Review: The Undying Legion: Crown and Key Book 2 by Griffiths

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Publisher: Random House

Publishing Date: June 2015

ISBN: 9780345540485 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.4/5

Publisher Description: 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.

Review: This follows quickly in the foot prints of “The Shadow Revolution” with the same cast of main characters. Kate is an even more insufferable character what with her prudish and headstrong demeanor coupled to a sandpaper like personality. Simon is his usual unflappable self, courting a dismal skirt when he could have anyone. Malcolm is back with his scathing attitude, yet you can’t blame him for not liking Simon and Kate as they both have big sticks up their arses. 

This installment heads down the macabre road of graphic skinning rituals and blood soaked altars. A direct departure from the created Homunculus’ and Werewolves that terrorized kittens in the first novel.

The fight scenes are once again, unbelievable. As the first scene unfolds Super-Kate and Penny Dreadful take out 8 Werewolves in a dark cemetery with nothing but a gun, some alchemical vials and their witty charm. Yawn. The fight scenes do not play out in cogent fashion as to be taken with any seriousness. The timing and positions of the players just doesn’t make any sense as to the scripted outcome(s). 

Penny is a great addition to the team as she not only provides relief from the relentlessly frenetic mind of Kate-doody but claims an important role in the supply of interesting mechanics. More of the steampunk side of this fantasy relic. I still found myself reading this all the way through without skipping pages which says something good about the technical side of the writing. Additionally the fight scenes packed a little more punch than in the first novel with a compacted design.

So why a lower score than in the first novel? I just got tired of the same old high brow buffoonery exhibited between Kate and Simon. They never change. Gold sovereigns, tapping canes, wild auburn hair, clenched teeth, The “Anstruther Family” (dun, dun, dun) and Kate’s constantly churning stomach over Imogen really wore thin. The slow budding love affair between these two asshats will waste your reading time as well.

A good read with practiced ambivalence. 

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