The Shadow Revolution by Clay and Susan Griffiths #Review

The Shadow Revolution by Clay and Susan Griffiths #ReviewThe Shadow Revolution by Clay Griffiths, Susan Griffiths

Series: #1 Crown and Key
Genres: Steampunk Romance
Published by Del Rey on June 2, 2015
Pages: 322
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-stars  

The cover caught my eye and then I read the blurb and then I grabbed this one up eagerly. Steampunk paranormal, historicals with paranormal elements, historical urban fantasies are where it’s at with me. This was the start of a new series by new to be authors so I eagerly dove into this dark, gritty tale that both sets up the trilogy and offers an intriguing story that in the end has a ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ vibe going on. It offers elements of Steampunk and Urban Fantasy with a hint of romance though the focus is on the group as a whole and their mission to stop a dangerous plot.

The story revolves around ‘rake about town’ and secret magic user, Simon Archer. Simon is going about, business as usual, when he encounters a woman from his past. She asks for his help, but then is killed by a werewolf before his very eyes. A werewolf hunter, Malcolm McFarlane, appearing at the right time is the only thing that kept him and his fellow magic user alive. This is a wake up call for Simon. He has gotten lazy in pursuing his magic education and in his purpose. He was already concentrating on hunting down the whispers about something powerful and dark stirring in the underbelly of London. Now he has something more immediate on his mind. Revenge.

Kate Anstruther, daughter of the famous world explorer and alchemist researcher, is at wit’s end when it comes to her sister and the cad trying to court her. Talking sense into her sister does nothing so therefore, she’ll have to get this shady Colonel out of their lives. At a society evening affair while in pursuit of her sister’s unwelcome admirer, she crosses paths with Simon Archer and discovers there is quite a bit to the world that she hadn’t know of up to this point when she helps slay a werewolf and sees Simon and his friend use magic to do it. She hopes to forget the whole thing and pretend it didn’t happen particularly with a man with a reputation involved, but soon after, her sister disappears to be with the Colonel and Kate’s only recourse is to get Simon’s help.

From there, they discover that her sister is part of a great plot and it takes, Kate, Simon, Malcolm, and a small band of others to fight against the danger and keep her sister safe. They are all more than they seem and it takes them working as a team to defeat a formidable opponent. And in the end one makes the ultimate sacrifice.

This story jumped in and paced forward fast and steady with exciting, breathtaking moments in between. This is very much an action-driven piece, but the characters are not neglected. Each has a backstory and a chance to grow. Simon and Kate are the main players, but others like Malcolm, Nick and the inventor gal (whom I can’t recall her name) have large secondary roles. The focus of the story is on Simon as he comes into his own as a magic wielder, a leader, and a man who can be respected. There is a whiff of romance, but just that as this story didn’t lean that way though I can see it developing especially after that big scene of sacrifice near the end. Things get brutal in parts and there is a total mad-scientist laboratory part that was horrific though thankfully it wasn’t so much gory description as my own imagination filling things in.

The mystery element was captivating. I enjoyed following along as they tried to track down who was behind things and why. There is foreshadowing to an even bigger intrigue building beyond their view. I love that feeling that there is more coming.

The steampunk is a noticeable element, but doesn’t hold a place in the forefront. There are gadgets and alchemy involved and it was fun that it was the ladies who were the scientists and inventors on team Simon. Okay, well, one of the villains, but he doesn’t count since he was team bad guy.

The more noticeable blended element was the paranormal. This is an interesting paranormal world and I get the distinct impression that there are more reveals to come on that score as things progress. At the moment, magic-wielders and werewolves are involved. Simon is known as a ‘Scribe’ and possibly the last of his kind of magic user. He powers his spells by writing runes on any surface and he has permanent rune spells tattooed into his skin that are like quick spells. I appreciated that magic has a cost and has to be treated with respect in this world. The users grow fatigued and some magic, like what Nick wields, can take something out of a person.

So, all in all, this was a great start to the trilogy and I look forward to more of this group particularly Simon. As to recommendations, Historical Paranormal Romance and Steampunk lovers might want to give this one a go.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Saw it on NetGalley and thought it was a good, reasonable idea not to request it *slaps her own head*

    • Net Galley is my downfall. There are so many books I want to read when I go there and I end up having to pick and choose. So hard!

  • Like the cover, its really cool! Like Iza, I saw it on NG but totally passed LOL. Boo on me. Great review, I love the sounds of this and the fact it sounds so detailed. Makes me wanna request it now. 🙂

    • It might still be up. The second and third books are up, too. I’m still waiting to get accepted on those.

      • I hope you get them:D

        • Me too. If I don’t, I’ll just wait for the release dates and buy them. I have to find out what’s next. 😉

  • It’s a really nice cover, I can see how that cover caught your eye. Sounds like a nice mix of genres with the action, romance and mystery and the seatmpunk vibe. I love magic system where magic has a cost as it seems much more realistic, even though ofcourse magic isn’t realistic, but I like the idea the idea of it having a price. The foreshadowing sounds done well, I like foreshadowing in books and it’s so much fun when you finally find out where all that foreshadowing leads to. Great review Sophia!

    • Thanks, Lola! They did a good job with the cover matching the descriptions of the hero in the book down to his tattoo runes and his mysterious key. The magic side will continue to prove interesting to this series, I think. Oh yes, I can’t wait to see where the foreshadowing for ‘the growing darkness’ leads.

  • Loved this one too! I wish the steampunk was more predominant but that’s just me.

    • I think it will be fun to see what weapons and gadgets the scientific gal invents to help their group. That motorcycle trip with her driving was a blast.

  • what a wonderful review!! You totally have me hooked on getting this book, just bought it at B&N. I like that there are many elements to the story that make it fabulous.

    • Cool! I look forward to seeing what you think, Renee.

  • Lindy Gomez

    The Shadow Revolution sounds very entertaining. I enjoy a good action-packed story with mystery, magic, and the paranormal. I haven’t read a lot of steampunk, but I like how the genre mixes the old with the new. The who gadgets and alchemy aspect has me very interested, and Simon sounds like such a great character! Wonderful Review 🙂

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

    • I love all that blending and mixing, too. I don’t read just straight Steampunk for the most part since I prefer the paranormal element blended in. Oh, Simon is an interesting guy. I think he would be a superhero the way he has two sides to him- urbane rake and then tough magic user.

  • Oh you guys are getting me excited with your reviews on this books…def might to try this one out. I love the whole magic/alchemy aspect…I’m such a nerd for that kinda stuff, lols.

    • Me too! I saw that blurb and just had to have it.

  • I’m just glimpsing a little 😀 We just picked this as one of our book club reads for a couple months from now. I’m kind of excited to try them out. They’re local authors to my state and I’ve just never managed to try them. Yay for it being a pretty good read!

    • LOL! I think you’ll have a good time with this one. And yay for supporting the locals.