Stray Souls
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Stray Souls (Magicals Anonymous #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  722 ratings  ·  133 reviews

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 c...more
Published October 30th 2012 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2012)
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Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
No doubt about it, Stray Souls was a fun, fast read, an urban fantasy exploration rife with British and topical humor, mostly about the self-help movement. Which is, depending on your mood, either a strength or a weakness. Choose your timing accordingly.

Review continued at:

You can also read mine, and MLE's reviews on our blog.

This book kind of makes me sad. I love the Matthew Swift novels, and it looks like these are taking over, which sucks. I want Swift back. I mean Griffin can do both, I will understand switching back and forth between series.
So in saying that, this is why I gave this book four stars. I liked it, but I didn’t like it as much as the Matthew Swift series.
Sharon is not Swift.
Sharon (Hello Sharon) is a new age, walking self help book, which...more
Dec 23, 2013 Carly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of light, creative, and hilarious UF who won't mind the style.
Recommended to Carly by: GoodReads Giveaway! Thanks, GR!
**edit 12/23/13: I ended up doing a reread. I'm keeping the first-read review here, but you can find the updated review at .

In a sudden, overwhelming rush of light and noise and music and emotion and knowledge, Sharon Li becomes an urban shaman. And just like that, it's gone again. But Sharon Li isn't one to wait on the universe; as a yoga-deep-breathing, self-help-reading, blue-haired optimist, she decides to take her problems to the internet. She sets u...more
As far as I am concerned Kate Griffin can do no wrong. I loved every word of her Matthew Swift novels and I was so happy to see him back in this new series and still playing a pivotal role. I hope the author intends to keep him there in future books. I could read Griffin's descriptions of London all day and never get bored. How does she know so much? Does she walk around the city herself for days on end to get her details correct and to soak up all that fantastic atmosphere? Can't wait to go and...more
See this mini review and others like it at!

STRAY SOULS had a very interesting premise, but it did take me a little while to get used to the narrative device. The story is told from multiple viewpoints, with Sharon’s being dominant, and often breaks up the main story with excerpts from the self-help group; some chapters are basically confessionals from the group members. Though I found it to be pretty original, it did make the overall flow seem a bit choppy. I found myself s...more
This begins a new series in the same magical-London setting as the Midnight Mayor books. We have a new central character: Sharon Li, failing barista and (suddenly) urban shaman. Attempting to deal with unexpected at-one-ness with the entire city and an occasional tendency to walk through walls, Sharon does what anyone would do: she starts a Facebook group for people with magical problems.

This new series is a distinct shift in tone and story-shape. The Matthew Swift books were fire, terror, wild...more
Ade Couper
I've been a big fan of Kate Griffin's "Matthew Swift" novels , & so was keen to read this : the story of Sharon Li , apprentice Shaman , & her attempts to thwart the plans of the mysterious (& frankly unpleasant) Mr Ruislip....

Ok , the bad points 1st : I wasn't keen on the structure of the work : it's written in mainly very short chapters, some of which were only a page long , which I found made it too easy to put the book down rather than persevere . I also found some of the charact...more
One day, for one moment, Sharon Li knows every thing about her city. It's too much for her mind to handle, so she forgets, but the experience leaves her with the unsettling ability to walk through walls or become invisible. A fan of self-help books, Sharon decides to start a support group using a facebook invite. This is the start of Magicals Anonymous, a strange mix of creepy (a necromancer constantly in search of new skin-care products, who measures his magical output in the body mass index it...more
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

Someone has stolen London's soul, and it's up to Sharon, a barista-cum-shaman, to find that soul and return it to the city.

I loved, loved, loved this book. From novice shaman Sharon, to her toothpaste-obsessed goblin mentor, the germ-obsessed vampire, the gourmet troll, and the druid with psychosomatic allergies, the characters were memorable, kooky, and well-developed. None lacked detail or seemed like an afterthought. The city itself became...more
I have to start by saying that Stray Souls was initially a little hard to get into the swing of. It’s very British — in speech, language, and sense of humor. But once I did get into the swing of it, I couldn’t put it down.

Sharon Li is a barista in a so-so coffee shop with a crappy boss, who’s eventually told she’s a shaman, but has trouble believing it. Her mentor is cranky and not so much into the whole teaching thing. And when Sharon is told she has to find the missing souls of London, she has...more
Started off a strong four, dipped significantly for a long stretch, came back. So, average 3.5, maybe.

It's entirely possible that this would have been more of a hit if I'd realised the Matthew Swift books came first before reading this, or equally possible it wouldn't. What I do feel fairly certain of is that it would have read better with a good pruning. I really liked Sharon Li, and enjoyed her voice, but there were just too many passages in which she bursts out in frustration about the way ev...more
Dave Higgins
Set in the same magical London as Griffin’s Matthew Swift novels , this novel skilfully introduces a cast of low powered or inept protagonists, giving a new and exciting perspective on the city.

The plot focuses on Sharon Li, a newly awakened shaman and self-help book addict, and the other members of Magicals Anonymous, a support group for those who have issues with integrating the magical and the mundane. When the spirit of London disappears ancient feuds and political struggles prevent Swift or...more
E.J. Frost
Fabulous new entry in Kate Griffin's magical London. When I read about the book I was afraid it wouldn't compare to The Minority Council, which I've added to my 'favourite books of all time' shelf, but I was pleasantly surprised. I very much liked seeing Matthew Swift from Sharon Li's perspective. The narrative structure of this story is both fitting and highly entertaining, and gave me a break from the sometimes overwhelming stream-of-consciousness style that Griffin employs when her characters...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A familiar setting filled with new characters, but has a few distracting qualities.

Opening Sentence: It was raining when Sharon Li became one with the city.

The Review:

Stray Souls by Kate Griffin is a new series set in a similar London as the Midnight Mayor series. Magic and paranormal beings are a norm in this world, complete with new characters in an urban world. I was a fan of the Midnight Mayor series, so I couldn’t wait to dive into Stra...more
Like all the other Kate Griffin books i've read, this one is a fast, entertaining, wonderfully imaginative extravaganza. And it's a bit disappointing. It's almost entirely, really, a sequence of action scenes. They're peppered with intense but tiny moments of characterization and story, glimpsed out of the corner of the narrative eye. I always wish - always expect, actually - that sooner or later the book must turn to them, that these are what it's all about! The problem is, what arrives instead...more
Aspen Junge
While this is in the same world as the Matthew Swift novels, Matthew and the electric blue angels are only a bit character. Once again, the City of London is great peril, but a sorcerer isn't of any particular use solving this problem; it needs a more subtle touch. A shaman's touch. Too bad there aren't too many creditable shamans around.

Well, there's the gal who started that Facebook group, the one named Magicals Anonymous but was very nearly named Weird Shit Keeps Happening to Me and I Don't...more
Kate Griffin's books are just plain amazing. I really loved the Matthew Swift series, and I like the sequel series, Magicals Anonymous as well.

Stray Souls was a great disappointment for the first about 30% of the book. Nothing was really happening, and you - the reader - can't really decide what's going on and who is this book even about. This isn't like the uncertainty of the Matthew Swift books, because those at least always had a sense of where they were going. Stray Souls, in contrast, begin...more
I LOVE naratives that present an outside viewpoint on characters or events the audience already knows, and with this foray into Matthew Swift's London that is precisely what we have. Sharon is wildly unlike Matthew Swift, and her approach to dealing with London's metaphysical weirdness is a lovely contrast to that of the Midnight Mayor. She'd be at home in a Terry Pratchett book, would Sharon - she's the kind of practical, capable young woman who rolls up her sleeves and gets things done with th...more
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...more
I received this book as part of the GoodReads First Read program. Just so you know.

I've never heard of Kate Griffin before, but the premise of this book intrigued me. A self help group for people who are struggling dealing with their magical impulses? Sounds hilarious! And for the most part, it is. The characters who populate the self help group (started on Facebook, by the way, because the book only mentions that every other page) are, for the most part, genius, and are fully formed with differ...more
This was an enjoyable read. The magical London world of Matthew Swift is greatly expanded with this book and we get a new lead character, Sharon Li an untrained shaman who is about to find that she and her magical self-help group may be the only thing standing between the city soul being destroyed. Matthew Swift does appear in this book but he is only a secondary character in a cast of magical eccentrics. Time-wise this book takes place after the events in The Minority Council A second book in t...more
Finding yourself can be hard enough for any person, without magical "extras" making you feel all the more isolated and alone. Kate Griffin puts the epic and the mundane side by side in STRAY SOULS. As Sharon's support group gropes for connection in a crumbling city, a terrible magic is killing those around them.

Unfortunately, it was just this snapshot writing style that made it hard for me to get into STRAY SOULS. 100 pages in, Sharon was still a cypher and I resented only getting spare glimpse...more
Fantasy Literature
I am a big fan of Kate Griffin’s MATTHEW SWIFT books. I think her love of London; the majestic, the beautiful, the historic, the grungy, the run-down and the shoddy, powers those books, as does a system of magic that grown organically from the city (or, as Swift puts it, “Life is magic.”) With Stray Souls, Griffin introduces another character and what appears to second series set in the same magical universe; the MAGICALS ANONYMOUS series.

Sharon Li is twenty-two. She is a barista in a coffee sho...more
Selina Lock
Sharon Li works at a coffee shop and has read far too many self-help books. She has one moment of perfect communion with the city of London, but doesn't realise that this, along with her randomly becoming invisible, means she's a shaman. She starts a Magical Anonymous group to find others having weird magical problems... and this band of misfits find themselves in a struggle to save the soul of the city.

I tried Griffin's first book in the Matthew Swift series, but not got very far into it. This...more
Kevin Mantle
I really enjoy the Matthew Swift series of books, currently the best of the contemporary urban fantasy set in London. However, this is bit of a misstep. Kate has shown that she has powerful descriptive prose, a great Love of London and an original protagonist in Matthew Swift; unfortunately this is lacking in Stray Souls. Although still good, it's let down by a use of short chapters and the inclusion of humorous characters, which are not. Also, Welsh people don't constantly put 'see' into every...more
I absolutely loved the Matthew Swift series, so I wasn't sure what to think of this new character taking the lead, Sharon Li, urban shaman and self-help addict, is the new primary character w/ the Midnight Mayor in more of a supporting role. And, with her, we get a troupe of characters from a cantankerous gremlin to an OCD vampire to a banshee w/ a love of Impressionism. The book was a fun, entertaining read that, frankly, was a lot easier going than the Swift series as it lacked the internal di...more
Leila Kheiry
This is a weird book, but also very good. I didn't read the description carefully when I checked it out of the library, so I wasn't quite prepared for a novel about a support group for shamans, druids, vampires, trolls, banshees and other magical types. They're kind of a blundering crew that uses group therapy plus magic to save London from an evil wendigo -- I still need to look up what that is. It's a bad creature, though.
Despite the fantasy subject matter, it's a well-written book (I've read...more
I warn you all now, Getting into this story makes one's mind hurt. It's chapters are confusing jumping from character to character at first, but thankfully short, so short they're numerous! 111 Chapters. o.o I've never read a book with that many Chapters before, but it seems each one is under 50 pages max (don't quote me on that! I didn't sit and figure which chapter was longest and how many pages it was).

But if you can get past the confusing set-up and the way the characters talk sometimes (Odd...more
MiniReview: Stray Souls is a funny and unique take on a well worn genre. Griffin updates urban fantasy tropes with her heroine, Sharon, as she tries to save London from a soul eater. It features the hero of Griffin's other series as a supporting character, something that confused me since I'd never read it. Sharon is a shaman and her tribe (because all Shaman's need a tribe) is a self help group for the magically confused. Griffin has a really unique sense of humor and it shines through, even wh...more
The fact that this book is the start of a spin off series from the Matthew Swift series means that it will always be compared to it, regardless of whether it should be judged on it's own merit, and sadly in my opinion if you use the Matthew Swift series as a benchmark it does fall slightly short.

There are a number of good things about this book which make it enjoyable and at times, very hard to put down. Without doubt it is very funny, causing me to laugh out loud a number of times as you read...more
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Should I start with this? 1 1 Jul 18, 2014 10:42AM  
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Kate Griffin is the pen name under which Catherine Webb writes fantasy novels for adults.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
More about Kate Griffin...
A Madness of Angels (Matthew Swift, #1) The Midnight Mayor (Matthew Swift, #2) The Neon Court (Matthew Swift, #3) The Minority Council (Matthew Swift, #4) The Glass God (Magicals Anonymous, #2)

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