Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles

Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles

by Karina Cooper

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback)



“A wickedly wonderful storyteller.”
 —Jocelynn Drake

“A brilliant new voice in paranormal romance.”
—Christina Dodd

Author Karina Cooper enthralls with her stunning new series, The St. Croix Chronicles. Cooper, whose haunting Dark Mission novels set a new standard for paranormal romance, carries readers into the shadows of a very different Victorian London, where science skirts the line between magic and mechanics. A magnificent talent writing in the vein of such paranormal and urban fantasy superstars as J.R. Ward, Jeaniene Frost, Gail Carriger, and Meljean Brook, Cooper introduces readers to a truly remarkable heroine: Cherry St. Croix. Debutante by day and bounty hunter by night, Cherry makes a truly smashing debut in Tarnished, as she trawls the seedy underbelly of an alternate London in search of a killer…and finds herself at odds with the dangerous—and dangerously handsome—criminal kingpin, Micajah Hawke, ruler of the Midnight Menagerie.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062127648
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/26/2012
Series: St. Croix Chronicles , #1
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Born from the genetic mash-up of lesser royalty, storytellers, wanderers and dreamers, Karina Cooper was destined to be a creative genius. As a child, she moved all over the country like some kind of waifish blonde gypsy and learned how to adapt to the new cultures her family settled in. When she (finally) grew up, she skipped the whole genius part and fell in love with writing Paranormal Romance because, really, who doesn't love hot men and a happy ending?

When she isn't writing about things that go bump in the night, Karina designs Steampunk and neo-Victorian couture for gentleman hobbyists and ladies of questionable reputation. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a husband, three cats, one rabbit and a passel of adopted gamer geeks.

What People are Saying About This

Kady Cross

“Sexy steampunk intrigue set in a world rich with dark imagery and lush detail. I did not want to put it down!”

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Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
DarkFaerieTales on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: A dark and dangerous hunt for a serial killer where magic and science clash in opium-laced perceptions. Opening Sentence: I was nine years old when I picked my first pocket.The Review: Steampunk is a beautiful blend of the Victorian Era and Industrial Revolution: Tarnished takes this one step further. The London of this world is split into two distinct areas; above and below. The pollution and poverty was left on the ground when the movers and shakers of London decided to ¿rise above¿ their fellow man and develop the city above the fog and decay. The caste system reflects this obvious line of distinction. Cherry St. Croix attempts to live within both worlds while keeping them separate from each other. While she makes every effort to do so, there are people and events at work that strive to have her spinning plates come crashing down. Cherry¿s different lives are, literally, like night and day. By day, she is one of the well-to-do. She has a house, a staff, and a governess intent on her marrying well. Though her family history is less than stellar, she still must maintain propriety as if it were. Her actions and every move are dissected and analyzed by the elite. For someone with a naturally fiery disposition, her life under the microscope is stifling, at best. By night, she is a far different woman. Known only as Ms. Black, she dresses as a boy and works as a collector, a bounty hunter, to subsidize her opium addiction. Her life before becoming a ¿lady¿ was much darker than her other counterparts in polite society. This part of her character is always at odds with the one she must present in order to keep her household safe and protected. I absolutely LOVE this extreme within Cherry. Her disillusionment about people and her innocence in personal relationships is as gripping as it is heart-breaking. The main story revolves around Cherry¿s acceptance of a job hunting down The Leather Apron, a serial killer that has been killing prostitutes and taking their organs. Although she is seriously outclassed and has no leads, she is determined to find the killer. It is not some random people that are being massacred; it is girls that Cherry knows personally. Her sense of responsibility only goes so far; they did offer her opium in addition to money and that seals her help. The love interests in the book reflect the two sides of Cherry; Lord Compton for the light and Micajah Hawke for the dark. Lord Compton is as high up on the social ladder as you can go. He is handsome, charming, and heir to his family¿s fortune and prestige. For whatever reason, he is interested in Cherry. His manners and upbringing make him an ideal candidate for marriage, if she was interested in such things. Though polished on the outside, Compton reveals more of a darker nature throughout the book. Micajah, on the other hand, is the ringmaster of the Midnight Menagerie; a den of flesh and decadence in the heart of seedy London. He is dark, sexy, and master of his domain. His feral sexuality calls to Cherry in ways she is not willing to look deeply into. A man of action, Micajah shows a compassionate and honorable side when Cherry is at her most vulnerable. He is a man of magic whereas Compton is more a man of science. Both of the men have their good and bad sides; perhaps they are not as different as they would have us believe. A riveting tale mixing both magic and science, Tarnished is gem among the rubble. I found it extremely hard to put this book down. Cherry St. Croix and her world are definitely worth the visit. Notable Scene: Who would make a useless piece of jewelry? Although whomever had, he had certainly been a craftsman. The make was exceptional. Delicate gold filigree framed a burnt umber oval, striking in both design and color. Polished to a beautiful sheen, it set off the black silhouette raised in the center. The tips of my fingers skimmed over the features of
Anggie6 More than 1 year ago
Got to ask the author questions and read this in a college class. My professor is friends with the author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ZombieJoe More than 1 year ago
The first book in the St. Croix Chronicles, the book is an excellent example of steampunk fiction. From the first page you are met with a London very different from the historical one. Pollution has put the city to the point of raising the more affluent buildings above the rest of the buildings, but also above the everlasting, discolored fog. Travel between London Above and London Below is done through airship versions of ferries. Goggles, rebreathers and armored corsets are featured heavily. More than that, you can really feel the Victorian Era in the writing. For me this felt a lot like a Sherlock Holmes story. Consider Doyle writing in a more industrialized setting and putting the light on Irene Adler as the main character. Now instead of simply hinting at drug use, make it a central part of the character. Much like it is with Chess Putnam in Stacia Kane’s Downside novels. This presents you with a flawed woman of strength and means making her own way in a world where she is considered to be less than a man. And while she is a strong female lead, you get a real feel for her coming to terms with how she sees herself as opposed to the way that society (or Society as it were) sees her. There is plenty of action, an unflinching view of some of the seedier aspects of Victorian society and well developed characters. What’s not to draw you into that kind of story? I also found it incredibly interesting how the romance aspect was handled considering the setting. This may be due to my lack of experience with Regencies or other period romance novels, but it still held my interest as a reader. Full over I would give this book a five gear rating out of five. There was little that I could find that left me wanting for more. Well worth the purchase, and looking forward to diving into the second (recently released) once I am able.
alterlisa More than 1 year ago
While I love Steampunk, UF, and a good suspense story, this book failed to fill the need. Despite reading the book till the very end (cause of course I had to know the why),it failed to entertain and drag me completely into the story. I often found myself distracted while reading it. There were too many details in the Steampunk world building and the scientific world. The character descriptions often made me NOT care about them though I wanted to. I think this book would have benefited greatly with more romance sprinkled in. It had the potential to be a great recipe but the ingredients just did not jell for me.
LITERALADDICTION_MLO More than 1 year ago
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson: I really enjoyed the first installment of Karina’s new ST CROIX CHRONICLES. My exact, though somewhat uncouth, words upon completion of the book were: “Holy dark & twisted Steampunky Franknsteinesque urban fantasy. I like it!!” :) Steampunk is a delicate blend of Victorian and Industry – think corsets and bustles meet gears, steam engines, and airship pirates. In Tarnished, London is split into two distinct worlds following a sort of pollution apocalypse. There’s the lower London, where smog is literally cloying and thievery and darkness abound, and the upper London where the well-to-doers reside, pretending that life ‘below’ never happened. Our heroine, Cherry, lives in both worlds but fits wholly in neither. As the daughter of a scientist whom people thought mad, she’s quite evolved for a Victorian age woman, and yet never fully accepted by society. She loves science and debate, and feels utterly at home with a good reference book or periodical – all of the things that a high born female should not engage in. Her every action is scrutinized by the rest of the upper London elite, and therefore, Cherry finds it necessary to live a dual life. When she’s not posing for the rest of the upper London society, she dresses up as a boy and works as a bounty hunter and assassin in lower London while trying to find creative ways to keep herself functioning after an awful childhood left her with an opium addiction that she’s unable to shake. The heart of Tarnished revolves around Cherry’s quest to find and apprehend the madman whom killed some of her lower London ladies of the night acquaintances, while trying to keep up her dual personalities and have somewhat of a normal love life. She is torn between a highborn lad from the Compton family who comes to court her, and her pseudo boss and ‘Sir of the Night’ if you will, the dark and mysterious Micajah Hawke – ruler of the Midnight Menagerie. Like Cherry herself, the two sides of her love life battle between dark and light, upper and lower, proper and scandalous. As I touched on in my initial comments regarding the book, the murder mystery that Cherry investigates has a lovely Frankensteinesque quality about it and I found myself utterly intrigued. Tarnished is a compelling tale of myth and reality and covers all the grey ground between light and dark. It was a book I’m not likely to forget any time soon, and I’m excited to see where Karina takes us next with the series. LITERAL ADDICTION gives Tarnished 4 Skulls.
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
A steam-punk theme with murder and mayhem, what more could you ask for? The beginning of the book had a great start, Cherry St. Croix and the members (employees) of her household were interesting and the idea that she had two separate lives happening at once and only one person was privy to that was intriguing. Where it lost me was the story of who the bad guy was. I was highly disappointed by it and really wish it would have worked out better, it felt like giving up on the storyline. I’m more disappointed now that I’ve had time to mull it over. The people that we are introduced to in this story are so varied and compelling that I thought for sure the turn of events would be more exciting or imaginative. Most of the book felt like it was a Young Adult story to me, but then there were a couple things thrown in (the sex and drugs) that upped it to an adult read. The steamy part definitely caught me off guard and just felt off with the rest of the writing and the rest of the story. There was just too much disconnect in this one for me to give the rest of the series a go. ARC reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
RomanceaholicBR More than 1 year ago
I stayed up until past three in the morning, even knowing I had to get up at seven, in order to finish this book, because I couldn’t stand the thought of putting it down. With intricate plotlines and multifaceted characters combined with lots of action, magic, sex, mystery, drama and danger, this is a series to get excited about. The only thing really holding me back from a higher final rating is the fact that there were so many plot lines left unfinished at the end. Perhaps I’m spoiled because I tend to only pick up Urban Fantasy after there are three or four books already published, and so I’ve never really had to wait for hanging threads to be picked back up, but I found myself disappointed when I reached the last page. A very solid 4/5 Stars, and I will be reading the sequel when it comes out. {This title was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Full review available on The Romanceaholic}