Publication: 26th June 2012/Avon.
Pre-Order It: Amazon
"In Victorian London, where science skirts the line between magic and mechanics, one stubborn miss will face shadows from her past, demons from her desires, and choices that will forever shape who she is.
A brand-new, sexy series from Karina Cooper featuring fearless heroine Cherry St. Croix-debutante by day, bounty hunter by night-set in an alternate London where proper Victorian society sits above a seedy steampunk underworld teeming with dubious loyalties, advanced technology, and incredible magic."
I must say the girl on the cover is really creepy looking and looks much too old represent 20 year old Cherry St. Croix (an awesome name, no?).
Cherry St. Croix is more than meets the eye. If you met her during the day, you would see her as a wealthy red-headed socialite orphan who lives above the drift. However, if you met Cherry St. Croix at night, you would see her as Ms. Black, a collector or also known as a bounty hunter, with blackened hair, and often mistaken for a man. Cherry is too young to receive her deceased parent's inheritance and has no interest in marriage. She spends her allowance which she receives from her elderly guardian on scientific research and opium. To supplement such habits, Cherry collects for Menagerie, a organization with ties to the 'Karakash Veil', a Chinese originated crime circle. What matters to Cherry though is her bounty.
When some of the female workers of the Menagerie turn up dead, Cherry is approached by her friend, Zylphia, who also works for the Menagerie to catch the killer, but what Cherry unearths is something bigger than she could ever imagine.
Tarnished is a novel set in a Steampunk world. Cooper has created a new, unique version on London. High class London society has been altered and sits above the unclean air known as the drift and the lower class civilians, literally. I found this a little tough to imagine so I had a hard time picturing everything that was going on while I was reading.
Cherry is an interesting character. She is independent in a world where women were seen as nothing but property with no interest in marriage, much to her carer's, Fanny, sadness. Cherry is also smart and cool. She has a sharp wit and she can take down the average man easily.
Someone who also finds Cherry interesting is Lordship Cornelius Kerrigan Compton. He seems to have Cherry in his sights, much to his mothers dismay. As a character, Compton is the average handsome man with his own secrets. However, what annoyed me was how Cooper wrote him in, to only diminish his presence with no real answer.
Tarnished also holds some steamy (Yes, pun intended) aspects which gives the book a well needed kick in the romance department. So, be warned, this book is for mature YA readers. It also has a lot of murder as well as action, and some lesser interesting parts that all happen when Cherry is above the drift.
Give it a read. The plot has twists and turns and is one of those books where you should expect the unexpected.