Friday, June 8, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of TARNISHED by Karina Cooper

Being a huge fan of Karina Cooper's Witches, I was very excited when Avon Romance asked me to read and review an ARC of TARNISHED by Karina Cooper, the first book in the St. Croix Chronicles.  I was happy to oblige.

Blurb for TARNISHED:

My name is Cherry St. Croix. Society would claim that I am a well-heeled miss with an unfortunate familial reputation. They've no idea of the truth of it. In my secret world, I hunt down vagrants, thieves . . . and now, a murderer. For a monster stalks London's streets, leaving a trail of mystery and murder below the fog.

Eager for coin to fuel my infatuations, I must decide where my attentions will turn: to my daylight world, where my scientific mind sets me apart from respectable Society, or to the compelling domain of London below. Each has a man who has claimed my time as his—for good or for ill. Though as the corpses pile, and the treacherous waters of Society gossip churn, I am learning that each also has its dangers. One choice will see me cast from polite company . . . the other might just see me dead.

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London, 1888 - only this isn't the London, England we know, it's an alternative reality with an upper world and lower world. Of course, those with means live above the fog and gloom and those without live below where it's difficult to breath. Cherry St. Croix lives in both worlds. By day, she does her best to tolerate the society she's forced to be part of and by night, she's a collector. She hunts down criminals for meager coin so that she might keep her laudanum addiction fueled. Things may change when she finds herself hunting down a murderer who tries to turn the tables on her.

If you’ve become as fascinated with steampunk romance as I have lately, then TARNISHED by Karina Cooper is a novel you MUST read. It’s dark, gritty, and action-packed as well as imaginative and well-researched. Karina pulls the reader into an alternate Victorian London timeline that feels so real that you can nearly feel the heaviness of the air, the thickness of the fog and the elegance of being on top. Cherry St. Croix is a complex character believably living two lives, attracted to two men, and balancing herself precariously as she deals with a dangerous occupation, addiction, and keeping up appearances in the world of society.

As a fan of Karina Cooper’s apocalyptic witch series, I was sincerely looking forward to this steampunk romance introducing a new steampunk series. As much as I enjoyed this book, which I will admit took me longer to read than I expected because I kept setting it aside to read others, I did have one problem with it. I was disappointed that it was written in first-person rather than third because I’d truly like to know what’s going on in Compton’s mind BUT I suppose with two men vying for Cherry’s romantic HEA, writing from the point of view of three people would certainly over-complicate the story. As has become rather common with the first in a romance consecutive series, there is no HEA at the end of this story but I suspect that as we travel through this imaginative London, we will see even more steaminess as Cherry discovers to whom her heart truly belongs. I have my druthers and I hope Karina goes that way.
TARNISHED by Karina Cooper is a new, exciting, creative, and imaginative start to the steampunk romance series that is The St. Croix Chronicles. I am very much looking forward to reading the next one. I recommend to everyone looking for something unique and adventurous, read TARNISHED by Karina Cooper, you'll end up as hooked as poor Cherry is to her laudanum.
Happy Reading Everyone!
TARNISHED: The St. Croix Chronicles by Karina Cooper, Avon Romance, Release Date June 26, 2012, and will be available in print and ebook format.


Dalila G. said...

I haven't really looked into Steampunk before, but I plan on it.
I've heard good things about some of the stories.
I will be adding Karina to my list.
I have Jillian Stone on my list with the book AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY,just haven't gotten to it yet.
Thanks for your review!

Have a great Friday!

Amy Valentini said...

Hi Dalila,
If you like a little sci-fi with your romance but not into different worlds per se then steampunk is the way to go. It's mostly about alternate timelines, which is pretty cool. Hope you get hooked like me, I think we are going to be seeing a lot more come our way. Have a good weekend! : )