I received this e-Arc from NetGalley and Random House Publishing – Del Rey in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 6/2/15
~ They’re the 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.
When I saw this offered on NetGalley with that gorgeous cover. I must confess I thought “MINE!”. So, did the story live up to the cover? For the most part, yes. I now have a new book crush in the form of Simon Archer. Despite his being a bit of a ladies man, he’s also a gentleman. Plus he’s covered in druidic tattoos from which he draws his magic from. And, well, just look at him! He’s gorgeous! He’s also willing to sacrifice himself for the people he cares about. Once he teams up with Kate to track down her missing sister, and to discover exactly what the werewolves are up to it’s immediately clear that they’re perfect for one another.
Kate is the perfect heroine. She’s a brilliant alchemist who has no patience for polite society, yet has little problem moving among them. She’s also extremely patient with her unappreciative younger sister Imogene. And finally, Kate’s is the cooler head that prevails when other team members are prone to act rashly.
I’ve been having issues with romances in the last few books I’ve read, but the one between Simon and Kate was simply perfect. It slowly evolved through the course of the story, and it will be fun to see how it develops further in the next two books.
The monsters are truly horrible, especially the ones created by the book’s resident mad scientist. At the same time, the way they are written, you can’t help feeling a certain amount of sympathy for some of them.
There were a few things that stopped this from being an absolutely perfect read for me. First there’s Simon’s mentor, Nick. I really didn’t like him. He has several different magical talents, but doesn’t tend to be inclined to use them to help others, unless he’s bullied into it. Instead he prefers to spend his time drinking and gambling. He does however care deeply about Simon, and manages to redeem himself somewhat near the end of the book.
I also found myself conflicted regarding Malcolm. He’s a courageous and valiant fighter, but tends to see everything in black and white. His hatred of “monsters” and werewolves in particular clouds his judgement. This is especially apparent when a little werewolf named Charlotte attempts to help them. Malcom just cannot seem to get over his abhorrence for her kind, and this ultimately causes trouble for the team.The second book features him, so I’m hoping we’ll learn more of his backstory, and why he’s like this. His love interest is another team member who I loved. Penny is a mechanical engineer with a fantastic personality who isn’t afraid to kick butt. I’m thinking she’s exactly what Malcolm needs.
And there’s the story itself. The worldbuilding is great and it’s filled with plenty of thrilling adventure. The only problem was that after the first few action scenes they seemed to me to be quite similar. That said, the fight scenes were so incredibly descriptive, I felt like I was there. I also appreciated that Kate and Penny more than held their own. There’s a mystery involving Kate’s deceased father which evidently has a direct correlation to the larger plot. Although there’s a couple of things that are unveiled, the larger picture is simply teased at, and I found this to be a tad frustrating.
Overall, The Shadow Revolution is a worthy addition for fans of Alternate History, Steampunk, and Urban Fantasy. Even better, the next two books are being released the end of June and July, so readers won’t have long to wait to see how this exciting adventure plays out.
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