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review 2018-10-18 15:38
Review: Chronicles of Steele- Raven by Pauline Creeden

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.

 

***Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***

We're introduced to Raven as she's saving the duke's youngest son from drowning, only to be arrested once her identity is revealed. Seems Reapers have been outlawed for about a half a generation, but the duke's eldest son has need of her services. She's to protect his nine year old younger brother, who may or may not be possessed by a demon, from their father who wants the boy dead. Hot on the trail of Raven and young Darius are the very guards who arrested her after rescuing the boy, led by Captain Jack Grant- who's grudging respect for Raven's skills and his own innate decency clash with his duty to the duke. Along the way they'll both discover more layers to their respective missions than they imagined and things aren't always what they seem.

Reapers aren't magical warriors- just highly trained and disciplined ones usually able to find something within any situation to turn to an advantage. In order to avoid descending into sociopathy they've adopted a mantra that all life is sacred and whenever they take one they must then save another, redeeming themselves by striking a balance- much like the axiom 'the life you save will be your own'. I also liked how the author weaved bits of personality and characterization into things- such as a reaper lamenting the lack of discipline in this new generation of wannabes who abandon the training once it becomes difficult. Art imitating Life.

Raven's past is a bit mysterious, of course, and remained so at the end of the book. Bits and pieces of her history were doled out during the story, revealing her character and her motivations. Jack Grant wasn't as developed as he could've been and the romance seemed forced as suddenly they're in love with each other. Whatever happened to liking someone/being interested and just wanting to see where it goes?

There's plenty of action and angst to feed your head, but the world needs fleshing out in order to get a clearer grasp of what's going on. The main problem I had was the sudden switches of POV. One moment Raven's upstairs about to confront a witch, next sentence Jack's charging up the steps and finding Raven laid out due to the witch's magic. Things like this kept happening so much I had to re-read several passages a couple times to make sure I had things straight before continuing.

The extras included are an excerpt about young Darius- whom will soon receive his own story- some pointers about writing from the author and the author's thoughts on what Steampunk is and why it should appeal to female readers.

This is a fast, fun read with a couple of twists to it. Pauline Creeden's crafted a nifty tale that teases you with future potential but needs fleshing out and more backstory. Enjoy.

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review 2015-11-22 21:56
Chronicles of Steel by Pauline Creeden
Chronicles of Steele: Raven: The Complete Story - 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.

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review 2015-06-01 19:21
Novella book two
Survivor: A Sanctuary Novella (Sanctuary End Times Series Book 2) - Pauline Creeden

I received this book as part of a blog tour to give an honest review.

I really enjoyed Sanctuary and if you haven't read it yet then I say get your copy. In book one we are introduced to the aliens that have taken over and people have been turned into zombies. In A Sanctuary we are introduced to Rory and his friends and neighbors. They all live in an apartment complex where when the Shisa come by they have to block all windows and be quiet so they don't see them. While living with others Rory and his friend go through apartments to find food and water. Water is the main thing they need because you can not drink the water out of the taps it has been tainted. When it is decided to go on a run it isn't all easy peasy things are going to happen along the way and it makes you wonder if those in the apartment are going to live, get out and find help or just end up dying there. I did like this book and it is a quick book you can read in one sitting, there is mention of the aliens and zombies but it is mostly about the survival of a group of people and what they need to do to survive in this new world. There is a big cliff hanger in this one so I just hope book three is going to come quickly so we can see who makes it and who doesn'

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review 2015-03-03 00:00
Raven
Raven - Pauline Creeden This is a young adult steampunk fantasy about a girl named Raven. She was trained by her father to be a reaper. I don't remember the book actually giving a definition of what a reaper is, but from the information given, I understood it to be a type of guardian. The reapers have fighting and survival skills way beyond that of the average person. I believe traditionally they were suppose to be protectors to the people. Also reapers are suppose to follow a code in order to try to maintain a balance. If they take a life, they must save a life. Raven still lives by the code, but many of her fellow reapers have become mercenaries to the wealthy royal families."It's a state of mind. Some people loathe the act of killing a person at first, but as they continue to do it, it can feel like a game. They can begin to feel superior, like the winner of the game. But, if the reaper has to save a life for every life they take, it keeps them humble. It's a matter of subservience so the reaper doesn't begin to think himself as stronger than he is."
Several of the characters in the story are corrupt, not just the reapers. There are the royals and their lies. Also the book contains witches. There is a correlation in the writing in that the characters who wholly give in to power have negative effects. One example is when the witch uses magic, she ages."Magic comes at a cost most are unwilling to pay."
The actual storyline is about a boy from the royal family who is set to be killed. Raven's mission is to keep him alive. The plot follows them through all their trials. They're hunted while on the run and come across automatons, huge spiders, solders and much more.

I believe this is the perfect story for the intended younger audience.

3.5 stars





***Copy given in exchange for an honest review***














FULL REVIEW CAN BE FOUND AT http://fangirlmomentsandmytwocents.blogspot.com/2015/03/chronicles-of-steele-raven-by-pauline.html
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review 2015-02-10 08:28
Raven
Chronicles of Steele: Raven: The Complete Story - Pauline Creeden

Trained by her father to become some kind of assassin, a Reaper, hunted down by the other Reapers, Raven has learned to fend for herself at a young age. But taking lives comes at a price. For every life that's taken she has to redeem and save another life. So, when she's asked to take the baron's younger brother, Darius, to the wood witch as a last means of saving him, it seems like a good way to redeem herself for Raven.

 

This was an interesting mix between steampunk and fantasy, that included Zeppelins and mechanical horses but also witches. The start was slow and it took me quite some time to get into the story, but near the end I wanted to know how it was going to end. Though a bit predictable at times, it didn't really disappoint.

 

The romance plot was unnecessary and not that original either. I'm not such a fan of switching POVs and the fact that another POV will be added in the next book makes I'm not completely sure I will continue this series. But I'll probably give it a try because I did enjoy myself with Raven.

 

Raven is the first book in the Chronicles of Steele. The second book will be called Darius.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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