Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Gilded by Karina Cooper

(The St. Croix Chronicles #2)
Karina Cooper
Release: December 26, 2012
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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.


Gilded is the second in Karina Cooper's St. Croix Chronicles, which follows a feisty and intelligent heroine through an alternate Victorian London. Cherry's life should be simple - attend fancy soirees, collect her inheritance when she turns twenty-one in less than a year, and marry a rich and handsome man that will take care of her. But instead Cherry lives a double life as a collector, battles an opium addiction, and can't stay away from hunting murderers.

All of my issues with the first book in this series are resolved in this sequel. The plot is faster paced and more exciting, as it focuses heavily on Cherry chasing down a murderer who is killing off professors. This plot line tied in nicely with the story line involving Cherry's father and alchemy from the first book. We get not only the mystery of who the killer is, but also a fun second mystery as to how the killer is doing it.

The plots involving Jack the Ripper and the sweet tooth killer are both in this book as well, but they don't play as much of a role for most of the book. It seems like Cherry might be pursuing these two throughout the whole of the series.

In Tarnished we were introduced to two would-be love interests for Cherry, both with their advantages and disadvantages. In Gilded we get to know one of those men a little better. Lord Compton's determination to make Cherry his wife is sweet and I found him very likable in this book. Even though I still don't think he is the right match for her, I warmed up to him in this one. His mother and all of her society friends are even crueler to Cherry in this book than the last, which I didn't think was even possible. There were many heart-wrenching scenes that made my heart go out to her.

Hawke, or Cage, is absent for a good part of the book. Fortunately, in the few scenes he is in he really shines. He is dark and mysterious and its obvious that even if he did have feelings for Cherry, which we still don't really know, his loyalty is to the Veil. I'm very interested to see where things with him will go in the next book.

Gilded is a wild ride of hunting down clues, navigating high-society, evading a murderer, and making tough romantic choices. And if that's not enough for you, the shocking events that occur in the last handful of chapters will have readers begging for book three!

Recommended for fans of: historical fiction, Jack the Ripper, murder mysteries, Victorian London,  and steampunk.

This review is based on an advance copy of the book, provided by the publisher.

4.5 / 5  stars

My reviews of other books in this series:

Tarnished (The St. Croix Chronicles #1)

1 comment:

  1. I've heard some really good things about this series lately so I'm going to have to get my hands on the first book soon. Great review :)
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages


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