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Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles Mass Market Paperback – June 26, 2012

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Product Details

  • Series: St. Croix Chronicles
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062127640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062127648
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,141,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Sexy steampunk intrigue set in a world rich with dark imagery and lush detail. I did not want to put it down!” (Kady Cross)

“his is absolutely one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.” (RT Book Reviews (top pick))

“BEFORE THE WITCHES was edge-of-the-seat good and I couldn’t stop reading until I was finished.” (Parajunkee.com)

From the Back Cover

My name is Cherry St. Croix. Society would claim that I am a well-heeled miss with an unfortunate familial reputation. They've no idea of the truth of it. In my secret world, I hunt down vagrants, thieves . . . and now, a murderer. For a monster stalks London's streets, leaving a trail of mystery and murder below the fog.

Eager for coin to fuel my infatuations, I must decide where my attentions will turn: to my daylight world, where my scientific mind sets me apart from respectable Society, or to the compelling domain of London below. Each has a man who has claimed my time as his—for good or for ill. Though as the corpses pile, and the treacherous waters of Society gossip churn, I am learning that each also has its dangers. One choice will see me cast from polite company . . . the other might just see me dead.

More About the Author

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 romances, steampunk adventures, crossover urban fantasy, and continues to write across multiple genres with mad glee. Her award winning steampunk series, The St. Croix Chronicles, is the RT Reviewers Choice Awards recipient for Best Steampunk Novel 2012.

One part glamour, one part dork and all imagination, Karina is also a gamer, an avid reader, a borderline hermit and an activist. She co-exists with a husband, a menagerie and a severe coffee habit. Visit her at www.karinacooper.com, because she says so.

Customer Reviews

I ended up reading both this one and the following book.
Kat L. Bates
I managed to read the entire book - but found I didn't like the main character very much so could not get interested in the rest of the story.
Susan M.
I can't wait to read the next book in what promises to be a great series.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lost in Denver on October 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was so close to actually being a 4-star read for me that I hate having to list it as a 2-star book. The things that were done well was that the author developed a very interesting primary character, as well as showing a talent for immersing the reader in the language and ambiance that the steampunk genre seems to require without losing the reader in the process. I've read some steampunk books where the author spent so much time trying to make every character sound authentic (as well as over describing the environment to the point of lunacy) while he/she winds up just making the book incredibly hard to read. This book is just challenging enough in its use of steampunk, old English vernacular to be interesting without being annoying. And except for the poorly developed potential romances, most of this book was very intriguing and fun to read. And then . . . there was the last 25% of the book. At some point, the main character of Cherry St. Croix becomes completely useless, spending most of her time being kidnapped and rescued, with Cherry herself having little role in getting out of bad situations. I always dislike when you have a main character portrayed as being intelligent and tough yet never seems to be able to get him/herself out of any major mess. The ending of the book was confusing at first, then felt poorly executed and wholly unsatisfying. I went from "really looking forward to the next book" to "well, maybe I'll buy the next one if it's cheap" in that last part of the story.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Addicted2Heroines on June 26, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I first read the synopsis for Karina Cooper's Tarnished, my first response was "Dark, steampunk fantasy? Yes, please!". I'm a huge fan of dark urban fantasy and an equally large fan of stories with a steampunk element, so I had my expectations set on high and Cooper definitely delivers.

I admittedly have not previously read any of her stories, although I've always heard positive things about them. It's just another case of too many books and too little time. I always know there are talented authors out there and I plan to give them a try, but I don't always make it a priority and usually end up regretting it later. This is one of those occasions.

Cherry St. Croix is a somewhat tortured protagonist with a tragic past. Her deceased father's "madman" reputation stains her image in a society where image means everything, leaving her one mistake away from being cast away to the drift.

Although important pieces of Cherry's past remain unclear, the memories that she can recall are enough to hinder her sleeping and fuel the need for her opium and laudanum addictions.

Aside from Cherry herself, I found the drift to be one of the most appealing aspects of this novel. It's a dark and seedy underworld where the air is so filthy that it's hard to breathe and the fog is so thick that it's difficult to see. The characters who reside there are devious and territorial. It's not an ideal environment for a lady like Cherry St. Croix.

But when she sneaks away at night in her specially armored corset, protective goggles, and detachable respirator, she becomes someone else. A collector, hunting and investigating bounties for money.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MNix on July 12, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ms. Cherry St. Croix leads two separate lives. Among London's elite society she is a lady, but in the bowels of lower London she is a bounty hunter. Cherry struggles to reign in her scientific mind among London's upper crust for it is unseemly for a lady to be interested in such things. Yet, she also battles her urges while below. It seems dear Cherry has trouble fitting in anywhere but there are two men that catch her eye as she does theirs. When Cherry becomes embroiled in the latest murders happening below, only one of her men will be able to help her when she needs it most. Will it be the aristocrat or the circus rat?

Tarnished is the first book in Karina Cooper's St. Croix Chronicles. Ms. Cooper does an excellent job of taking the reader on this whimsically cool journey into the depths of her steampunk world. The descriptions are detailed and give you a grand view. This is both a plus and a minus in my opinion. While I enjoyed the picture created for me, there are times that the detailing of surroundings brought me out of the story. This story is truly focused on the leading lady Cherry. Yes, she has two suitors within Tarnished but I didn't feel the romance behind these men that I wanted. At times, there is a great deal of sexual tension but not enough to make me root for one man in particular. I simply had a hard time getting into this story. If you love steampunk and urban fantasy titles driven by one central character then you will probably enjoy Tarnished, but for me I need more romance.

Reviewed by Miranda
For Joyfully Reviewed
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Schweighauser on June 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved the writing and the world, but I loathed the way the story ended. The world is nuanced and fascinating. The descriptions of London Above and London Below are so well written that you can smell the air. Our heroine is a tough girl, former circus acrobat who 'collects' people for money. Cherry St. Croix regularly kidnaps men who are larger and stronger than she so she can collect the bounty on their heads. She is conflicted between the life she lives and the part society wants her to play. She is a rounded, three-dimensional character with strengths and flaws, hopes and dreams. Great heroine, right? I thought so for the majority of the book.

But half-way through the book Cherry becomes a helpless, two-dimensional Damsel in Distress[TM]. At the climax of the story, just where I was wondering 'how does she get out of this?' the author delivers a Deux Ex Machina solution that is both heavy handed and unbelievable. Nothing prior to this scene prepares you for the outcome. Cherry doesn't save herself - instead, she is saved in the most ludicrous plot-twist I've ever read. And I have read some bad, bad books.

I wanted to like this book, I really did. Even now I am tempted to buy the sequel just to see if things have improved. But once bitten, twice shy as they say.

This book had the potential to earn five stars. I'm so sorry that it fell short.
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