it easy (whoch she knows he won't do) and pain meds. Lots of pain meds.
Fantastic Drug: Fairy dust in Minority Council is a super-addictive drug that enhances the magical talent of the user ten fold. It's also made out of the ashes of previous users, as prolonged use turns you into dust.
Fire-Forged Friends: Matthew and Oda zig-zagged it most of the time (mostly because Oda kills sorcerers to make the world a better place) but their friendship is confirmed in The Neon Court, in the most traumatic and heart-breaking way ever.
Intoxication Ensues: In Minority Council, while the angels are super charged from the fairy dust and destroying everything in sight, Matthew's narration is him giggling in the back of his head, going off on tangents about furniture and unaware as to what is actually going on.
The Angels: This is glorious! this is freedom, this is a drug of lava, a pit without end, liquid heaven, this is majestic!
Matthew So, yes, I think I might be a little stoned. I mean, not in a bad way, just you know. . . a little bit. . .
Chaigneau: You... blue eletric angels... you are children with the power to kill, destroy and burn. You know nothing about life, its rules, norms, laws and understanding, and probably care less. Why should you not set the field of fire for the prettiness of its burning; why should you not kill wherever you go, simply because you can; why should you understand anything that the rest of humanity can?
Necromancer: A few pop up. Their MO is that they tend to try their hand at immortality by swallowing papers with the traits they wish they had in a golem-esqe way. They die as soon as the paper is taken out, but it in the meantime, they "live" exactly to the constraints of the paper (meaning if you forget to, say, write down that you still want to see colors or actually feel things, you're life undead won't be very pleasant).
Never Found the Body: After Matthew died, his body disappeared; he was only known to be dead because his coat was found in a giant puddle of his blood. It turned out that his body had been absorbed along with his soul by the blue electric angels, making his/their later resurrection possible.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Nair, the previous midnight mayor, was apparently one of these to the point where, even after his death, the Aldderman ultimately decide not to kill Matthew out of sheer respect for Nair's decision.
Straight Edge Evil: San Khay, who lives a fiercely regimented lifestyle, exercises hard, always eats healthily, and never partakes in smoking or drugs. However, his well-planned routine does permit him a one-night-stand every week...
Switching P.O.V.: A slightly odd example. Everything seemingly takes place from Matthew's perspective; however, the narrative switches back and forth between "I" and "we" to signal the distinction between the thoughts of Matthew and the blue electric angels who are possessing him. (Though they rarely if ever seem to disagree on anything.)
Unequal Rites: Though wizards (who control magic through rules) and sorcerers (who draw on raw magical power) get along reasonably well, they both have very little respect for warlocks, who earn magical powers by bargaining with the various spirits in the area.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Templeman. In the end, he wanted the Alderman to evolve and Matthew to uderstan what means to be Midnight Mayor
Templeman: What does it take? What does it take to make you do it? How many more must I kill, how much worse things must become, before you do what has to be done? What is the point of you?!
What the Hell, Hero?: In A Madness of Angels Matthew gets a few of this about the casualties his revenge is going to cause.
Whodunnit To Me: The plot of the first book has aspects of this, though Matthew figures out the "who" pretty quickly and moves on to "how", "why", and "what can I do to get revenge".
Willing Channeler: Both Matthew and the angels are perfectly content to share a body, though the original combination was largely accidental.
Wound That Will Not Heal: Matthew suffers minor injuries by Hunger, and the wounds keep bleeding until he goes to the magical hospital.
X Marks The Hero: The Midnight Mayor always has two cross carved in the palm of his hand.
X Meets Y: In universe Matthew is described with these words: "The Swift-angel creature, while appearing almost entirely human, is at its core a combination of a traumatised dead sorcerer and infantile fire.". Then there's Matthew definition of dragon: "Dinosaur meets flamethrower with wings".
You Do Not Have To Say Anything: In The Minority Council, used in an incantation to catch a monster (along with a roll of police tape and similar paraphernalia).