Review: The Shadow Revolution

The Shadow Revolution (Crown & Key, #1)@clayandsusan
The Shadow Revolution by Clay Griffith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Victorian-era urban fantasy is a genre which piques my interest.  New to me authors Clay and Susan Griffith kick off an interesting series.  There are werewolves, sorcerers and alchemists moving about without polite society's knowledge.  For those who picked this book up because of the reference to Penny Dreadful, be forewarned, there is no underlying dark sexual tension.  This book contains no character like the Eva Green.  This book is more about mystery and horrors perpetuated by an evil mad scientist. 

Simon Archer is a spell-caster who can use ether to perform amazing feats of magic.  Relegated to the shadows, he's been enjoying life between the legs of loose women.  When an encounter with a former lover ends in bloodshed, it becomes a defining moment in his life.  Simon examines what he has accomplished and determines to change his life.  To his surprise, wingman, Nick Barker disagrees.

The world building in this book is good.  I really liked how Victorian London is set up with the mystical world neatly woven in.  It reminds me a little bit of Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series.  Unlike that series, the focus for The Shadow Revolution is on the mysteries and conspiracies.  This story is grittier and darker with less emphasis on the romantic aspect which is to be expected for an urban fantasy.  This is actually what makes it good.  The lack of romance and sex help keeps this book focused.  The plot is well done and tighten written.  Whilst there may be no sex, there is a possible love interest in Kate Anstruther. 

The characters in this story are well done.  They are well designed characters with a complexity I enjoy.  Kate is admirable and the quintessential Bluestocking.  Her interactions with Simon and Nick are amusing as she doesn't behave as they expect.  What I like about Kate is that she still retains her femininity to balance her masculine like traits.  The secondary characters in this story are also engaging.  What is truly captivating is the evil villain and the monsters he creates.  The book takes quite a bit to finally reach the exciting part.  Once it does, the book moves at a fast pace.  The conclusion arrives all too fast with a tragic ending.  This ending is marvelously done because it hooks the reader in for the next book.  After finishing this tale, I immediately yearn for the next.  The duo Griffith authors are ones I'm going to watch.  Recommended to readers who are looking for more substance to their urban fantasies. 

*provided by NetGalley



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