Format: Digital ARC
Release Date: September 23, 2013
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Carina Press
Hungry for vengeance, Cherry St. Croix is forced to the fog-ridden streets of Victorian London.
My rival, a collector of bounties like myself, has murdered one of my own. In consequence, I have been removed from my house, my staff, and all who would support me. I have nowhere else to turn, so I beg asylum within the Midnight Menagerie, London’s decadent pleasure garden.
Micajah Hawke’s dominance there will not tolerate my presence for long. I am fixated on revenge, but I walk a razor’s edge under his scrutiny His wicked power is not easily ignored, and I must not allow myself to submit—no matter how sweet the sacrifice.
Challenging my rival to a race is the only way to end this, no small task when the quarry is the murderous Jack the Ripper. As my enemies close in, I fear the consequences of this hunt. I am trapped between two killers, and what doesn’t kill me may leave its scars forever.
BRAINE: Hi Shelley! Finally we get to have you in our blog after the longest time! I'll try and make your visit as painless and pleasant as possible. So let's talk about Karina Cooper's CORRODED, book 3 of her St. Croix Chronicles. Before starting the novel, what were your #1 expectation?
SHELLEY: Hey B! It's awesome to be here! I think my main expectation was that Karina would finally reveal the person behind Cherry's main nemesis the Sweet Tooth Killer who has been dogging her for the past 2 books and driving me and her absolutely crazy. I just couldn't figure out who he was no matter how hard I tried to put the puzzle pieces together. Surprise!
BRAINE: Yeah, I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book, reading their "dance" was very suspenseful. Close to the reveal I was so scared because I know it's someone close to Cherry because of how well s/he knows her and can easily anticipate her moves. Were you surprised when Karina Cooper revealed Sweet Tooth Killer?
SHELLEY: YES! In a way it made perfect sense don't you think? Like you said, this person anticipated her every move. Who would know Cherry that well to predict how she would respond? Honestly, it could have been anyone that Cherry met along the way as a collector.
BRAINE: I felt sad when the identity of Sweet Tooth Killer was revealed. Cherry has lost so much and adding this person to the list is heartbreaking.
SHELLEY: Yes, there is no doubting that Cherry has lost a lot, especially now with this revelation. Horrible.
BRAINE: You and I are both in agreement, we want to hug Cherry! Damn! What do you think about her ordeal so far and what are your speculations moving forward?
SHELLEY: Yes, Cherry definitely needs a nice long vacation. The ending damn near killed me. I mean, I've been wanting to know more about Cherry's so called benefactor, and wham, Karina has him appear. I have hopes that he will help Cherry with her opium addiction, and maybe get back her back on her feet. I am very nervous about Cherry's future. Will she be able to continue as a collector? Will she face repercussions over her husbands death? Will his family, especially his brother, try to hold her hostage over his death? Like you said, it almost felt like as though the story arc ended, and it's time for Cherry to explore something new.
BRAINE: I thought of Job when I read that embarrassing and totally vicious chapter towards the end. Cherry's slate has been painfully cleared and I'm eager to see how she'll rebuild after this. Everything is in tatters! Talking about her addiction, I know you're a "Terrible Girl", doesn't she remind you of Chess a bit?
SHELLEY: That's an interesting comparison. Cherry's past is deep in being abandoned by her parent's deaths, ending up on the streets and forgotten for London Society who didn't much care for Mad St. Croix, and then ending up in Marceaux's Traveling Carnival where she struggled to survive and learned about opium. I suppose you could say that both Chess and Cherry choose to inebriate themselves in narcotics to keep the pain away. Yet, to me, Cherry's pain is more real. Cherry also doesn't have a drug dealer on speed dial as it were.
BRAINE: Hahaha! True and I agree with her traumatizing past and how that left her scarred but in a way I feel like Micajah Hawke is an enabler to an extent.
Let's talk about Micajah Hawke. Thanks for the Ch15 head's up BTW. Man, what was that?!
SHELLEY: Truth sister! I was panting the entire time. After all this back and forth between the two, Karina writes an epic chapter with everything that we could possibly want and have been waiting for. I'm so happy that she included this chapter and not kept up the tension between the two characters. I hope other readers will feel the same way we did while reading it.
BRAINE: Hawke disappointed me a little bit. Do you think they'll be able to work it out?
SHELLEY: Honestly, at this point, I am just not sure. Hawke really pissed me off in the end. Was he pushed into doing what he did in order to save his own skin by the Veil? Does he, in fact, actually care for Cherry or was Chapter 15 a mirage? So hard not to say more without spoiling the entire story for other readers. It all seemed to me to be a sort of breaking with the past, and moving towards a different future.
BRAINE: Ugh! I agree! That man is a fricking showman and a skilled ringmaster I don't know how his relationship with Cherry is going to be after. I think the man is gorgeous but after that show he put on towards the end, I think I'll hate Cherry a bit if she goes back to him.Now, I don't know if you feel the same way, but with the novella, CORRODED, and now this, I feel like one can get away reading CORRODED. The first chapter provided a quick summary of Tarnished and Gilded. I was speculating it might have something to do with KCooper changing pubs.
SHELLEY: The novella, The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway, did a good job of explaining to readers what made Cherry decide to become a collector. I agree that the first chapter was a decent enough introduction as to what happened in the previous books, but, I'm still a person who recommends that people start from the beginning and enjoy the ride. There is so much that happens, so many new and interesting characters who have come along and affected Cherry's life in either a good way or bad, that you would be remiss in just starting with CORRODED.
Karina's move away from Avon to Carina Press was interesting. Even the cover model changed to make Cherry look a bit younger than on Tarnished and Gilded. I think authors and publishers sometimes decide to cut ties if sales aren't what they expect, or if the author wants to continue writing about her character which I am happy to say that Karina is doing! See you in February!
Right now, I'm really grateful that she's still adding books to the series. I'd really hate it if we won't see anymore books. So overall, what would you rate CORRODED and how would you sum it up in 5 words or less?
BRAINE: So what's your star rating for CORRODED?
SHELLEY: I rated it 4 stars, but I wouldn't hesitate to bump it up another. Cherry really gets her just desert!
FROM THE INFAMOUS CHAPTER 15
"Say the word," was his reply, but there was no kindness in it.
"Beg me to let you run."
"Do you fear what you'll find, Countess?"
"Are you capable of gentlemanly behavior?"
"Beg me, Countess."
"Beg me," he said again, a low growl. "Beg me to defile you, Countess."
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