Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: Tarnished by Karina Cooper


A choking fog blankets Victorian London—and in a stroke of discriminatory genius, Society has raised London to the sky.

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.


Allez, hop! Tarnished is everything you want in a Steampunk novel, from the gloriously described setting of a two story Victorian London, to the brilliantly devised (twisting) plot line that combines mystery, suspense, and romance, to the exceptional characters that standout on each and every page... I loved it all!

Cherry St. Croix is intelligent, outspoken, adventurous, stubborn, and very, very flawed. Her addiction to opium was a character trait that I didn't expect, but one that made her circumstances and choices more enhanced the story instead of detracting. I also appreciated that her reliance on opium was consistent throughout the sorry, instead of mentioned and tossed aside. Her attitude reminded me a bit of the protagonist Francesca Cahill from the Brenda Joyce series, a series that I love to pieces.

By day, Cherry is part of London society, albeit she is often snubbed because of her family background, but she embraces her role and does what she must, not because she wants to but because others are depending on her. London isn't an easy place to live and she doesn't want those in her employ to be sent below, where living is next to impossible. By night, Cherry is a collector. She dresses in disguise so that her identity remains secret, hunting down the bad guys for coin, using her gains to buy more opium, so that even her addiction remains hidden from those closest to her. Her evening activities take her into some very dangerous situations, which I won't spoil, ultimately answering many questions from her past and creating new ones for her to solve. As if solving a murder (just one of her many bold endeavours) isn't enough Cherry is also involved with two very handsome and mysterious men, one from her daytime life and one from her evening persona.

I'm looking forward to Cherry's next fast paced adventure, and I'm crossing my fingers that we will also be treated to more from Hawke, the mysterious, sexy leader of the Menagerie. I've added Tarnished to my favorites list and my calendar is marked for the release of Gilded. Merry Christmas to me:) You won't want to miss this new series!

Next in the series is Gilded (December 2012):

In the gleaming heights of Victorian London, a world of deception awaits an unconventional Society lady whose taste for adventure makes her a most formidable adversary…

Though Society demands that I make a good marriage, I, Cherry St. Croix, have neither the time nor the interest. I am on the trail of a murder with no victim, a mystery with no motive, and the key to an alchemical formula that could be my family’s legacy.

Yet the world is not so kind as to let me pursue simple murder and uncomplicated bounties. Above the foggy drift, an earl insists on my attention, while my friends watch my increasingly desperate attempts to remain my own woman. From the silken demands of the Midnight Menagerie—to whose dangerously seductive ringmaster I owe a debt—to the rigorous pressures of the peerage, all are conspiring to place before me a choice that will forever change my life.

Author website:

*Reviewed by Anna Dougherty
*Book was sent for review by the publisher


DarkEva said...

Great review! I was definitely drawn to this book when I first heard about it, and I'm glad to hear it measures up to the hype :-)


Mina Lobo said...

Thanks for this - I didn't know about it and your review has really captured my imagination!
Some Dark Romantic