Generally, I hate winter. But this December cannot come soon enough because the second installment in Karina Cooper’s new St. Croix Chronicles series hits shelves and it already feels like I’ve spent centuries waiting to get my hands on Gilded. I read Tarnished (and Dished about it with RT's Regina), the series debut, last month and was completely blown away by Cooper’s highly satisfying steampunk tale. The story didn’t exactly end with a cliffhanger, but it did leave a few unfinished plot lines that I’m hoping will continue with Gilded. Luckily for me Christmas has come early with Gilded’s recent cover reveal, which will hopefully tide me over for the next few months.
Tarnished introduced readers to Cherry St. Croix, a young woman living in an alternate Victorian London, which is separated into two parts: gritty, crime-filled London below and London above, which was home to Society’s elite. While with her chaperone in London above, Cherry is a well-behaved miss (okay, maybe 75% of the time), but when she dons her goggles and tool belt and travels to London below, she’s known as a bounty hunter who never fails to collect and deliver. When Cherry agrees to help hunt down a murderer responsible for offing prostitutes, she becomes mixed up in a harrowing scheme involving a mad scientist, reanimated bodies and an assortment of London below’s vagabonds and delinquents. And of course, she must keep all of this from her chaperone, guardian and friends up above.