The Shadow Guild Series:
Gilded Hearts: Samuel Hawkins and Piper Smith
Samuel Hawkins, Sergeant in the King’s Sentry, has been called in to investigate a murder case. As he awaits the Archivists to arrive—the team who will use a special device to extract the memories of the dead man to help find clues to his murder—he never expects to come face to face with the woman he’d left behind when he’d fled the Archives five years earlier.
Piper Smith has grown from the girl Samuel remembered into a strong woman and full-fledged archivist. Shadowed by her mentor, Master Ryerson, Piper will be performing her first extraction. When she sees Samuel, she must push aside her childhood crush, else risk her standing within the Guild.
As the two begin working together to find the killer, Samuel and Piper explore their intense attraction to each other. But “Jack the Ripper” proves to be harder to catch than the two originally thought. What’s worse, they discover he may very well work for the Archives. Now, Samuel and Piper must battle internal and external threats as they try to foil a plot against the Crown and stop Jack the Ripper from taking his next victim.
Gilded Hearts by Christine D’Abo is the first in her new erotic historical steampunk series. I’m a fan of Ms. D’Abo, in particular her Long Shots contemporary series so when I saw this book come up I was quick to grab it. In general, I not a huge fan of steampunk as in I don’t go purposefully looking for but I do enjoy it from time to time and I think this one was a decent effort into the Steampunk genre. The concept of the Archives is interesting and a different twist on things. It’s a little bit creepy, im not sure I would want my memories stored in a little glass vial for anyone to study but D’Abo did a decent job at not making it too creepy. As a whole with this book the world building could have been better, it got confusing in places, things mentioned and then forgotten about and it took me a while to get a grasp on this world but there is potential there and I hope that it gets better as the series moves on. Where I like Christine D’Abo is her characters. She tends to write flawed but likeable characters and this one is no different.
Samuel grew up in the Archives there wasn’t a time that he does not remember being there. He’s always had an affinity for machines, which branded him as different in the Archives. In the Archives different is not a good thing, Sam got beaten on a pretty regular basis. The only thing that seemed to make his living situation better was Piper, she came to the Archives as a young girl and decided that Sam was going to be her friend and didn’t look back, until that one night when Sam left her which she never quite recovered from. Something happened in the Archives that made Sam snap and he had to leave, he tried to take Piper with him but she refused to go. Sam was found on the streets and taken in and he worked his way up in the King’s Sentry. He is at a murder scene when he comes face to face with Piper again and all those feelings he set aside for her come rushing back stronger than ever. Sam is a bit of a runner, he ran from the Archives, more recently from Piper, even though he’s a bit of a runner he’s fiercely protective and obviously loves Piper so it was pretty easy to forgive his runner tendencies. As a character I did like Sam, he is intelligent, protective, quick witted and takes his job seriously. He doesn’t have many friends but those friends he does have mean the world to him. Piper on the other hand is sassy, strong willed and steady. She’s not one to run away but to forge forward even at her own peril. She has a mind of her own and isn’t going to let anyone think for her. She is also protective of those she loves and fiercely loyal. I think of the two, I liked Piper just a little bit more.
Overall, this book was pretty good. There were some twists and turns in the plot that kept things interesting. The characters were engaging and likeable. As previously mentioned there were some issues with the world building but by the end of the book I had a pretty good grasp on the world even with some of its issues. I am looking forward to seeing where this series goes and will more than likely be reading Quicksilver Soul the second book in this series which comes out in April of 2014.
*This copy was provided to me through NetGalley for an honest review. No other compensation was provided.