The Angels of Islington is 182 pages, was released on December 12th 2014 and is available HERE!
Born in Exeter, 1975, a young girl named Sarah Channing Wright escaped the sleepy town and found dark sanctuary in 90s London aged 21.
There, she submerged herself in the city’s Goth scene- most of which still exists today- and drunk herself under the influence of writers such as American horror-queen Anne Rice and the gorgeously sick Poppy Z Brite. The product of this combination is “The Angels of Islington”, originally written around seventeen years ago but now resurrected and bought to a pale new light.
As untactfully named as they are, the characters of Onyx, Demon, Spider and Storm are vampires, eternal and undead – nothing new here.
What we do have new here, is the introduction of such beastly mortals into an area and time specific subculture, all based around the illustratively mapped dark streets of North London, most notably Camden Town, The Devonshire arms, known colloquially and lovingly as “The Dev” and of course London’s premier gothic nightclub, Slimelight.
Hiding in the ancient warehouse that the club is still hosted in every Saturday night, these vamps don’t show much we haven’t read before, albeit a less sophisticated sense of humour then you would expect.
Totally immersed in this decadent and liberal subculture, the vampires are totally unaware that someone, humourlessly known as “The Count” is plotting revenge against them. Their mission is to stick together, remain strong, and not be too distracted by the free flowing alcohol they find at their daily disposal.
Taking inspiration from the journalistic style of Poppy Z Brite is all well and good, but the very much flat plot-line makes for a rather disengaging read. In just 182 pages, it becomes much easier to lose interest than it should be, as characters are not properly developed and almost no tension is successfully built.
Descriptions don’t go far beyond “a boy in a Rosetta Stone t-shirt”, and the over using of name dropping post-punk and deathrock bands and excessively listing aesthetic features such as back combed hair and pierced nipples really doesn’t carry much weight. Having said that, I have no doubt that very much of this is tongue-and cheek, mostly designed to provoke a smirk on every Slimelight attendee’s lips. It however provoked few on mine.
It’s no masterpiece of gothic fiction, that’s for sure, but here Sarah Channing Wright has at least managed to execute an original idea and pull it off without too many massive failures, it’s just the very B-grade writing style and dull pace that drags this short novel down. Recommended to those who sound intrigued.