Human life has value.
The poor living in the gutter is 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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Pauline Creeden is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy. In her fiction, she creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.
Trained by her father to be a reaper after the loss of someone close to them, Raven has gone most of her life trusting no one but her father and the code of the reapers. ‘For every life taken a life must be redeemed.’ Working by herself since the death of her father Raven has finally repented for all the lives she took as an assassin. On the verge of telling her childhood friend and love, Gregory, that she is finished with reaping and ready to start a life with him when she is sidetracked when the young baron Darius’s carriage pulled by a polished brass automated horse looses control. After saving the young baron Raven is falsely arrested and brought back to the Duke’s Court. Afraid for his younger brothers life after a failed exorcism the sick Baron Solomon asks Raven to take his brother to the Wood Witch to cure his brother of his infliction so that in his passing their father, the Duke, wont sentence Darius to death.
Captain Jack Grant has sworn himself to the Duke. Following the motto that the Duke’s orders and rules come above all else. But from the first time he meets Raven something inside him makes him question everything in his world and he finds himself not only concerned for her but also wanting to help her succeed in her mission to protect and save Darius.
Not wanting to give away too much more of the story the rest of Raven is spent watching as Raven uses her reaper skills to keep Darius safe and kept away from the Duke’s guards that are chasing them after a false accusation from the Duke that Raven has kidnapped his young son. We see Raven struggle with the life that she has been taught and the feelings she is given by Darius and the others that accompany her. As they travel farther away from the Duke’s home in New Haven the world of steam punk gently starts to unfold and both Jack and Raven find themselves questioning who they thought they were and who they now are to each other.
When I finished this series I found myself saying out loud I’m so mad this book just ended! I don’t think there are words that can really say how Raven made me feel. This is the second story of Pauline Creeden’s that I have read and while I thought that her story Sanctuary was an amazing Raven blew that out of the water. Raven is a strong independent woman who proves herself not only as a warrior but as a woman struggling with her feelings. There is a bit of a love story but both characters know that there is something more important then discussing what they think they are feeling towards each other. This story made me feel an array of emotions; I could feel butterflies in the intimate moments between Jack and Raven, the sadness with Darius.
The only thing I can say that I didn’t get about this story was that there seemed to be a time-lapse of about a month while they were running and traveling and I didn’t feel like a months time had gone by but that didn’t change or affect the way that I felt about Raven.
This was an amazing story that left me wanting to know more about the characters and what was in store for their future. Chronicles of Steele Raven also solidified a place in my favorite authors for Pauline Creeden.