Other reviewers have compared The Shadow Revolution to a summer blockbuster movie, which is an apt description. However, I personally like to think of it as a Victorian Era roller coaster; it bursts from the pages going full speed, slows down long enough for you to catch your breath before plunging you down into the next pulse-pounding adventure. Werewolves, magic, mad science and alchemy zip by in a whirlwind, as our cast of colorful characters speed from the beginning to the end of this first installment of Crown & Key with nary a stop along the way.
Sound like exactly what you have been waiting for? Well, keep reading then.
The hero here is spell-casting scribe Simon Archer and his sidekick . . .I mean, mentor, Nick Barker. Simon is that handsome rogue with the impeccable manners of a gentleman; you know, the one who is always turning the ladies eyes, even as he thumbs his nose at conventions. His sidekick . . . (God, I did it again!)mentor Nick is as unprofessional as Simon is impeccable, as negative as Simon is positive. And lastly, there is Kate Anstruther; this independent, Victorian lady is as beautiful as she is intelligent and naturally catches Simon’s eye very quickly.
In chapter one, this ride creaks off from the start with Simon and Nick encountering a werewolf, who kills an old friend of Simon. This act triggers our gentleman rogue to begin a search not only for who was behind this vicious supernatural murder, but also what is causing evil things to stir in the city.
Meanwhile, while fending off unwanted male suitors at an elegant ball, Kate Anstruther finds herself embroiled in an ugly squabble with her younger sister Imogen, who has become involved with an unseemly ex-soldier and who refuses to act appropriately for a girl her age. Something that Kate feels the need to put to a halt, especially since she finds her sister’s suitor not only troublesome but -- suspicious. And did I mention, Kate is one hell of an alchemist, who uses her own concoctions to drive away those aforementioned unwanted male advances upon her person? I didn’t. Well, I just did.
From this beginning, the authors bring the three companions together under intriguing circumstances, setting the story into full motion. One act of daring-do leads to another and then another until eventually the story is at an end. Or rather, I should say this part of the tale is at an end and the next two are soon forthcoming, since books two and three will be released within the coming months!
Of course, all this non-stop action does force the authors to skimp on some story elements. With so many pages dedicated to thrilling urban fantasy adventure, the character development and world building are not as robust as in many stories. Oh, there are still mentions of Simon’s inner turmoil or explanations about where this cities magical arts arose, but they are few and far between, serving as bookmarks between the action sequences.
All in all, though, The Shadow Revolution was an entertaining novel; it definitely grabbed my attention and held it, packing as much excitement as it could into its relatively short three hundred pages. However, it was a little too action oriented for my current tastes. I’ve been drawn to more character driven stories lately, and while Simon and Katherine hold lots of potential for growth in their individual persons and their relationship, I just can’t envision the next two books pulling back on the brakes and slowing this urban fantasy coaster down long enough to delve into those things. Nope, for good or bad, this feisty story is a non-stop action tour de force. So if you’re dying for some roller coast thrills, pick this one up, strap yourself in, and hold on, because this book is going take you on a bumpy ride through urban fantasy-land.
I received this book from Del Rey and Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I'd like to inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.