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I am extremely busy on the farm right now, peeps (you can find what I'm doing through FB page Olives and Acorns) and wilting in the terrible heat. As a consequence, my reading schedule suffered and while reviews will continue trickling in, normal schedule won't resume until September. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Steampunk Novel Early Review: Tempered by Karina Cooper

Tempered by Karina Cooper  (The St. Croix Chronicles #4)

Egalley courtesy of Carina Press

Synopsis from Goodreads

Book Four of The St. Croix Chronicles
Forced out of London's coal-blackened streets, Cherry St. Croix is faced with her most difficult undertaking yet: sobriety.
At long last, my guardian, the enigmatic Mr. Oliver Ashmore, has revealed himself-and his order is clear: I am to be dried out at once, regardless of my wishes.
I loathe the country estate I am imprisoned within. Footsteps follow me, voices call for me, and my sanity wavers. In my fevered dreams, I am haunted by those I failed, while waking proves no protection from the ghosts of my reckless past. The craving for laudanum plagues me. I require a distraction.
To unravel the alchemical mysteries of my mother's family, I must rely on Ashmore's tutelage. I am lured to the art and drawn by the secrets my guardian possesses. Yet the deeper I delve, the more I believe that something dreadful disturbs these haunted corridors. In my madness, I fear that what it wants most...is me.
Date of publication: February 10th 2014.
Amazon kindle US($3.03)/UK(£2.39)


* * *
This is a very different books from the rest of the series, like a quiet before the storm, and I have to say, that it surprised and delighted me at the same time.

Corroded was really dark. All that desperation and pain and hurt led to an explosive ending which left us all feeling hollow, and this is how Tempered starts. Cherry goes through all the expected motions of a recovering addict, but what intermixes with such a recovery is a fascinating twist.

One word, Ashmore. Her old guardian, who is apparently not so old and not so scary. In some ways he might even give Hawke a run for his money. *gasp* He is the one, who saves broken and suicidal Cherry and he is the one who is giving her means to go on when she discovers the darkest secrets of her family line. Secrets that I suspect is a major reason behind her emotional and mental instability.

This book is quiet, but it is full of revelations and some pretty steamy moments. It's also Gothic and delves into much more metaphysics and alchemy that I've ever expected to see. I know at last why each book of this series is named in such a peculiar way! Two words - alchemical transformations. *grin* I loved that it gave the series a very new and powerful direction and I can not wait to see what will happen next. Very much recommended.

* * *
Совершенно нестандартная книга, полная сюрпризов и неожиданных новых сюжетных направлений, и читала я её с огромным удовольствием.

Предыдущая книга серии была очень мрачной и закончилась  взрывными событиями; по контрасту с ней эта книга удивительно тихая, готичная и какая-то совсем другая по настрою.

Конечно, Черри проходит через ломку, когда её опекун Ашмор пытается провести её через все стадии освобождения от опиумной зависимости. Она в полной депрессии, склоняется к самоубийству и мучается от глобокого чувства вины, вспоминая всех друзей и любимых, пострадавших из-за её действий и ошибок.

В то же время, Ашмор, которого она всегда воспринимала как какого-то холодного монстра, наполняет её чувством новой цели - спасти тех, кто до сих пор мучается по вине китайской мафии в глубинах Лондона. Он открывает ей тёмные тайны её семейной линии и начинает учить её алхимии. Именно алхимией и метафизическими учениями заполнена эта книга, и она наконец-то придаёт смысл названиям каждой книги серии - они отражают стадии алхимических процессов трансформации.

Ашмор кстати настолько интересный персонаж, что по своей харизме может посоперничать даже с Микаджей Хоуком, которого никак не может забыть Черри. А в общем. впечатления прекрасные, и я жду-не дождусь того, что произойдёт дальше. Очень советую!

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