Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – B+
After the heartbreaking ending of Gilded, the St. Croix Chronicles’ third book, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened in Corroded. I was a little wary at the beginning because the story seemed a little slow and it was very, very dark but Karina Cooper didn’t disappoint and I think this will be a very interesting direction for the series.
The first half of Corroded focuses on Cherry’s descent into a deeper and deeper opium addiction. It also reinforces her feelings of revenge and the need for vengeance she feels due to the events in Gilded. She has only one desire now… kill the rival collector. She is currently staying at the Midnight Menagerie but her status there is wobbly because she still owes them for saving her life. She also isn’t sure what is going on between herself and the sexy Micajah Hawke, but she’s a little too scared to explore it.
Corroded‘s second half really picks up speed and has plenty of intrigue and violence. The Menagerie pushes Cherry too far and she loses herself to the desire she feels for Hawke. Her conflict with both Jack the Ripper and her rival collector reaches a climax and I never would have guessed the actual identity of the collector! We also finally meet the mysterious Mr. Oliver Ashmore, Cherry’s benefactor and possible knight in shining armor? I’ve very excited to see how Ms. Cooper weaves him into Cherry’s new existence.
I really enjoyed Corroded and thought it was a strong entry in Cherry’s story. Though I missed a lot of the characters from the previous books, I loved the new character of Maddy Ruth. She’s an inventor extraordinaire and I thought her interactions with Cherry were fantastic. Don’t let the darkness of the beginning put you off this book, Ms. Cooper really brings it home in the end. This book really had it all – the evil Midnight Menagerie, the first threads of a revolution, Cherry and Hawke’s smokin’ chemistry, the brave Ishmael Communion, Cherry hitting rock bottom but finally getting her vengeance, and the final reveal of Ashmore. I can’t wait to see what is next for Cherry St. Croix, but I do hope it won’t be quite as dark next time. I love Cherry and I think her struggles just amplify her character, but I would like to see the girl have a bit more happiness in her life. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a gritty steampunk world with nuanced characters painted in shades of gray.
Thank you to Netgalley and Carina Press for providing an ARC copy of this book!
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