June 28, 2015

Steampunk Sundays: The Undying Legion by Clay and Susan Griffith

Series: Crown & Key 2
Format: eGalley
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Steampunk

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.

Talk Supe


  1. Ah steampunk. It's been a puzzle of a genre for me. Maybe some day. Sigh.

  2. Implied romance seems to be the Griffiths' speciality. It doesn't work done by just anyone, but these people CAN write. Can't wait to read this, I loved Shadow Revolution to bits and pieces :)

  3. *groaning*I so need to read this series, Braine! It sounds amazing! Problem is if I don't be the book for review it takes ages for me to read it on my own :-) you know how it is! Fan review!

  4. And I hate autocorrect which screwed my previous comment. Insert read instead of be, and fab instead of fan:-)

  5. Great review. Your excitement is infectious! Hugs...Ro

  6. Oh yay! Loved the first one so I'm thrilled its just as good and with new fascinating backdrop stuff and adventures.

  7. I was curious to see reviews after some awesome for book 1 and I'm glad to see you had again a good time with it becuase now it means that I really really need to try the series.

  8. This sounds like a great follow on book for the series! I love action packed reads and this series sounds so good! Great review Braine!

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

  9. Book 1 is our book club read for September or October I believe it is :D Yay for them being good!

    And pssst I'm listening to my first steampunk audiobook :D It's good so far :D

  10. Oooh okay, you have my attention with this one :) I'll have to give it a go!

  11. I haven't read this author but it sounds really good.

  12. I don't know how I missed out on this series, I had no clue until I started reading reviews for the first book, and I am so sad I didn't jump on board, now I am hoping to work it in, but who knows when that will be.

  13. You made this book sound really good on your review, so good it's even tempting to read, even though I'm in a paranormal/fantasy reading slump.

  14. Braine, I've heard a lot of good things about this novel and I loved their Vampire Empire series too. Looks like I've got a new novel to get to!

  15. Wow, this sounds so good! I can't believe I've never heard of it before today! I love characters with special abilities/powers. Not a huge fan of werewolves but it's not like there's a thousand of them, so I can manage. :P Great review!

  16. I enjoyed the first book and I am surprised I didn't get this one for review. I do think I was a bit late requesting it. Looks like I'll be getting it from the library since it sounds like a great compliment to the first!

  17. This is def outside what I would normally read-- and usually I need romance with my fantasy to balance

  18. Okay, you have my attention. I would fall in the category of new to the series and authors and this sounds like my kind a read. Awesome! Thank you!

  19. If it doesn't feel steampunk then I am in. I do love the sound of the action and paranormal elements.

  20. Sounds pretty damn good to me. I love that there isn't an overload of science/ tech stuff. I have the first in this series on my TBR. Thanks for your review.

  21. I love kick-ass gangs, like Buffy, and this ensemble sure looks like a solid group. Nice review! :)


My reviews are subjective & does not reflect that of Talk Supe's followers.

Also I LOVE commenting back so if you're checking out a post, leave a line or two and I promise to visit your blog back. Let's feed each other's blogger soul!