Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review: Chronicles of Steele: Raven


Chronicles of Steele: Raven
Pauline Creeden

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.

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My Review

In Chronicles of Steele: Raven, by Pauline Creeden, Raven Steele is a Reaper, a highly trained assassin and bodyguard who lives by a code of honor. Unfortunately, not all Reapers live by that code, making them all banished from New Haven. On her way through the city, she saves the life of Darius, the Duke’s younger son. Despite the ban against Reapers, the Duke’s older son hires Raven to protect Darius from his own father and take Darius to the Wood Witch to be cured of his peculiar condition. But Raven and Darius are hunted by the Duke’s guard.
Raven was a very interesting book. Many aspects were new to me and I enjoyed all of very much. For one, the term Reaper made me hesitant about the book at first, but when I realized it was merely an assassin-bodyguard, I accepted it as an appropriate term for Raven’s occupation.
I enjoyed the steampunk world Pauline Creeden created in Raven. From automated horses and Zeppelins to magnetic clothing and crossbows, this world captivated me. Before Raven, I had never read a book in the steampunk genre, only watched a few movies here and there. I love the unique spin on the Victorian era, the new inventions, and the sweet clothing styles. And Darius, with his destructive effect on machines, would surely have caused chaos on many occasions.
At the beginning of every chapter is a principle of teaching that Raven would have learned that corresponded to the chapter’s content. This insight into the things Raven and other trained fighters learn was interesting and might be helpful to relate to warriors in the real world.
The plot never rested long before more danger and action occurred. Because Raven was originally a series of four episodes, there were noticeable climaxes and cliffhangers leading into the next episodes. Each of the episodes was well written and distinct but they flowed together very well to create this completed book.
I appreciated the code of honor Raven and a few of the other Reapers followed. This code stresses the importance of human life by requiring those who follow it to save a life for every one they take. It was supposed to make them see the value of human life as well as humble them by making them realize they are not gods. It is also a kind of redemption. Raven eventually realized that only God can redeem her for the deaths she caused and take away the guilt but that saving a life was still important.
Overall, I Chronicles of Steele: Raven was a very interesting and insightful introduction to the world of steampunk.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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