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The Brimstone Key: Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles, Book 1

Review

The Brimstone Key: Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles, Book 1

Much has happened since we first met Max, Natalia, Harley and Ernie, who call themselves the Grey Griffins. Max has become the guardian of the Codex Spiritus, which gives him immeasurable power over many things supernatural. Natalia is still considered the “brains” of the Grey Griffins and devotes her time to reading and learning. Harley continues to tinker around with machines and has a knack for mechanics. Ernie is now referred to as a changeling after being infused with faerie blood and has super speed. Max’s father is still at large and considered a threat by the legendary Templar Knights. Now, though, the Grey Griffins have a new focus: Iron Bridge Academy.

Iron Bridge Academy has been reopened in Avalon, Minnesota, by the Templar Knights to train and educate young recruits against the forces of evil. The Grey Griffins begin their training in haste after discovering new Round Table cards depicting the Clockwork King. The Clockwork King is a Templar foe from days of old who brought his machines to life using unconventional methods --- he used the souls of changelings. While there is no evidence that the Clockwork King has returned, Max, Natalia, Harley and Ernie are on the lookout for anything suspicious.

Although the classes and teachers may be different, Iron Bridge Academy is just like any other school. For the first time in their lives, the Grey Griffins are surrounded by other students who share similar interests. They must navigate the muddy waters of middle school and fit in with kids who have been training their whole lives. Ernie quickly finds refuge in the other changelings, while Natalia begins to make friends with other girls. Harley is too focused on his machines to really care, and Max finally finds out what it’s like not to be the most popular kid on campus. Just when the Grey Griffins find their bearings, the Clockwork King strikes!

Changelings start disappearing from Iron Bridge, and the Grey Griffins set out to find where they are being held before it’s too late. They must call upon the Templar Knights, including Max’s bodyguard, Logan, to stop the Clockwork King before he retrieves the Brimstone Key and resumes his gruesome experiments to power his clockwork war machines. Each of the Grey Griffins will be challenged in different ways, but will their previous experience be enough to battle against the Clockwork King?

If you’ve never heard of the Grey Griffins, start with THE REVENGE OF THE SHADOW KING. There you’ll learn of the origins of the Templar Knights and how Max and his friends became entangled in the whole affair. Don’t worry, though, if you haven’t read any of the earlier books. THE BRIMSTONE KEY is easy enough to understand without all of the backstory. Although it seems like Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis tend to jump around a lot in their storytelling, much of their focus is on action, which makes for a fast and fun read. They also effectively integrate numerous fantasy elements without completely bogging down the plot. If you’re already a fan of the Grey Griffins, you’re going to love this new series.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on April 12, 2011

The Brimstone Key: Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles, Book 1
by Derek Benz and J. S. Lewis

  • Publication Date: April 12, 2011
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0316045217
  • ISBN-13: 9780316045216