Undying Legion: Crown & Key, Book 2

Undying LegionAuthor: Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith
Book Name: Undying Legion
Series: Crown & Key
Order: #2
Genre: SciFi/Fantasy/Historical/Steampunk
Rating:  Really Good
4+stars

 

Blurb: 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.

Review: Started out as expected after the last one, just jumping right in to the action.  Then it slowed down quite a bit for a little while before picking back up again.  I didn’t see quite as much action in this one as the last.  Also got way more on the gadgets and stuff and really not a whole lot on either the alchemy or the magic from our main characters which was a little bit of a let down.

This just had a slightly different feel to it than the first book.  While still really good, it just wasn’t quite the same, so not quite as good.  I’m hoping the next one is more in line with the first.

The Shadow Revolution: Crown & Key, Book 1

The Shadow RevolutionAuthor: Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith
Book Name: The Shadow Revolution
Series: Crown & Key
Order: #1
Genre: SciFi/Fantasy/Historical/Steampunk
Rating:  Really Good
4+stars

 

Blurb: They are the realm’s last, best defense against supernatural evil. But they’re going to need a lot more silver.

As fog descends, obscuring the gas lamps of Victorian London, werewolves prowl the shadows of back alleys. But they have infiltrated the inner circles of upper-crust society as well. Only a handful of specially gifted practitioners are equipped to battle the beasts. Among them are the roguish Simon Archer, who conceals his powers as a spell-casting scribe behind the smooth veneer of a dashing playboy; his layabout mentor, Nick Barker, who prefers a good pub to thrilling heroics; and the self-possessed alchemist Kate Anstruther, who is equally at home in a ballroom as she is on a battlefield.

After a lycanthrope targets Kate’s vulnerable younger sister, the three join forces with fierce Scottish monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane–but quickly discover they’re dealing with a threat far greater than anything they ever imagined.

Review: Loved this!  It was a really cool, fun, inventive book with lots of incredibly interesting and spunky characters.  Kind of a newer concept for me, but it really worked.

This was yet another book that was mostly focused on a male main character, but was a bit more balanced as we got to see perspectives from several of the characters, not just the one.  The magic system in this was different than what I’ve seen in other books, with the idea that there are different types of practitioners and how they access magic along with those that are more alchemists rather than just magic users.  How those differences were blended worked really well together.

I got a huge kick out of Kate’s snarky attitude and Simon’s rather debonair persona played together nicely with that.  Each of the other supporting characters were really unique.  I would have loved to have had Penny in more of the story.

While this does have a touch of the Steampunk vibe, we didn’t see an overwhelming amount of it, but it was well balanced.  Some of what we did see were really awesome concepts, but a few pushed the boundaries of believability because of the practical application of the apparent technology of the time didn’t seem to fit.  Even then, it works well because they are amazing anyway.

I’m hoping like crazy that the next book in the series is as good as this one.