Book Review – Shield and Crocus by Michael R. Underwood

Michael R. Underwood

Reviewed by:
On 2014-08-18
Last modified:2014-08-18


Unfortunately the reality of the book doesn't live up to its promise.

Shield and Crocus by Michael R. Underwood

Shield and Crocus by Michael R. Underwood

The blurb hypes:

In a city built among the bones of a fallen giant, a small group of heroes looks to reclaim their home from the five criminal tyrants who control it.

The city of Audec-Hal sits among the bones of a Titan. For decades it has suffered under the dominance of five tyrants, all with their own agendas. Their infighting is nothing, though, compared to the mysterious “Spark-storms” that alternate between razing the land and bestowing the citizens with wild, unpredictable abilities. It was one of these storms that gave First Sentinel, leader of the revolutionaries known as the Shields of Audec-Hal, power to control the emotional connections between people—a power that cost him the love of his life.

Now, with nothing left to lose, First Sentinel and the Shields are the only resistance against the city’s overlords as they strive to free themselves from the clutches of evil. The only thing they have going for them is that the crime lords are fighting each other as well—that is, until the tyrants agree to a summit that will permanently divide the city and cement their rule of Audec-Hal.

It’s one thing to take a stand against oppression, but with the odds stacked against the Shields, it’s another thing to actually triumph.

The blurb and the cover do a good job of selling the book.  I expected it to be a bit post-deity like Three Parts Dead, and the city in the bones of a titan reminded me of Dresden Codak.

Unfortunately the reality of the book doesn’t live up to its promise.  I guess I should have taken the fact that it went on sale as soon as it was released as a warning sign.

The book is basically fantasy superhero insurgents.  Now I admit, that still sounds cool – I don’t think I’ve ever heard of someone doing superheros in a fantasy world before, so it makes me think that the book should get an automatic pass on the concept alone.  But what you don’t understand is, that’s it.  There’s nothing else to it – there’s no twist, no surprise, just the characters doing their superhero insurgent thing.  They have some setbacks, they make some progress, and the book ends.

The book starts off with a pretty big infodump, and the reading experience never really settles down – you never feel like you’re present.  I think that might be because all of the characters are “super,” so you never really feel what its like for all the normal people to live in the world.

Also the main character is a 70 year old superhero, which just seems ludicrous.