Review: The Conquering Dark

The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key, #3)The Conquering Dark by Clay Griffith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fitting end to a whirlwind of magic, betrayal, and loss.  Simon and Kate have created their own Steampunk Scooby-gang.  This unlikely band of heroes includes Penny, Charlotte , Malcolm and
Imogen.  Missing, is Simon's mentor, Nick who leaves them when he can't convince Simon to depart and quit fighting monsters.

This story is over the top with non-stop monsters and fighting.  There doesn't seem to be any downtime for Simon and Kate as they try to figure out how to stop the out of control magicians.  What they finally figure out, is that a band of magicians, similar to theirs collapsed due to betrayal and hurt feelings.  It's sad how easily bonds can be broken when the heart is involved.  It's a cautionary tale for Simon and Kate who are drawing closer and closer together.  As they unravel each conspiracy, they finally come upon the solution to prevent England from being destroyed.  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

The plot to this story is a bit thin.  What makes this story exciting for me is the action and clever devices used against the deranged Gaios.  I particularly like the heavy use of steampunk machinery for explosives and monsters.  What also made this story more poignant is the loss incurred in this fight against darkness.  Sometimes, the good guys don't always survive and sometimes, the bad guys are not all bad.  The blatant use and abuse of those who want to be neutral makes this story a bit darker.  To take the innocent and subvert them into evil actions is a nice touch.

The final confrontation is almost anticlimactic.  The ending closes a loop which started years before this group of magical defenders were born.  With good triumphing over evil, what is up next for Simon and Kate?  It seems there are still some stones left unturned for them.  The ending leaves an opening for another trilogy filled with magic, mystery and adventure.  Recommended for urban fantasy readers who enjoy steampunk and betrayals.

*provided by NetGalley

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