The Undying LegionSeries: Crown & Key #2
by Clay & Susan Griffith
Published by Del Rey, Random House on June 30th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk
With a flood of dark magic about to engulf Victorian London, can a handful of heroes vanquish a legion of the undead?
When monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane comes across the gruesome aftermath of a ritual murder in a London church, he enlists the help of magician-scribe Simon Archer and alchemist extraordinaire Kate Anstruther. Studying the macabre scene, they struggle to understand obscure clues in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics carved into the victim’s heart—as well as bizarre mystical allusions to the romantic poetry of William Blake. One thing is clear: Some very potent black magic is at work.
But this human sacrifice is only the first in a series of ritualized slayings. Desperate to save lives while there is still time, Simon, Kate, and Malcolm—along with gadget geek Penny Carter and Charlotte, an adolescent werewolf—track down a necromancer who is reanimating the deceased. As the team battles an unrelenting army of undead, a powerful Egyptian mummy, and serpentine demons, the necromancer proves an elusive quarry. And when the true purpose of the ritual is revealed, the gifted allies must confront a destructive force that is positively apocalyptic.
The second book in Clay & Susan Griffith’s Crown & Key Series was like coming home to my old stomping grounds to visit my favorite friends. If that old stomping ground was the absolutely worse place to live because it’s overrun with necromancers, Egyptian demons with snake minions, werewolves without a leader, and escaped magic-wielding felons.
In my opinion, this wacky group of friends are totally worth braving the danger, though.
Sophomore books are tricky. I find that more often than not, they just don’t live up to the first book (or debut) of the series. There are a million ways a second book can fail. Lucky for me I don’t have to talk about any of them because The Undying Legion was fabulous. It had no problem living up to expectations set by it’s predecessor.
I’m going to strongly suggest you read the first book before reading this book, though. This one just won’t be as enjoyable, let alone make any sense, if you don’t.
I will endeavor to stay spoiler free – wish me luck!
Back in all their paranormal crime-solving glory are Simon and Kate. While Simon is studying the key his and Kate’s father left behind, Kate labors away to help both Charlotte and Imogene become part of society. Kate takes care of her “family”. Malcolm, the grumpy not-so-little brother is fabulously back and is out to find trouble. He runs headlong into a pickle in the form of a nasty ritualistic murder in a local church.
The story is sharp, quick, and flawless with imaginative fight scenes that had me gulping for more air (well, I do have a cold so maybe…)
I about imploded from sheer happiness to read more of Penny and her brother Charles’ backstory. Combine that with plot surprises and scenes between Kate and Simon and I was packing my bags to move into Hartley Hall. As long as the immutable Hogarth can be my bodyguard. I’d really like a Hogarth of my own…