Review: The Conquering Dark by Clay and Susan Griffith

Posted August 25, 2015 in Review / 11 Comments

Review: The Conquering Dark by Clay and Susan Griffith

The Conquering Dark

Series: Crown & Key #3
Published by Del Rey on July 28th 2015
Genres: Historical, Fantasy, Steampunk
Pages: 338
Format: eARC

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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The Crown and Key Society face their most terrifying villain yet: Gaios, a deranged demigod with the power to destroy Britain.

To avenge a centuries-old betrayal, Gaios is hell-bent on summoning the elemental forces of the earth to level London and bury Britain. The Crown and Key Society, a secret league consisting of a magician, an alchemist, and a monster-hunter, is the realm’s only hope—and to stop Gaios, they must gather their full strength and come together as a team, or the world will fall apart.

But Simon Archer, the Crown and Key’s leader and the last living magician-scribe, has lost his powers. As Gaios searches for the Stone of Scone, which will give him destructive dominion over the land, monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane, alchemist extraordinaire Kate Anstruther, gadget geek Penny Carter, and Charlotte the werewolf scramble to reconnect Simon to his magic before the world as they know it is left forever in ruins.


I freakin’ bawled my eyes out when I finished reading this final book in the Crown and Key trilogy.  Heads up people – if you want to read this series, start at book one, The Shadow Revolution, and don’t skip book two, The Undying Legion.  Only then will you properly and fully enjoy the complete experience of the Crown and Key trilogy (cue the John Williams music).

So, I kind of liked this series and this book, The Conquering Dark, did the series proud with a strong, albeit gut wrenching, finale.

Simon and his team of supernatural detectives are licking their wounds from their previous battle with a strong, god-like magician.  Unfortunately, they have two more of these strong magicians left over who are now battling over London.  One wants to destroy it, the other wants to control it.

I’m trying to decide what I enjoyed most about this book (and series).  Did I love the world building the most?  I have to say, the Griffiths do have amazing imaginations.  They continued to astound me with Penny’s unique “steampunk-ish” weapons and inventions.  And imagine if you will a rock golum swathing a path of destruction through your backyard.  I could easily picture it because the Griffiths paint spectacular pictures with their words.

But there’s still something I enjoyed more…

The plot/drama in this book was relatively good.  At times it played backseat to the character development but that was fine with me.  This just wasn’t my favorite story of the entire trilogy.  I was just a tad bit distracted by all the happenings going on with the characters.  Which leads me to my favorite part of this particular book…

The characters!

I adore these characters that the Griffiths developed!  Simon showed a different side to himself in this book.  And even though Kate was a tad bit flat, she complimented Simon and her sister Imogen when she needed to perfectly.  The relationship between Malcolm and Charlotte was kind of expected but then I saw a seed of something between Malcolm and ?????? (not telling you!) and that utterly made my day!  I had been secretly hoping for that little seed ever since I met those two.

But if a book has me torn to pieces by the end of it, with Kleenex piled high nearby, that’s a sure sign that the authors have done their job masterfully and captured me, a bit soggy in the face, but still loving this book.


About Clay & Susan Griffith

Clay & Susan Griffith

We are a married couple who have written together for nearly two decades. Our credits include novels such as the VAMPIRE EMPIRE series (Pyr Books) and the CROWN & KEY trilogy (Del Rey). We've written numerous short stories for anthologies, some featuring noted genre characters such as Kolchak the Night Stalker and The Phantom. We have also scripted comics including The Tick, The Simpsons, Allan Quatermain, and Vincent Price Presents. And we've written scripts for the television/web series Monster Creature Feature.

We met one day at a bookstore over a copy of The Uncanny X-Men #201. Later we were married in Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland. We share a love of romantic pulp adventure and classic movies.

Susan is a native of upstate New York and a graduate in SUNY-Albany in English. Clay is from North Carolina and has a master's degree in African History from NC State University.




About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of “happily ever after” books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It’s for her family’s sake. When not reading, she’s homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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11 responses to “Review: The Conquering Dark by Clay and Susan Griffith

    • K

      It gets really creepy but I will tell you, Simon is sooooo worth the creepiness. He is such a unique hero. Malcolm isn’t bad either but he’s flat compared to Simon 😀

    • K

      I think YOU will like the series (err, I hope?). Each book has it’s own plot so they each are unique and have closure, so don’t sweat that. But you really must meet all the characters early so when the end comes…. waaaaaaaaahhhhhh…. I’m such a sucker!!

    • K

      I’m surprised you didn’t originally nab this one earlier! You must be a busy girl! I think you’ll like this one b/c it is so chuck full of plot and action. Makes me miss Iron Druid’s fast paced early beginnings *sigh*

    • K

      From your mouth to God’s, err, I mean the Griffith’s ears!! We still need to know what happened to Kate and Imogen’s father!!! And what if Simon’s pa is with him? Ya, I could write some fan fiction for them…. ha! No way!!!

  1. I still can’t believe I didn’t request that series on Netgalley when I saw it, it was so tempting but I tried so hard to be reasonable *bangs head against wall, desk, anywhere* !
    Red Iza recently posted…Just because