Author: Pauline Creeden
Series: Chronicles of Steele #1)
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk
This is the complete Steampunk Fantasy novel – all four parts of the serial in one volume! Also includes bonus features not found in the episodes ~
Human life has value.
The poor living in the gutter are as valuable as the rich living in a manor.
The scoundrel is no less valuable than the saint.
Because of this, every life a reaper takes must be redeemed.
Raven has lived by this first tenet since she was trained by her father to become a reaper. But since his death, she’s been spending years redeeming the lives she’s taken. By her count, she’s even and it’s time for that life to end. If she settles down and becomes a wife, she might just feel human again. But on the way to the life she thinks she wants, the baron of New Haven asks her to complete a task which she cannot ignore… Just when Raven decides to give up on her life as an assassin, she’s pulled right back in.
Raven Steele is a Reaper; an assassin who has to redeem herself by saving a life when one is taken. As possibly the only female reaper, Raven is totally bad-ass! She is smart, stubborn, knows how to rock a corset and uses her weapons (or even someone else’s!) skilfully. Raven does not take her profession lightly but when we meet her she is considering giving it all up to settle down and become a wife. This is until she saves Baron Darius and begins perhaps the most dangerous assignment of her life.
Although Raven is still a reaper at heart, in becoming Darius’ protector she now puts his needs before her own and risks her health to keep him safe. Pauline Creeden chooses to evolve the relationship between Raven and Darius like a romance. Initially, they are shy and uncomfortable in each other’s presence but they seek reassurance, especially after the first attack on them and Raven’s discovery that the love of her life is now married. As they continue their journey, Darius is scared and Raven is broken-hearted but they manage to bring out the best qualities in each other. Darius begins to act like a ‘normal’ boy and a softer side of Raven emerges.
This story is a rich and exciting steampunk fantasy, made sharper by Pauline Creeden’s descriptions of people, places and events which invite the reader to use all of their senses and enter Raven’s world,
” Snow pelted raven’s face. Like icicles, the flakes stuck to her eyelashes, but she trudged on through the knee-deep snow. She ignored the burning sensation in her exposed skin while the wind blew at her back. Wisps of her hair pulled free from her bun and lashed about her face. The snow glowed seemingly of its own accord, lighting the winding mountain trail.”
Pauline Creeden develops the relationship between Jack Grant and Raven in such a way that we expect a romantic side-plot but there is only a small hint of love, which I think makes the story all the more unique.
Volume One of The Chronicles of Steele covers a variety of genres, meaning that it has a greater appeal to a range of readers. It would be a great book for someone in a ‘slump’ who is looking for a different and exciting story.
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About the Author
In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.
Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. It is also the 2013 Book Junkie’s Choice Winner in Historical Fiction. Her debut novel, Sanctuary, won 1st Place Christian YA Title 2013 Dante Rosetti Award and 2014 Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best YA Horror Novel.