Gilded by Karina Cooper
HarperCollins Publisher/AVON (Dec. 26, 2012)
Mass market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
Favorite Lines: “Blood dries to an oily brown, like embedded dirt or forgotten paint. Beneath a month’s worth of dust, the color stained the floor in unshakeable evidence–I had not imagined everything. A body had fallen here. Bled out here.” (p. 13, e-galley)
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.
Tarnished introduced me to Karina Cooper‘s St. Croix Chronicles. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I never thought I’d come to love the historical urban fantasy series the way I find myself obsessing over it. I think you’ll know exactly what I mean after you read Gilded. Do NOT try to jump into the series with this book or you will be totally lost.
Gilded is told in the first person from Cherry’s point of view.
Opium addict and member of polite London society, Cherry St. Croix is still collecting money working as a bounty hunter of sorts in foggy London. She struggles to fit into a world where young women are trained to marry and raise children. It’s hard for her because she has a scientist’s brain and her family history–let’s just say it has her teetering into ostracized territory. Or it would were it not for the highly eligible bachelor Lord Cornelius Compton. He’s not the only man in her life. Her nights are often interrupted by Micajah Hawke, the Midnight Menagerie’s ringmaster.
The last book left me wondering who Cherry would choose to have a relationship with: society or the night. There were good points which could have swung her either way, but she makes a clear decision in Gilded. The repercussions of that choice will be played out in book three. I asked Cooper on Twitter when it would be released, but she did not yet know.
I wanted to punch some of the women for being vapid, eye-fluttering fools. I wanted to shake Cherry for making poor decisions. I wanted to scream and wail when I turned the final page of the book. I tried to put it out of my mind, but for days I replayed the events that culminated on the final pages of Gilded. I’ve got to know what will happen to Cherry. I’ve re-read a particular section in the final chapters several times and I guess that is how you know it was a good book.