Series: Crown & Key, Book 2
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Historical Urban Fantasy/Steampunk
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
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.
The Undying Legion is monstrously entertaining…with extra emphasis on the monsters. The second Crown & Key story is an intriguing puzzle; each piece is its own supernatural entity, but it all comes together to create one cohesive, delightful story.
I admit, I had my reservations about The Undying Legion, as the first Crown & Key book was hit and miss for me. I’m glad to say that the continued adventures of Simon, Kate, and Malcolm is just as exciting as The Shadow Revolution, but far less choppy. Authors Susan and Clay Griffith delve deeper into both their characters and the world they have created, making you care about the heroes and their motley crew of endearing secondary characters. The mystery this time around contains just as many threads but the web is a logical one. When Malcolm busts into a church and sees the aftermath of a ritual murder, he calls upon Simon and Kate to help him decipher the clues left at the scene. But every answer only leads to more questions. Soon our heroes are on a quest to uncover a necromancer who’s raising the dead, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Racing alongside Simon, Kate, and Malcolm as they try to solve the mystery and prevent more murders is what makes The Undying Legion so much fun, so I’ll avoid any more plot details for fear of spoiling it.
There’s a little bit of every kind of magic in The Undying Legion, but it all works together well. Malcolm, Kate, and Simon don’t just react to what’s going on around them, they become personally invested in it for a multitude of reasons, which gives the story depth. Though the characters still don’t truly fit their Victorian-era setting, it wasn’t too hard for me to suspend disbelief and simply enjoy. The action and character building was well balanced, and I loved learning more about each character. The ending of The Undying Legion left me eager to dive into the final Crown & Key story, The Conquering Dark. I can’t wait to see what happens to Kate, Simon, and Malcolm as they face their biggest challenge yet!
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.