Raven (Chronicles of Steele #1) by Pauline Creeden
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Steam-punk
Publication: October 17th 2014 by AltWit Press
Rating: 3/5 stars
I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Human life has value. The poor living in the gutter are as valuable as the rich living in a manor. The scoundrel is no less valuable than the saint. Because of this, every life a reaper takes must be redeemed.
Raven has lived by this first tenet since she was trained by her father to become a reaper. But since his death, she’s been spending years redeeming the lives she’s taken. By her count, she’s even and it’s time for that life to end. If she settles down and becomes a wife, she might just feel human again. But on the way to the life she thinks she wants, the baron of New Haven asks her to complete a task which she cannot ignore… Just when Raven decides to give up on her life as an assassin, she’s pulled right back in.
Okay, I first need to get this out of the way. I always feel bad when I rate a book 3 stars, because I feel like I might give some people the wrong idea. 3 stars in NOT a bad rating, in my opinion. It means that I enjoyed the read. It didn’t blow me away, or left me dumbstruck, but I liked it.
I thought this novel’s world was quite interesting! It’s a steampunk fantasy, which I don’t really read often. A shame really, because it’s intriguing. It’s a mix of fantasy and technology. This world had alchemy, automatons, mechanical arms, zeppelins, trains and even mechanical horses! It was interwoven in this story in such a way that none of the inventions really seem like a big deal.
Apart from that though, I don’t really know much about the world. It only just occurred to me, as I’m writing this review which means it didn’t bother me at all while reading. Yet I can’t conjure (m)any facts about the world.
This story is about Raven, a reaper who wants to retire. Until she gets one last assignment, which she thinks may settle her score -redeeming another life. I found the story line of this book quite intriguing. Although I have to be honest, it didn’t truly capture me at first. I haven’t had much time to read lately, especially in the past week. Yet when I did have time, I gravitated towards a re-read. However, after I got past the 40% mark or so, I got really into it. I finished the rest in a matter of hours, although I should’ve been working on my thesis.
I don’t really want to tell you anything about the story line, because the synopsis doesn’t. On Goodreads though, it mentions that this book used to be 4 serial stories. I can kind of see that now. I enjoyed the last 2 or 3 parts of the book much more than the first although at times it felt like the different parts weren’t interwoven all that well. At one point, I felt like this new aspect of the story just suddenly got thrown into the mix.
I know that sounds negative, I do. But like I said, I really did enjoy the story and reading experience! I got attached to the characters, and wanted to know what would happen to them. I also happen to love stories filled with journeys and chases.
I have to be honest, I expected Raven to be different. Maybe it’s because I have a different thing in mind when I hear the word reaper? So my expectations for this book were different.
Let me tell you this, so it won’t happen to you as well. The word “reaper” here, doesn’t mean the beings that help people cross over to the other side. They’re not the ones who appear when you are about to die. Instead, a reaper is a kind of assassin. They have very heavy training which makes them incredibly fast and heightens their senses, and they don’t just take any lives – yet they are still a human. Reapers also live by a code: you take a life, you redeem a life.
Overall, I quite enjoyed Raven’s point of view. She was capable, strong and smart -yet somehow had a hard time evading the guards. I loved how she was not just an emotionless assassin. She clearly loved her father, and the kindness she shows towards Darius (a child) is really cute. Yet she’s still bad-ass. It’s also interesting that she actually wanted to retire, and get married. I don’t think I’ve come across that often in stories.
I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t feeling the romance at first. You know the type. Oh, I don’t know why I’m suddenly feeling so light when I’m around her/him... That type. But as the characters grew on me (I do happen to love Captain Grant), I found the romance to grow on me as well.
Overall, I thought this was an enjoyable read. It’s not entirely what I expected it to be, due to the reaper misunderstanding, yet I still liked the story line and characters. I do wish I knew more about the world, and maybe that the 4 parts were interwoven more. On the one hand, I think this was a satisfying ending to a story. On the other hand, I’m also interested in reading more!