Saturday, August 3, 2013

[Archive] LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway

Karina Cooper
After writing happily ever afters for all of her friends in school, Karina Cooper eventually grew up (sort of), went to work in the real world (kind of), where she decided that making stuff up was way more fun (true!). She is the author of dark and sexy paranormal romance, steampunk urban fantasy, and writes across multiple genres with mad glee.

One part glamour, one part dork and all imagination, Karina is also a gamer, an airship captain’s wife, and a steampunk fashionista. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a husband, a menagerie, a severe coffee habit, and a passel of adopted gamer geeks. Visit her, because she says so.

The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway, THE ST. CROIX CHRONICLES #2.5
by Karina Cooper

Although I have only been part of Society for two years, I am already desperate to escape its confines and eager for adventure. The world my deceased parents have left me is nothing more than a gilded prison, and I will do anything to escape the boredom, even become a collector of bounties.

My name is Cherry St. Croix, and I may be young, but I am old enough to know when I am in over my head. My first collection seemed easy: Mr. Strangeway’s debts have come due, and the purse for his capture is hefty. Yet the wastrel remains one step ahead of me, and my efforts are hampered by another collector after the same coin. What’s more, a simple hunt becomes the forefront of a conspiracy that leads me on a chase through London’s low-class streets.

Not only does my pride demand success, but the well-being of many rest upon the choices I make—failure is not an outcome I can live with.

Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:
*eARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Yeah... the lady can write!! I have loved everything Karina Cooper has turned out, & hail the day that I discovered her books. Her Dark Mission series was a captivating thrill ride from book one to its amazing finale, and The St. Croix Chronicles were my first foray into Steampunk. They instantly added a heroine to my list of top favorites, and reminded me why I adore the Victorian era Horror Classics so very much.

A foray into Cherry's life is always an eagerly awaited adventure, so The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway was a fabulous surprise in my not-so-patient wait for Corroded; and what a surprise it was! As I started with, Karina can write - she has a gift - but this book was SO beautifully written I found myself whispering a "wow" to myself on more than one occasion and highlighting several passages. It was like dark poetry - fluid, sinuous, and wonderfully tenebrous.

Being a fan of the series, it was awesome to read Cherry's recounting of how everything came to be; how she became a collector at the age of 15, how her debut take went down, how she first met the enigmatic Micajah Hawke, how her odd turns of fate would eventually lend to her extremely high rate of success (as twisted as the facts may be), and more -including some more tidbits into her childhood before she was sent to London proper in the care of Fanny and the Booths. There is an absolutely beautiful passage from the book that I have to quote here, as it was the perfect phrase to denote the catalyst for Cherry's character throuout the series: "This point, the lowest I can recall clearly enough to remember it as something other than a dream, became the match that would light the sick of my aspirations. For this was the moment in which a deliberate disregard for the expectations of others overwhelmed the inner voice of the young girl who sobbed for help." [You want to know what brought on that thought don't you!!? Well you're just going to have to read it to find out! ;)]

Outside of all of that, the story itself was wonderful. Like all of the St. Croix Chronicles installments, Karina took something from history and twined it into the story, it was chock full of intrigue, there was plenty of action, and the dynamic characters and vivid world building absolutely sucked you in.

The Mysterious Case of Mr Strangeway is a solid 5 Skull read and I would highly recommend it! I, personally, would not recommend reading it as a standalone, however, and even though it's classified as a Prequel due to the timeline of the story, it works best exactly where it was released, and should be slotted in after Gilded.

An absolutely wonderful tide-over until Corroded. A big thanks to Karina for sharing her beautiful mind with us all, and a portion of her sales with kids who have big dreams (kinda like Cherry)*!
*A portion of the sales of The Mysterious Case of Mr Stragneway are going to the Make A Wish Foundation.

The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway

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