Release Date: August 11, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Adult | Steampunk | Carniepunk
Cherry St. Croix returns to the fog-ridden streets of Victorian London, where the balance of power threatens all that she loves.
I will not wither without laudanum. Sober and determined, I have chosen another way—alchemy, and the pursuit of wellness it embodies. My name is Cherry St. Croix, and though freedom is finally at my fingertips, I return to the blackened streets intent on righting the wrongs I'd left behind.
All is not well in London low. Caught in a war between gangs, men are torn limb from limb, and I am called on to ascertain how. The immoral Karakash Veil is no doubt involved, and Micajah Hawke, a prisoner in his own Menagerie, cannot soften the danger this time.
Armed with the alchemical arts I have learned, my ever present guardian, and what few friends are left to me, I embark on a campaign to rescue the ringmaster I cannot abandon, save the Brick Street Bakers from annihilation, and finally face that which frightens me the most—my own heart.
Phase 1 of Cherry's comeback is done and it was explosive! The previous two books before ENGRAVED has been brutal for Cherry, her life has been turned upside down and thanks to Ashmore, Cherry's back on her feet with the sole purpose of rebuilding it with a solid foundation this time. No more opium-filled days and nights and she's coming for Micajah Hawke, the infamous Menagerie/Veil ringmaster/tiger, to free him from the Veil and claim him once an for all as hers.
I love the role reversal here with the damsel saving the knight from the dragons instead of the other way around, this switcheroo is a welcome change for me especially when said knight is proud and a force on his own. Micajah "Cage" Hawke made me blanch in Corroded as he played a crucial part in Cherry's downfall in that book, driving the final nail that pushed Cherry to the deep end. I hated Cage afterwards but I soon discovered that his part in that fateful night inside the Menagerie is more complicated. He sure paid for it ten-fold because something in him broke and only Cherry can put his pieces back together. But as Cage is a prideful man, he naturally made things very difficult for Cherry which is exasperating to say the least but the dialogue that ensued was tension filled and swoon worthy.
Love made fools and murderers of the greatest of men.
ENGRAVED is very romance driven in the sense that Cherry's motive here is love. Love for her friends and Cage, the consequences be damned! Cherry will see to it that the people she holds dear in her heart will be kept safe and away from the clutches of the Veil. I love this turn of events because Cherry is a very flawed heroine and to finally see her in this selfless place endeared her more to me. Of course I'm still unsatisfied because there's still the matter involving her evil mother-in-law but for now, Cherry and her crew are seared but alive and I can't wait to read the next chapter of Cherry's righteous vengeance.
Now I did say in Tempered that I want Cherry to go nuclear and that she did. Now that she's adept at alchemy and its powers, Cherry did go nuclear in ENGRAVED and I meant that in a literal way. I sure wouldn't want to be in Ikenna Osaba's place after Cherry blasted him with whatever that was, it sure sounded painful getting burned to a crisp by alchemical fire. And on that note, the fight scenes here are insane! Cherry's very ambitious in bringing down the Veil with the help of a handful of friends and sweets (aka prostitutes). They got the first round but the Veil isn't the Veil for nothing, I'm sure they're coming after Cherry and Hawke hard after this and that's one epic battle I wouldn't want to miss!