June 21, 2012

Early Review: Tarnished by Karina Cooper

Series: St. Croix Chronicles 1
Format: ARC (Edelweiss)
Excerpt here
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

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.
TARNISHED is the first book of Karina Cooper's new series and it's far from a slow start. Unlike first books in new series that gets caught up in character introductions and world building, TARNISHED was succinct and KCooper will keep you in excited anticipation for the next one.
One of the unfortunate circumstances of my existence is that although I am considred a wealthy heiress, I am wholly dependent upon a stipend allotted by my guardian every month. Unfortunately, I am a creature of expensive habits and necessity.
If you are into flawed heroines then I guarantee you'll fall in love with Cherry St. Croix, she's a thief, dependent on opium to keep nightmares at bay and though she's an heiress this doesn't immune her from being shunned by her peers due to her parentage. At night she plays Collector or a Bounty Hunter for the Karakash Veil, a Chinese crime syndicate who is the most powerful group in the London underbelly. This is to supplement her expensive taste in gadgets in between her monthly stipend. Personally I think Cherry does it for the fun of it!

There isn't much of a romance development on this but KCooper is hinting of future complications in the succeeding books. There's Teddy, her bestfriend and a viscount's son; Earl Cornelius Kerrigan Compton, a handsome bloke who is the son of Cherry's greatest tormentor; and my favorite Micajah "Cage" Hawke, tall, dark, handsome and dangerous who is the ringmaster of Midnight Menagerie Circus and also one of the Veil's trusted servant. Cage is your raw, brute but very handsome bad boy and I'm sure he'll charm his way to your heart by story's end. That part with Cherry in his quarters... let's just say he'll keep you both sated and craving for more.

The murder mystery will keep you guessing and the big reveal will blow you away, if your heart doesn't go out to Cherry then you, my friend, are made of stone. The world building is amazing as well, London is a dump ridden with thieves and criminals with people wearing goggles similar to gas masks to protect them from the noxious fumes. I personally would like to visit Midnight Menagerie not only to see their exotic program but to catch a glimpse of their other services. Also a quick glance at Cage wouldn't hurt either.

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