Release Date: January 7, 2014
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Samuel Hawkins, Sergeant in the King's Sentry, has been called in to investigate a murder case. As he awaits the Archivists to arrive—the team who will use a special device to extract the memories of the dead man to help find clues to his murder—he never expects to come face to face with the woman he'd left behind when he'd fled the Archives five years earlier.
Piper Smith has grown from the girl Samuel remembered into a strong woman and full-fledged archivist. Shadowed by her mentor, Master Ryerson, Piper will be performing her first extraction. When she sees Samuel, she must push aside her childhood crush, else risk her standing within the Guild.
As the two begin working together to find the killer, Samuel and Piper explore their intense attraction to each other. But "Jack the Ripper" proves to be harder to catch than the two originally thought. What's worse, they discover he may very well work for the Archives. Now, Samuel and Piper must battle internal and external threats as they try to foil a plot against the Crown and stop Jack the Ripper from taking his next victim.
I didn't really have any idea what GILDED HEARTS by Christine d'Abo was really like or what to expect when I started reading it. I do remember reading a review a long time ago saying that the heat level was high so that was a plus, then I saw Jack the Ripper in the blurb and thought this should be an exciting novel a la Bec MacMaster. As you can see I'm very satisfied with my latest Steampunk adventure and I'm most definitely adding this series to my Sunday roster.
GILDED HEARTS has a very unique world building and what I liked most about it is d'Abo didn't spend too much time setting her version of Victorian London, she instead built it within the conversation and events so it didn't drag and made the story heavy. However it wasn't simple either, I love the idea behind the Archivists, a dumbed down description would be they're these creepy group of people who grabs the memories of the departed like victims of crimes, process it, takes their soul, and puts it in little containers. Afterwards their memories gets scrubbed and if it's done often and long enough, they turn zombie-like. A fate that awaits our heroine, Piper Smith but not if Sam can help it.
Pip and Sam are, as I predicted, very much like the characters from London Steampunk, in that they complement each other, likable, independent, engaging, and sexy. They have a long history together and as characters they have complexities that are surely fascinating. While Pip is a devoted Archivist and able soldier for its cause, Sam's more than a "copper" or lawman. He was supposed to be an Archivist but then he left the guild for some reason (a very rare occurrence and the source of his falling out with Pip) and there's something about him in particular that ties him in personally to the plot and conflict.
These two have been in love with each other for a long time but their chosen professions and various assumptions didn't really allow for their romance to develop. Until now. I love how d'Abo played their relationship, weaving in flashbacks for us to get a better grip of how it's been like for these two, built up the tension, set off smexy fireworks, threw in emotional conflicts and rude awakenings, which eventually led to their HEA. In short, their love story was great and I loved it!
What caught me off guard was the whole Jack the Ripper business. I was expecting a simple good v. evil story and instead I got this messy situation that left me clutching my heart and had me almost in tears!! I never get this emotional with Steampunk, certainly haven't come across a story that almost had me weeping! Oh Ms. d'Abo, you owe me one for this! Anyway, good lord, Jack the Ripper is one of the BEST twists that I've read in a long, long time! I mean he's frickin' Jack the Ripper, a serial killer, heartless, no moral compass at all. And yet my heart went out to him, at one point I was even rooting for him. Then it ended the way it's supposed to, leaving me a little sad and broken hearted because it's the only way for him to go.
Obviously I can't divulge much because I don't want to be a spoilsport and trust me you don't want to know this way anyway plus I want y'all to read GILDED HEARTS if only to discover first hand d'Abo's Jack the Ripper. So if you're a Steampunk reader and fan, I hope you give The Shadow Guild a try, she's offering something unique plus it's super sexy so I hope that's another alluring incentive for you to read.
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