Title: The Shadow Revolution
Series: Crown & Key (Book #1)
Author: Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith
Published: June 2nd 2015 by Del Rey
Format: 320 pages; Paperback; Ebook
After falling in love with Adele and Gareth and the world of Vampire Empire, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Clay & Susan Griffith’s newest series, Crown and Key. And let me just say The Shadow Revolution does not disappoint.
One of the Griffiths’ greatest strengths lies in their fantastic characterization, and in The Shadow Revolution they’ve created a wonderfully diverse, independent, flawed, sometimes mercenary, group of characters who must band together against the otherly darkness threatening London. From the roguish scribe, Simon (who’s facing a bit of an existential crisis) to the fiery ingenuity of alchemist Kate, to the gruff, no-nonsense werewolf hunter, Malcolm, to the enigmatic and unscrupulous Nick, to the irrepressible and resourceful Penny, to the silent and steady Hogarth, the personal growth, alliances, relationships, and potential romances between all of these characters are really what make this story compelling. While the story is arguably more about Simon and Kate, at the same time, it’s also very much an origin story for this, hopefully, (superawesomemagicalmonsterfighting) team. An early-Victorian, steampunk, mystery/adventure, urban fantasy origin story? I mean, seriously. How awesome is that? It definitely fills a much-needed niche.
Also falling under the characterization umbrella… the villians, oh my. Creepy and terrifying as all get out. I’m of the opinion that it can be harder to create a credible villain than a credible hero, and the Griffiths certainly have a talent for creating truly, spine-tinglingly evil villains without them being in the least cardboardian, mustache-twirling caricatures. And the monsters? Shudder-inducing in the way they are portrayed. I mean… *shudder*. The vividly, cinematic descriptiveness is excellent, and this extends beyond just the characters, villains and monsters to the larger setting of the novel. The Griffiths’ 1830s London jumps off the page with their depiction, a darkly beautiful, dangerous living, breathing entity all its own.
And how was the story? Something dark is afoot on the grimy, unforgiving streets of London, and what begins as something of random werewolf attack and a Lydia-Wickhamesque quest to rescue Kate’s younger sister from ruination quickly morphs into something far more sinister. The story is pretty fast-paced, the mystery intriguing and refreshingly surprising, and the action thrilling. It pulls you in and barely lets you up for air, and I love the intensity of that kind of storytelling. The build up to and eventual confrontation is satisfying and earned, and there are plenty of interesting long-game plot points that are put into motion for the rest of the trilogy, and I for one cannot wait to discover how those resolve.
Overall. On to The Undying Legion!