The Shadow Revolution
(Crown & Key #1)
Clay and Susan Griffith
Release: June 2, 2015
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.
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 by Rose Red:
The Shadow Revolution is a fast-paced, action-packed book that can be classified as a combination of Gaslight Fantasy, Steampunk, and Urban Fantasy with a dash of Horror. As the synopsis says, it will most certainly appeal to fans of Penny Dreadful, and the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey, Jr. I’ve never seen Penny Dreadful but I can see why it was compared to Downey’s Sherlock. It has the same fun, flashy style it did plus lots of fun steampunk gadgets. There’s not a lot of substance to this book. It’s just a plain fun read and we all need those some days. At least, I do. I really enjoyed this book a lot, though it was somewhat difficult to get past a couple of things that hindered my enjoyment.
The first forty pages or so of this book nearly made me give up. I think part of the reason this book was so hard for me to get into is that we get thrown right into the middle of this world with very little introduction to it. It took me those forty pages to work through my confusion. Once I got through them though, I couldn’t stop reading!
The plot was so full of action that there was no lull in the story. It was such a fun read! The worldbuilding is subtle and tended to be thrown into the story in chunks and not fed to us a little at a time. I loved the dark, Victorian-esque feel of this world and it worked awesome with the plot. I’ll be honest; the authors’ writing style took some getting used to and wasn’t as tight as I’ve become accustomed to in other books. That being said, the plot and the characters worked together in such a way that the weakness in the writing and the hard to get into first forty pages were things that became easy to overlook as I read.
One of the best things outside of the story in the book for me was the characters and their interactions with each other! They were written is such a way that they were flawed and yet they were strong. This applied to both the female and male characters. I loved that the relationship emphasis in this book was on the relationships between family and friends and not lovers. We’re first introduced to Simon who is not what he seems despite his lovable playboy manner. He is a little self-centered but he has a good heart. I loved that he had a unique type of magic and I was intrigued as we learned more about his power. I found it hilarious that his partner-in-crime is the magician equivalent of a Jack-of-all-trades. I liked the relationship between Nick and Simon, but I’ll admit that Nick was not my favorite character. Don’t get me wrong! I like him! I just like the others more like Malcolm. I loved this grumpy, Scottish man! His role in the story had me intrigued from the moment he was introduced.
I loved the women in this book so much! They’re strong and have talents outside the womanly arts. They’re intelligent and I loved that they could hold their own in a fight! I really liked Kate’s character! She’s a brilliant alchemist and is okay not being an active member of society. She tended to be a little overbearing in parts but she was not afraid to do what she needed to do. She especially went to great lengths to take care of her sister, Imogen. The character that stole my heart from the first page we met her was Penny! I loved that she was an engineer with all sorts of steampunk devices that she had invented. I wish that she had had more page time in this book that she did.
My favorite part of this was the banter between the characters. Everyone spoke in a manner that seemed appropriate for high society people, which is something a lot of authors don’t get right. Most of the characters especially Simon were witty. Simon was also quite hilarious at times with his quips and one-liners. I literally laughed out loud several times while reading this book and that was not something I was expecting to do. There is some romance in the story, but it is the slow burning type that I love. I will say that I totally ship the romance pairings we see developing in this book. I was afraid from the synopsis of the book that there was going to be a love triangle but luckily that was not the case.
The magic system was interesting but we didn’t learn much about it in this book. I’m hoping we’ll learn more about it in the next installments of this series. I would like to know more about scribes and how they differ from other kinds of magicians.
In any case, as I said, I enjoyed this book a lot despite the rocky start I had. This was a highly entertaining steampunk/paranormal romp. There were werewolves, druid magic, steampunk gadgets, and alchemy in this story all wrapped up in a mystery. It was an incredibly fun read! This was a great first book and an excellent start to what I think will be a fun series to read. I can’t wait to read the next book in the story! I’m intrigued to see where they’re going to go with the story!
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.