The Shadow RevolutionSeries: Crown & Key #1
by Clay & Susan Griffith
Published by Del Rey on June 2nd, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
They are the realm’s last, best defense against supernatural evil. But they’re going to need a lot more silver.
As fog descends, obscuring the gas lamps of Victorian London, werewolves prowl the shadows of back alleys. But they have infiltrated the inner circles of upper-crust society as well. Only a handful of specially gifted practitioners are equipped to battle the beasts. Among them are the roguish Simon Archer, who conceals his powers as a spell-casting scribe behind the smooth veneer of a dashing playboy; his layabout mentor, Nick Barker, who prefers a good pub to thrilling heroics; and the self-possessed alchemist Kate Anstruther, who is equally at home in a ballroom as she is on a battlefield.
After a lycanthrope targets Kate’s vulnerable younger sister, the three join forces with fierce Scottish monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane—but quickly discover they’re dealing with a threat far greater than anything they ever imagined.
I was super stoked to see that the Griffiths had written another trilogy. I have been meaning to read them ever since they released their Vampire Empire series back in 2011. Call me “easy” but I might have been lured in by the beautiful cover as well. Best part, this new series (a trilogy really) is releasing in quick succession so there’s no waiting in between books. No time to forget about Simon and his super cool tats. No time to forget about Kate, her crazy talent for alchemy, or that pesky unanswered question about her eccentric father who is somewhere out in the world (that one is really bugging me). Here’s why I’ll be reading all three books:
Set in London in the 1820’s, there’s an evil making its way into the city. Simon Archer and his mentor, Nick Barker, have taken it upon themselves to investigate and rid the city of these evils. Loosely put, we’re introduced to both of them as “magicians”, with a little of Sherlock and Holmes banter thrown in. We learn that there’s actually a lot more to their “magic” as the story unfolds – many very original surprises and reveals! Don’t forget the steampunk! Since this is the 1820’s, there’s also those pesky societal rules built into the story. Women wear dresses and go to balls. Men worthy of high society come from good families. You can guess where I’m going with this… BUT, I’ve got to say that the Griffith’s did NOT do typical with their world or their plot.
Oh my story!
I loved how the story unfolded while the authors were world building. No time for boredom! Hang on, here we go right into the action! I thought plot development (cough Story) and the action balanced each other well throughout the book. And very rarely did I have questions about the world. The only time I did was silly little things like guns and potions – silly stuff I was curious about so I turned back a few pages to look up. See? The Griffith’s had me totally invested in the story. One last thing on the action scenes: I will admit, sometimes I get confused trying to picture in my head what is happening. I totally blame the author because in no way could it be me (that’s sarcasm, folks). “The Shadow Revolution” has some of the best action scenes I’ve ever read. Extremely clear and easy to picture in my mind’s eye. Not that I really wanted to picture some of the creatures so clearly…
Characters and Creatures
I really enjoyed reading about the main characters, Simon and Kate. But I think what makes urban fantasy even better, especially for follow-up books, are the supporting characters. Two standouts that I absolutely NEED backstory on, or even just a crumb of information about, are Penny and Hogarth…. please? The creatures… yeah, they are pretty brutal. And when I wondered if the Griffiths were going to “go there”, they sure as heck did. Creepy. Did I mention the steampunk? Yeah? Just making sure. Perhaps there should have been more than 28 days in between books one and two. I’m not sure if I’ve caught my breath yet.