Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Release Day Review: The Undying Legion by Clay and Susan Griffith

The Undying Legion
(Crown & Key #2)
Clay and Susan Griffith
Release: June 30, 2015
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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.

Review by Rose Red: 

About half way through this book, I had a realization. The story was kind of like reading a gaslight fantasy version of The Mummy with a slightly larger cast of characters. It's also been pointed out to me that it's almost like a Victorian version of Scooby Doo and the gang which I can totally agree with as well. In other words, this book was great! Seriously. It was yet again another fast-paced, action-packed adventure that hurtled you through the story at breakneck speed! It was such a delightful read! 

Victory against the big bad in The Shadow Revolution was bittersweet for Simon and Kate. They may have defeated Gretta's werewolves and the homunculi of the evil Dr. White, but it wasn't without some loss. Nick has abandoned them for safer pastures and Imogen's transformation appears to be permanent, and they are nowhere close to discovering the purpose of Simon's mysterious key.

While out hunting the last of the rogue werewolves in London, Malcolm discovers the aftermath of a particularly gruesome ritual murder in a local church. More murders follow and clues indicate they are part of a larger necromantic ritual.
The London they know is crumbling around them as dark magic covers the city and the dead rise from their graves. Like Nick said in the first book, sometimes taking a stand draws the attention of evils far greater than what you are prepared to face.

Demons, demigods, cults, conspiracies, and the undead abound in the second book of this series. This story is very much a plot driven one and I enjoyed the heck out of it. It kept me guessing. The twists and turns are cleverly done and the ending was a complete surprise. I like being surprised. Husband and wife authors, Clay and Susan Griffith, create a mystical world filled with intrigue, secrets and danger. After the last book, we have no clue who is on the side of right outside of our little group. Then again, right and wrong is all a matter of perspective, right?

We start to see more character development in our ever growing cast. We learn more about each of these characters individually and how their pasts tie them together. The characters are getting more and more complex, with their own unique strengths and vulnerabilities. And we're starting to see more relationships form as they ragtag lot becomes more of a team. They have to work on trusting and relying on each other. I particularly enjoyed getting to see more of the delightful inventor, Penny, in this book as well as the girl werewolf, Charlotte. There's still a lot of unknowns in the story and several untold secrets that will leave you wanting more. The ending of this story pulled me deeper into this series because there are some major consequences of that last major battle in this book that will undoubtedly throw a wrench in things in the next book.

What I really liked about this book is how well-developed the scenes are in these books. They are well written and easy to visualize. The fight scenes are particularly great!
The frantic pace mirrors the group's desperation as they try to prevent London from becoming a battleground for two powerful and very destructive forces. The book was like a movie playing in my mind. The characters are easy to picture and each of the places in this book are memorable. It was all way impressive. 
The Undying Legion combines a thrilling well-developed plot with spectacular action sequences with witty banter and unlikely heroes that are fabulously unique and fascinating. It all works together to bring this steampunk story to life. I enjoyed it immensely and I can't wait to see what comes next in the final book of the trilogy! Fans of gaslight fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk will love this series!

Recommended for fans of: 
The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  4 / 5 Stars

My reviews of other books in this series:
The Shadow Revolution by Clay and Susan Griffith

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