Release Date: January 26, 2015
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
In this final installment of Cherry St. Croix's adventures, only one thing could compel the disgraced countess to return to Society—the threat of immortality.
All is not peaceful in the wake of the Midnight Menagerie's ruin. Although the Karakash Veil has been forced to flee its stronghold, the mysterious head of the criminal organization is not content to fade away.
Above the foggy drift, a priceless diamond vanishes. In the dangerous Underground, a murderous rampage demands retribution. The hunt for the mastermind behind these misdeeds sends me back to Society—and into the unforgiving embrace of the world I'd left behind.
Nothing is what it seems. Enemies, allies—and a man who struggles with a nature even devotion cannot tame. Torn between the scars of the past and fragile new beginnings, I must create balance in the world I have chosen—and with the people I have come to love. The game has changed; should the Veil achieve the immortality it craves, I will have nowhere left to run.
Braine (B): Hi Shelley! Bittersweet moment here, St. Croix Chronicles have come to an end. How do you feel about the whole series overall?
Shelley (S): I really liked the world that Karina created. It’s a fascinating idea to separate London into upper and lower communities, while exploring the world of a collector. I think 6 books was the perfect number of books for this series. Cooper had a chance to explore Cherry’s vulnerability, while allowing her to go full throttle in search of her future without being chased and hounded every 5 minutes.
B: I agree! It’s always a good thing ending a series on a high note than letting it drag and swirl down the drain. Also, I do love the carniepunk feel this series has too.
Let’s break this down for a minute. Cherry’s been through a lot and has come a long way. Part of me wishes she kept her spunk, but at the same time, I can also see how the things in her life has softened her a bit.
S: As for the main character, Cherry has been one of the more interesting characters that I’ve read about. She’s gone from being a cast-off whose own father was a mad man, to London’s only female collector, to marrying and losing a husband almost everything else in the process. She later came to terms with her addictions which she began while a child, and nearly got her killed. She’s found a real family in Ashmore, Mr & Mrs Booth, Fanny, while struggling with her affections for Micajah Hawke. She hasn’t backed down in facing trouble. She’s faced more challenges than you can shake a stick at, and in the end, things find a way of wrapping up in such a way that doesn’t leave room for complaints.
B: Micajah Hawke. I have no words. I don’t know if my memory’s shot or what, but I felt like he’s lost his edge since TEMPERED. I feel thrown off. Cherry and Hawke were hot and heavy in the beginning. I love the tension between them, especially when Cherry was married and widowed on the same night. But after that, things fizzled and Ashmore didn’t help matters either. Again, I don’t mind the absence of hot and heavy romance in my reads, but I do crave consistency.
S: You might be right. Their relationship was dark, sexy as hell, and dangerous. In the end, while Hawke is still dangerous, he’s a pussy cat when it comes to giving his heart to Cherry. I have to say that I was a bit on the hesitant side for awhile when Ashmore arrived, and they sort of caught fire. It was about the same time that I was having some unkind thoughts about Hawke and his actions. In the end, the choice was clearly evident.
B: Pussy! Bwahaha! Ashmore’s presence was a monkey wrench for me. For a while, I rooted for him but obviously the heart wants what the heart wants. I had hoped that after Cherry’s make out session with Ashmore, and realizing afterwards that it's Hawke she really wants, she’ll be hot and heavy with Cage but it never really went that way. Oh well...
I got to admit, I didn’t see that alchemical angle coming! I’m split about this, part of me liked it because I guess alchemy goes hand in hand with Steampunk somewhat while on the other, I did love Cherry being a collector and the simplicity of that gig. Like every book she could be after something without all the complications Ashmore and his science offered.
S: I personally would have loved to see more of the alchemical side of Cherry. Perhaps Ashmore could have arrived sooner, or not. I do like that that she has another side that she can fight against the villains with and save her friends and family. I do agree with you in that the Cherry being a collector storyline was key to me loving this series so much.
B: So what do you think of TRANSMUTED overall? Are you happy with this and how it ended the series?
S: Actually, I am. In the end, TRANSMUTED manages to wrap things up in such a way that left me comfortable and not uptight and out of sight. I enjoyed the banter between Ashmore, Hawke, and Cherry. I loved seeing Cherry show her skills and abilities while not being a weak character who needs to fall back on bad habits now eradicated. I agree with the final decision as to who has Cherry's heart, but also agree that the three are truly inseparable after everything they've experienced. I was saddened by a loss, but I don’t think Cooper could have walked away leaving everyone intact. I liked that she made some peace with her in-laws who have hated her since her husband was murdered. I do wish there had been a bit more emphasis on the missing diamond, but, like I said, I’m with the story overall.
B: I love the ending itself. I thought rebuilding a new life somewhere makes a lot of sense at this point. So many things have happened in London and it's quite impossible to truly recover from it all 100%. In terms of the series ending, I'm satisfied as well and sad to see it go but I'm happy KCooper ended St. Croix Chronicles on a high note.
Thanks for doing this with me, Shelley, we should definitely do more of this!
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