Archibald Lox and the Forgotten Crypt by Darren Shan

I devoured this book in a day and can’t wait to see what happens in this next set of books. We join Archie one year after returning to the Born (London) after helping Inez get Princess Ghita to the vote of alignment on time. He’s struggling emotionally, constantly torn between wanting to return to the Merge and staying in the Born. He’s visited Winston a few times but keeps forcing himself to stay in his “real life.”

Poor kid.

While wandering London one day, he pauses at the Seven Dials and notices something different about one of the faces—it’s a lock. A broken lock, at that.

Woohoo! A mystery to solve and a chance to make himself whole again. A locksmith must have a lock to work on.

After getting some help from Winston, that wily old man who guides without guiding and steers without directing, Archie loses himself within the tumblers, pins, and gears of the lock, only to be interrupted by our two favorite assassins—Orlan Stiletto and Argate Axe.

Run, Archie! Run!

Archie ran all the way (with a bit of help from a mysterious voice and boreholes he’d found in the Born over the last year) to Moscow, where who else should save him? King Hugo!

Once reunited with Cal, Ghita, Inez, and Hugo, Archie finds himself wrapped into a new plot and being whisked off to Cornan once again.

In this book, Shan propels the reader into a new layer of the Merge, its history, and the strained relationship between the Merged and Submerged. He also introduces a neutral character that will rip your heart out and make you want to sit in a dark room for thousands of years. All I can hope is that Hugo lives up to his promise.

Building off what we learned in Volume 1, Shan takes readers on a new, personal tour of Cornan, the river of blood, and the icy world of the Topaz, where we say goodbye to old friends (though I hope not for long) and hello to new ones.

There are so many questions swirling in my head after reading this installment that I can’t wait to read the next books to see if they get answered. Things happen in this book that only Family can do, yet Archie is not Family. An apprentice locksmith, once again, outpicks the greatest lox in Sapphire. Oh, so many questions swirling, and all I can say without giving anything away is to ask if Archibald is really who he thinks he is?

While Shan hit so many great notes with this installment, I could have done without the constant refresher of people and events from Volume 1. I understand why it’s there, but I kept saying, “I know this.” However, if anyone has not read Volume 1, you can definitely pick up with this one and still love the story.

Two days after reading this installment, I am still smiling and eager for more. So, I will finish this review in the best way I can…


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