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Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in 3.5 rating, Book reviews, Contests, Review by Beth | 21 comments

Release Day Review and Giveaway: Gilded by Karina Cooper

Author: Karina Cooper
The St. Croix Chronicles, book 2
Publisher: Avon
ISBN-10: 0062127667
ISBN-13: 978-0062127662
Source: From publisher for review
Buy it here: Amazon | Book Depository
For more information visit Karina Cooper’s website

Reviewed by: Beth

Cherry St. Croix is a society lady by day, but at night she is a collector. A collector is something like a bounty hunter who flies under the radar, or in this case below the drift. There is a kind of fog that surrounds most of London. Most of society lives above it for the most part. Cherry is invited to a luncheon and given a mystery that leads her to a dead college professor. As she is piecing together the mystery and Earl decides to court her.

Gilded is the second book of Karina Cooper’s The St. Croix Chronicles. It took me a little while to get used to the tone of the novel. Cherry starts out in her collector disguise, and then moved to her getting home. I was thrown by it, not only because of the double lives, but because she seemed to self-aware and independent on the street and the complete opposite at home. I didn’t read the first book, Tarnished. It did fill in some of the background that happened in the first book, but some parts were a little confusing. In other words, it’s best to start with book one.

My favorite thing about this book, other than the jaw dropping ending, is that I had no idea how versatile Cooper is. The tone of the novel is completely different from anything I have ever read by her. I thought when I opened the book it would remind me of her Paranormal series, but it didn’t. Instead it surprised me.

Let’s be honest, history wasn’t that great to women. Steam Punk has a funny nature about carrying over some of the things I don’t like about the Victorian age. All those manners, all those rules give me the shivers. Cherry would agree with me, the difference is she has to live it. The problem here though is that while she is a no fear kind of girl, she does fear the social elite. This kept me at a distance from her. So much of her claims not to care, but in that she is very dishonest, she does care or it wouldn’t give her fits.

I haven’t gone hardcore into the plot, and that’s because it’s hard without being spoilerish. I have said there is a mystery, and who is dead, but there is a lot more going on. She is being pursued for her hand by an Earl, who isn’t bad looking. This rivaled for my attention when it came down to it. This isn’t something that takes a back seat in the plot. Everything is connected in some way, but the main mystery opens doors to bigger ones like her family’s past. Even the Earl’s family provides little hidden details into what, or who her parents were as people. There are some serious secrets playing in the background of the overall plot line.

I mentioned the jaw dropping ending. Actually, the very end wasn’t so jaw dropping, but the space right before it. Gilded took me by surprise. It wasn’t something I expected, and it has a lot more flavor than other Steam Punk novels out there. The main character isn’t my favorite. I felt distant from Cherry and her ever wandering mind. The dead professor mystery seemed a little bland, and not for me. On the other hand a glimpse at the bigger picture going on behind the actually story held my interest. I often say, ‘yea, that novel didn’t go far enough.’ That’s not true here. I was pleasantly surprised by how far it went.
My Rating:

We are giving away 1 copy of Gilded. This is open internationally and the winner will be announced on December 29th. Read giveaway policy before entering.

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About Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a constant reader from down south. If she doesn’t have a book open she can often be found behind the computer or with a gaming console. She is an eccentric bookworm who enjoys all types of genres: Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, and Horror.


  1. Hm, this sounds interesting. I’m not usually a fan of steampunk because, like you mentioned, it tends to over-romanticize the past and gloss over the whole ‘this was a terrible time to be a woman’ aspect, but this sounds like something i might like. thanks for the review 🙂

  2. mmmmm this book look good, i really like the review 😛

  3. I love steampunk and I’ve been eyeing this series. Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. I loved Tarnished and can´t wait for my chance to read this second book, i´m just a bit nervous of the two twists at the end, what could that be? *chews on my knuckles*
    Thanks for the giveaway & Happy Holidays!

  5. Now I;m all curious about the ending. I hope it does the story justice 🙂

  6. Sounds like a very interesting read.

  7. i don’t know this series yet but you made me want to try it

    thank you

  8. Sounds like a great read.

  9. i have read lots of great review about this book. thanks for the chance 😀

  10. I really enjoyed your review and I’m glad you liked Gilded. I’m looking forward to reading it since I loved Tarnished. I’ve been waiting for this book to be released.

  11. I totally appreciate wanting to comment further, but holding back to avoid being ‘spoilerish!’ I hate spoilers and usually avoid reviews (save for simple star ratings) because of them.

  12. Great review. Im looking forward to reading this series.

  13. I’ve not read any steampunk before but I love historical romance so guessing I’d like steampunk too.

  14. You certainly made it sound very interesting. I’d love to read GILDED thank you.

  15. So far, steampunk still a hit/miss type of book for me. I like it, but not all. I’ll probably gonna try this one

  16. I’ve never read Steampunk novels before but this one sounds interesting and I agree with you about reading book #1 before this one, maybe that way we can probaly understand the character a bit more. Thanks for the giveaway! Keeping fingers crossed! (Ileana A.-rafflecopter)

  17. I just picked up Tarnished although I haven’t read it yet. Thanks for the review.

  18. I recently read Tarnished and agree with what you’ve said about Cherry’s character. Given her background and how she grew up, though, it makes sense to me she’d be more comfortable “below the drift.” The Earl storyline intrigued me in Tarnished, but there was another dude who claimed some of Ms. St. Croix’s, ahem, attention. I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue with the series, but reading your review has reawakened my appetite for this unusual and dark storyline. Thanks!
    Some Dark Romantic