The Shadow Revolution by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith. ★★
The Shadow Revolution just doesn’t work for me, not even as mindless fluff.
The Shadow Revolution is one of those vaguely steampunk Victoriana sort of books. It’s the Victorian era and there’s werewolves plus some magic. That about sums up the world building. More specifically, the uber handsome playboy and mage Simon Archer teams up with Kate Anstruther, a gorgeous alchemist who of course thinks she’s ugly, the rugged Scottish werewolf hunter Malcolm MacFarlane, and the completely forgettable Nick Barker. Together they fight werewolves who for some reason have decided to take over London. The book’s basically action scenes strung together, and it’s remarkable how little I cared about any of them.
This might be a minor thing, but I found it very annoying how The Shadow Revolution spent an inordinate amount of time describing how immensely attractive all its protagonists are. Seriously, I get it. These people are hot. Let’s move on.
The best single idea in the entire book is that the Bastille was a prison for supernatural criminals who were let loose during the French Revolution. That was the high point. Other positives are that it used magic in addition to werewolves, which you don’t always see. There was also more than one female character involved in the plot, although I don’t think female characters were treated very well overall.
Let me elaborate. In the first chapter, Simon’s ex-girlfriend is tragically killed by a werewolf and dies in Simon’s arms, thus inciting the events of the book. Not only is she fridged, this woman apparently had nothing better to do with her life than follow Simon from afar because he’s just that awesome. Seriously, he finds the walls of her bedroom covered in newspaper clippings about himself, which is used a reason to fuel his guilt about her death. I think it’s actually pretty creepy.
Despite the bad start, The Shadow Revolution seemed like it’d do okay with it’s female characters. While Kate was as well rounded as cardboard (like all the other characters) she was allowed to do things and be generally intelligent. One other character, an engineer named Penny, was also allowed to be a badass. Heck, there’s even a female villain, although I’m not sure what to make about the constant comments on how manly she was. Something felt off there. Anyway, the biggest problem is with Kate, the female lead. Skip the rest of this paragraph if you don’t like spoilers. Ready for it? She’s kidnapped and the climax is the other characters having to go rescue her. Wow, way to go the damsel in distress route.
I finished this book on the plane and left it there, in the back pocket of the seat in front of me. I have absolutely no desire to read this again, and its not even worth it to cart it back home to resell or donate.
Basically, this isn’t a book that I’d recommend to anyone.