Title: Chronicles of Steele #1
Author: Pauline Creeden
Published: October 28, 2014
Publisher: AltWit Press
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk
I originally read Raven as a serial, and each time I got to the end, I couldn't wait to read the next one!
First, let me mention the cover art. It's gorgeous, and perfectly complements this well written steampunk fantasy. Plus, the interior formatting is as much a work of art as the cover is.
Raven Steele, trained as a reaper, resides in a fantastic world of steam-powered horses and other gadgets. Reapers were part of the duke's elite guard, working in the capacity of bodyguards and assassins. But, to keep the reapers humble, they were required to save a life for every one they took as an assassin.
The adventure begins when an out-of control horse carrying a young boy, careens off of a bridge. In the right place at the right time, Raven doesn't hesitate to save the boy's life, whom she later learns is a baron. With a curse upon him, Raven takes on the challenge to protect him and find a way to lift the curse. We follow Raven on her journey to protect young Darius.
Pauline crafted wonderful three-dimensional characters. I feel as if I've known Raven her entire life, and watching her speed and dexterity makes me feel like a proud mama. I enjoy seeing Darius' personality emerge as he learns to trust Raven, and I feel just as protective of him as Raven does. One of the things I love about this story is Raven's relationship with Darius. She truly cares of him, and not just as a life to redeem for one she has taken as a reaper.
And what can I say about Captain Grant? He recognizes that Raven's "passion was like a storm, and he could either cower from the lightning, or be brave and stand in the rain." I'd say Grant isn't the type to ever cower.
I admire Pauline's ability to blend steampunk and fantasy so flawlessly. The world she created feels real. It speaks to her abilities and creativeness, and I will no doubt be a lifelong fan. Raven is exceptionally well written (and edited), and filled with adventure and action at just the right pace.
One of my favorite things about Raven is the lesson at the beginning of each chapter. Each one is beautifully written, like a poem.
With a reaper redeeming the lives she has taken, mechanical horses and men, witchcraft, and so many unexpected twists, this steampunk fantasy is so much fun! I highly recommend it to all fans of fantasy and steampunk, or just a butt-kicking heroine.
My Favorite Quotes
There were many magical moments throughout Chronicles of Steele, but I narrowed my favorites to three.
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