Title: The Undying Legion (Crown & Key #2)
Author: Clay & Susan Griffith
Genre: Fiction; Urban Fantasy; Steampunk
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: June 30, 2015 (Estimated)
Acquired: Netgalley ARC
Date Finished: April 30, 2015
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 monstrous 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 an impressive follow-up in the Crown & Key trilogy. The cursed middle book is often a space filler and a let down, but this one did not disappoint! Book 2 continued with just the right amount of magic and steampunk elements without being overdone. The characters kept deepening at just the right speed, a steady progression that kept me hooked.
I will admit the synopsis had me worried. I was concerned the Griffiths were overreaching with necromancers, Egyptian mummies, undead armies and the like, but, somehow, they tied it all together without creating an indecipherable mess. The plot stayed on point and furthered the overall trilogy nicely. I am also happy to report the undead were not your typical crazed, brain-eating zombies. I felt they were handled very tactfully.
Again, I really enjoyed the characters. This book finds the individual characters beginning to recognize they are becoming a cohesive entity. They are finding their places within the group and beginning to work together as a team. Their interactions with each other are touching at times and then abruptly turn into a hilarious round of witty banter. My favorite character is still Malcolm MacFarlane. I did get a little more info about his appearance in this book, and although he is a brunette instead of a ginger and no kilts were mentioned, I still love him. His snarkiness is near and dear to my heart. Simon and Kate continued to skirt the edges of a real relationship. Charlotte, the werewolf girl/pup, and Imogene, Kate’s mutant sister, forge the beginning of a deep friendship. And, thrown into the mix is Penny, inventor extraordinaire. If you are a character-driven reader, you will love these folks.
Book 2 did not disappoint, and I’m ready for book 3! Thank goodness they are releasing the books in this series fairly close together, so I don’t have year-long waits in between!! I hope you will give the series and try. It is exceptional!
I’d like to give a shout out to Netgalley, Del Rey, and Clay and Susan Griffith for giving me the opportunity to read and review this ARC.