Release Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
A thrilling new Victorian-era urban fantasy for fans of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, the Showtime series Penny Dreadful, and the Sherlock Holmes movies featuring Robert Downey, Jr.
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.
Okay, so I have a new set of favorite superheroes in Simon, Kate, Malcolm, and Charlotte. This company is composed of a druid, an alchemist, a werewolf, and a warrior, and they kick serious ass! Every installment of Crown & Key by Clay and Susan Griffith is filled with magic and mayhem. It might be Steampunk, but it feels more like an action-packed paranormal fantasy than an edgy Victorian adventure.
Okay, maybe I downplayed it so you, non-Steampunk readers, will read this. But seriously, like I mentioned in my The Shadow Revolution review, the novel isn't riddled with science, gadgets, and other mech stuff. So no intimidating tech talk here, just good 'ol evil fighting led by pretty girls and swoony guys for your pleasure.
For Series Followers
THE UNDYING LEGION is amazeballs! It's just as good, if not better, than The Shadow Revolution. Egyptian myth, necromancy, zombies, resurrected Gods, mad necromancers, it's brimming with the good stuff. And with the group growing more tight knit, Simon growing more into his powers, and an upcoming great face-off, it's bound to be epic! I guess you can say that this is a warm-up for the big event *grins*.
Initially I thought THE UNDYING LEGION was going to be Malcolm's book as he opned the novel. Even if it wasn't, I'm not entirely disapointed because his character showed growth and he got more page time here. Also, dare I say that our kilted monster hunter has a love interest in a pretty dame named Jane who works in the soup kitchen? Yeah, these two already bonded over reanimated corpses and I'm sure they'll be kissing and holding hands soon.
Also, the team might have saved Imogen, but she's not "right". I hope Kate finds a cure for her, or some magical thing happens that can bring her back to her old self. As for Charlotte, I guess even Malcolm isn't immune to her charms and spunkiness, werewolf or not. These two are a great monster fighting team. Finally, Simon and Kate are very much together and very much in love, they're a great team and super cute together. Overall, I think y'all will love this installment.
For New and/or Upcoming Series Followers
Anybody who loves fantasy and adventure will love Crown & Key. The novels are episodic, the novels are jammed with action, there's a great team-up of paranormal characters, the magic is elemental, and though it says "steampunk", it doesn't feel like steampunk. So don't worry about acclimating to devices and the like, the Griffiths watered that part down so it will appeal to non-steampunk readers.
As for the romance, it's implied but not shown. I didn't mind the absence, I'd rather have a "clean" novel than have one where the romance is forced or out of place and distracts from the core of the tale. Also, I don't think you'll notice its absence because the chemistry between Simon and Kate is there, and the tension between them is crisp. The good stuff is saved for the imagination *winks*.
So I hope you give Crown & Key a shot. It's Summer, be adventurous! Tis the season to try new things.