The Shadow Revolution by Clay & Susan Griffith
Publisher’s Description: They are the realm’s last, best defense against supernatural evil. But they’re going to need a lot more silver.
As fog descends, obscuring the gas lamps of Victorian London, werewolves prowl the shadows of back alleys. But they have infiltrated the inner circles of upper-crust society as well. Only a handful of specially gifted practitioners are equipped to battle the beasts. Among them are the roguish Simon Archer, who conceals his powers as a spell-casting scribe behind the smooth veneer of a dashing playboy; his layabout mentor, Nick Barker, who prefers a good pub to thrilling heroics; and the self-possessed alchemist Kate Anstruther, who is equally at home in a ballroom as she is on a battlefield.
After a lycanthrope targets Kate’s vulnerable younger sister, the three join forces with fierce Scottish monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane—but quickly discover they’re dealing with a threat far greater than anything they ever imagined.
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)
Nervous Nellie says…
Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Simon Archer is the hero of this story. He is the bastard son of a great scribe that belonged to the Order of the Oak. Kate Anstruther, daughter of a powerful and knowledgeable alchemist is the heroine. She is tough, knowledgeable and still soft-hearted. Nick Barker is Simon’s mentor, a powerful magician who hesitates to call himself a scribe or mage. Nick claims to only be a dabbler, but as the story unfolds he is nothing if not very powerful. Nick found Simon and could see he was meant for greater things so be began teaching him as much as he could.
Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ Imogen Anstruther, sister to Kate, is a foolish little twit. She’s a selfish young woman who wants excitement. Hogarth, the ever present protector for the Anstruther sisters. Charolotte, a freshly turned werewolf child. Penny Carter an ordinance designer as well as all makes and models of weapons. Malcolm McFarlane, a werewolf hunter. Arch Villain Dr. William White and Great Werewolf Leader Gretta Aldfather are the bad guys trying to further their agendas — White to transform humans into monsters and Adlfather to take revenge on the Anstruther sisters.
World: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ This world was extraordinary. It is full of magic and mechanics. Potent aether keeps the the last scribe fighting the good fight and Alchemists that can create potions that increase vitality. There are designs to light the simplest gas lamp to a translocation device. There are werewolves and vampires for sure, but we meet things called homunculi.
Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Darkness is slowly encompassing London. Some sort of darkness that is not really ever explained, but Nick is very afraid and willing to do almost anything to keep in the shadows and away from anything that would draw attention to him and Simon. The majority of the fight scenes occur in Bedlam. A maniacal villain running experiments on patients and criminals. It all hinged on a key that supposedly opened a device for instantaneous translocation. I enjoyed the heroine in this story. She was tough and only wanted to save her sister. The hero is unsatisfied with his life and finds purpose when he and the heroine are thrown together to save her sister and unravel a mystery their fathers worked to design. The world is set in a steampunk London. Alchemists and Scribes are what keeps this story moving along. Magic and potions are the lifesavers to the band of mismatched associates.
Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ The story is interesting. There are some pretty horrific fight scenes and a sacrifice or two from the characters. I will not categorize it as fluffy. It’s not as dark as it could have been, though the werewolves are not nice guys and there is no lovin’ going on. It was more mystery/thriller with magic and creatures thrown in. It’s going to be a great series, I think. The first book is always about setting the tone, the world and the characters. From what I read, I like the characters and the world. I will pick up the second book because I want to know what the secret of the key might be.
Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ I really like Simon and Kate. They seem to work well together and respect each other’s skills. It’s refreshing to see a male character in an Urban Fantasy setting who doesn’t first try to be overprotective with a female. But right from the beginning Simon is fascinated with Kate’s abilities, especially her physical prowess. After this first book, I don’t feel as if I know Malcolm or Penny well enough to comment on them as main characters, but I’m looking forward to getting to know them better in the upcoming books.
Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ Dr. White is your standard megalomaniac mad scientist, and there’s not much more depth to him. But he serves his purpose. I would’ve liked to known more about Gretta and the werewolves. I’m very glad, though, that Charlotte has joined the group. Perhaps we’ll learn more about the wolves through her. Hogarth has to have an interesting back story; I hope we learned this in subsequent books, too. Nick is an interesting character who sometimes plays the coward and sometimes plays the warrior. I’d be curious to learn more about him as a young man. Though they technically aren’t characters in the book, I would really like to learn more about Kate’s and Simon’s parents. It sounds like there could be many interesting stories with them.
World: ♥ ♥ ♥ Knowing this is the first of three books published within a short time frame, I can be at patient; but, if this were a standalone book, I would be more frustrated with the world building. There is so much that we didn’t learn – about the Order of the Oak, about the time of Simon’s parents, about scribes and magic in general, or about the culture of the werewolves. We also didn’t find out what Simon’s key is for or how his mother came to possess one of Kate’s father’s artifacts. However, we did learn that magic exists, that werewolves exist, that mad scientists exist, and that the world is very dangerous.
Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ In an attempt to establish his own self-worth, Simon Archer assists a virtual stranger, Kate Anstruther, in retrieving her sister from the clutches of a madman. The madman has ties to a werewolf and a crazy doctor who in turn have ties back to Simon’s and Kate’s parents. A werewolf hunter, a weapons inventor, a reluctant magician, and a werewolf child also join the party. Steampunk shenanigans ensue.
Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ While I can’t claim this is a particularly original story, I will say that I enjoyed it. I think there is a lot of information left out about the world itself and the system of magic that I hope we learn in the next books. I enjoyed the characters very much and the relationships being built among them. I would certainly suggest this book for any fan of steampunk fantasy.
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Review copies of this book were provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.