This is the complete steampunk fantasy novel - all four parts of the serial in one volume! Also includes bonus features not found in the episodes.
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.
©2014 Pauline Creeden (P)2015 Pauline Creeden
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.
All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com
The king’s youngest son has the uncanny ability to destroy mechanical horses with his mere presence. The king believes the boy is possessed, and if he can’t be cured, orders him killed. Raven Steele is the guilt-ridden outcast of a special society of assassins who must save not only the boy, but the kingdom from a much more insidious plot.
It is set in an alternate British reality where magic and automatons are as ubiquitous as ale. The Reapers, now outlawed by the king, are assassins whose code requires them to replace every life they take with a redeemed one. It is a heavy burden for the young Raven Steele, the only female Reaper, and one of the last of all Reapers still alive.
Chronicles of Steele is a blend of fantasy and steampunk science fiction. And for the most part it works quite well. The world is well laid out and believable within its own rules. Mechanical horses are faster and more reliable than living ones, airships (presumably dirigibles) transport people slowly but surely around the world. If you’re sick, you call a medical witch. It is just how this world works and it rings true for the listener.
The story and action move along at a steady pace. Though some listeners might feel a tedium from the constant inner complaining and self-recrimination of Raven from her past mistakes. It is important to the story, but just a little bit more often than needs repeating. Still, don’t let this small quirk keep you from a thoroughly entertaining novel. The plot does get a little carried away at the end, but that’s the point of fantasy.
The story is broken into four parts, which are all included here. They don’t differ enough to actually stand alone as books or novellas, so it is good the publisher didn’t separate them in the audiobook. The novel wraps up completely at its conclusion and doesn’t feel like an introduction to a sequel.
The story is read by Andrea Emmes who does an excellent job matching the mood and energy of the novel. She is good with characters and differentiates the voices well.
Because of the age of the female protagonist, Chronicles of Steele feels somewhat like a young adult fantasy novel, but crosses well enough into adult fiction that all listeners should enjoy it. Well worth a listen.
Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.
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Loved every bit of this audiobook and the narrator was fabulous. I first read the book and fell in love with the unique steampunk storyline, and when I found out it was turned into an audiobook, I had to listen to it. Wow!! The narrator brought one of my favorite stories to life!! I'm a huge fan of this author and narrator. Bringing these two together was a brilliant surprise for me. Raven Steele isn't your typical girl and she is a reaper by trade. When she decides to finally give up her profession, that's when she lands into more situations than she ever knew. She is tough, kind and loving which she doesn't even see, but everyone who comes into her life can see it. This story will take you on an action packed journey with many twist and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is a must listen too audiobook!!!
When I discovered Audible it was like discovering love :-) I love receiving codes and in return I post reviews. Wife, and mom of two,
This is my first steampunk story to be honest. I'm really not exactly sure what the whole steampunk thing means but I do know this story was amazing. I won't be giving anything about the story away because I feel it ruins it for others. You can find out what you need to know by reading the excerpt to let you know if it interest you. I can tell you that it's a great story and it's worth listening to. I found the world where steel horses and guards unique and different. This story has witches, zeppelins, excitement, action, suspense, and so much more. Pauline Creeden builds a well written and descriptive YA steampunk novel. I don't care if you don't like YA stories because you think you're too old for YA because you'll love this story, I did, and if I can enjoy a YA novel then I know anyone can. I love Pauline Creeden's stories and I recommend you listen to each one she has on Audible.
Andrea Emmes did a magnificent job with her narration of the story. Although Karli wrote this story, Andrea gives this story apart of herself as well. When I hear Andrea do a story, well, I feel as if she puts her whole heart into telling it and giving the story apart of her. She blows me away with every story I've heard her narrate. Andrea does a superb job with distinguishing accents and voices for females and male characters. I must be honest and let you know if you've never heard Andrea tell a story then you're missing out and I must tell you that you really should listen to another story she's doe if you enjoyed this one Pauline Creeden doesn't swap narrators as she adds this series to Audible. I highly recommend that she stick with Andrea. I think it's always good to stick with the same narrator than swapping them. I think it ruins a great story when that's done. She has some amazing stories that she's done, including this one, but one that she does an extraordinary performance in is called Growl. I'm sorry but I had to throw that in there. I rate Chronicles of Steele a perfect 5 star story, a perfect 5 star performance, and overall, a 5 star rating!
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
"Great narration/okay story."
Mystical, action, adventure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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