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Set in a steampunked England, this story follows Raven Steele, Reaper, as she tries to find balance in her life. She is tasked by the eldest son (Solomon) of the Duke to see Darius (the youngest son) safely to the Wood Witch in the hopes she will be able to cure his strange malady. Raven soon finds herself caught up in in a tangled web of plans laid by various nefarious folks. She is not sure that she can keep young Darius alive… not sure at all.
The Reapers are a unique set of assassins and righters of wrongs. For every life they take, they must in turn save a life. Raven comes from a line of Reapers and was raised with the code. I liked this give and take aspect to the story. It allowed some of the characters to pass that final judgement but did not relieve them of their responsibility to turn around and save a life without having passed judgement upon it. In this case, young Darius needs Raven’s protection from his own father, but he also needs specialized medical attention for this mysterious condition. This gives Raven plenty to worry about. Plus Darius has a loyal dog, Nikki, who Raven must also keep safe.
Raven has this corset that I really want to get my hands on and have a similar one made. It has big magnets on the back, making it easy for her to store a crossbow or sword. It’s sexy and steampunky, so I can overlook the obvious drawbacks of having items accidentally knocked loose or even someone imply taking something when she’s distracted by fighting. She is a careful and deadly fighter, so I am sure she has weighed the pros and cons of this. I trust her judgement.
Most of the cast is male. Raven stars at the center of the story, but there are few females besides her. Later, we do meet the Wood Witch, and also an herbalist names Marietta. These two ladies affect the plot and play integral roles. I grew quite fond of Marietta – so practical and a little sharp tongued. There are a few more, but they had very minor roles. Meanwhile, Raven is surrounded by men for the bulk of the tale.
Captain Jack Grant has been tasked by the Duke to bring Darius back. He’s also a potential romantic interest. He can’t figure Raven out and she is stumped over him. They have to build trust first, especially since the Duke wants Darius dead. One of my little criticisms is that I was confused for most of the story about Jack Grant. Now, obviously I now know that he is a single person. But for much of the story he is referred to either as Grant or as Jack and only a very few times is he called Captain Jack Grant. So, for most of the story I thought we had two separate men working in the Duke’s guards and that both were potentially interested in Raven. It was confusing. And I fear that I did the same thing with the medical doctor, Colton…. who I think might be Gregory Colton? Or are they two separate people? Sigh…. Obviously, if their last names were obvious surnames like Coltonson or Grantson, then I think I would be able to keep them straight with ease during this action-packed, fast paced story.
The steampunk aspects are nicely built into the story. The author doesn’t dwell on the mechanics and instead makes the mechanized items (like steampunk horses) tools for the characters. I like that not every bit of technology works all the time as planned and that not everyone likes the technology. Later in the story, we get an additional plot line that involves mechanized servants. This, along with keeping Darius safe, gives Raven plenty to keep her busy. Story was definitely entertaining!
I received a copy of this audiobook from the narrator at no cost in exchange for an honest review.
Narration: Andrea Emmes did a great job with voices and accents. Her little kid voice for Darius was perfect. I especially liked her accent and attitude for Marietta. All her character voices were distinct and she did a variety of regional accents too.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What was one of the most memorable moments of Chronicles of Steele: Raven: The Complete Story?
I really like this audioook! Great Steam punk adventure with wonderful characters. I did not want the adventure to end and want more. I found there were several insightful quotes that I found interesting.This I did not expect in an adventure story and was pleasantly surprised. I really want more adventures and stories with these characters. Good job narrating this audiobook by Andea Emmes
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Chronicles of Steele: Raven: The Complete Story in three words, what would they be?
Mystical, action, adventure.
What did you like best about this story?
There were some really great elements to he story, and I found Raven to be a nice character, but there were some parts that let it down. I have to be honest, repetitive word choices and character traits and descriptions. I think the worst for me was calling Nikki the dog 'caramel coloured' the more it was mentioned the more I was taken out of the story. Used of 'brows furrowed, or nods and eye movement.
What does Andrea Emmes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Andrea's reading of the book was awesome. I honestly think that without her effort and narration if I was reading this may well have been one I never finished, and I would have put it down, And that would be a real shame, because the whole story was pretty neat. There were however some puzzling questions, that I just didn't get.
The Automaton's were they there for a specific reason, so much of the plot was given to them I thought it was going to be really relevant in what was going on, but nope. It just confused the heck out of me. I'm glad it came to a head towards the end, but I'm still not 100% really sure as to their 'why' just because they were 'made' by the witch. She was quite the plotter for this even if it felt a little lost on me.
All in all, though, Andrea brought a great story to life, so total kudos to her. As for the writer, I might well watch out for more in the series, but totally not sure about it either.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Yes, where Raven is battling the Wood Witch and the the bad thoughts about killing her father are winning, when she's looking up into the eyes of her uncle. Totally loved it. That was moving, that was great writing, and narration. Because I had tears in my eyes. Well done to both. I also thought Darrius wanting to see Nikki, was pretty cute. He just loved his pet, and I hope that proved the sort of Barron he might actually make.
Any additional comments?
I think the 'kinda' romance elements between Raven and Captain Grant, are a little off, we do get the impression early on that this might be on the cards, but the late 'fluttering' of heartbeats and goosebumps, just seemed a bit too much. Especially towards the end where it's all wrapped up and Raven is realising it's all a mistake, that she shouldn't have left him. I think for this story it would have been better left as 'mystery' rather than it all come to a head just because 'they're parting ways' I think it could have been much more subtle there. I didn't expect it to be heavy romance, Gregory coming into the 'end' I also wasn't sure of. No wonder Raven gags, over him in the Barrens bedroom.
Would I recommend the audio book. Totally. It gave me a good story, which I followed really well and by the end was invested in. Does it take a little getting into, for me, yes, but I'm a hard Sci Fi girl, this was a little different. :) I will watch out for more.