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Tarnished (The St. Croix Chronicles #1)

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  801 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
“A wickedly wonderful storyteller.”
—Jocelynn Drake

“A brilliant new voice in paranormal romance.”
—Christina Dodd

Author Karina Cooper enthralls with her stunning new series, The St. Croix Chronicles. Cooper, whose haunting Dark Mission novels set a new standard for paranormal romance, carries readers into the shadows of a very different Victorian London, where science skirts
ebook, 384 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Avon
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(showing 1-30)
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Jacob Proffitt
Jan 14, 2013 Jacob Proffitt rated it did not like it
This book had a lot of problems, though the biggest isn't really clear until the end.

First off, addicts aren't charming, fun, or engaging as protagonists. And that isn't fixed by letting your protagonist only act the addict when it is interesting or useful to the story. Addictions have serious consequences and in this story, it seemed like Cherry's addiction only really mattered when it was convenient to the author to manipulate Cherry into some situation she wanted her to be in.

Second, that's a
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

After going through several (5 or more) steampunk novels last month I took a bit of a breather, only to be broken when I couldn't resist the synopsis for Cherry's first exploits and I am glad I did. Fun, easy and with a new outlook on alchemy and steampunkey (not to mention London!), Tarnished is a fun, entertaining read. The beginning novel of a new series blending steampunk, mystery and the paranormal, Karina Cooper delivers up the goods in her fi
Dec 09, 2012 Kara-karina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tarnished is a delicious appetiser which left me hungry for more. It introduces you to dark, gritty and very visual steampunk London where Cherry St. Croix leads a double life.

During days she is up above the black smog of London among the strange cluster of mansions for rich and privileged, bridges and air gondolas, designed by her father and lifted above the city to escape the contaminated air. During days she is Cherry St.Croix, an unconventional daughter of a mad scientist, forced to beh
Amanda The Book Slayer
3.5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. My biggest problem was the beginning seemed to be wordy and droned on. I understand that she needed to introduce the world but I became bogged down with it. At about the middle of the book the storyline picked up and I was hooked.

I love Micajah and can only hope things work out with him.

I have my suspicion of who the other collector is but will keep it to myself for now.

All I need now is to get my hands on the next book.
Jun 26, 2012 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tarnished Shines With Gritty Steampunk Fashion
She straddles two worlds, belonging to none. Daughter of an accused madman, Cherry St. Croix was orphaned at a young age, forced by circumstance and a keen instinct for survival into the life of a thief, a circus performer, and an opium addict. At the tender age of nine, she picked her first pocket. By fifteen, she had been pulled out of that life and thrust into another, just as ill-fitting.

Found by her guardian and set adrift in polite society, she
My name is Cherry St. Croix. I am a collector, one of the many who are employed to acquire, kill or investigate for bounties. My rules are simple: I don’t collect children, and I don’t murder for coin. Truth be told, I’ve never killed for any reason.

This book is one of the many reasons as to why I love Steampunk ! A perfect mix of Mystery , Gothic , horror , thrill , subtle humor , romance and obviously .. Steampunk , Tarnished takes the readers on a wild ride through the streets of Victorian
Catherine Wilson
Tried something different - new author (for me), new series (for her), with steampunk-ish grace notes. The blurbs for Karina Cooper’s new series, The St. Croix Chronicles, intrigued me. Here is a murder mystery in an alternative historical London with science fiction, horror and romance elements that push it into the Urban Fantasy - Steampunk realm. Sounds like a perfect summer read!

Cooper’s TARNISHED has a lot going for it. I liked the set-up; I liked a lot of the writing. I really liked author
Jess the Romanceaholic
This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.

Expected Release Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Avon
Author’s Website:
My Source for This Book: Edelweiss
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, St. Croix Chronicles
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy

I stayed up until past three in the morning, even knowing I had to get up at seven, in order to finish this book, because I couldn’t stand the thought of putting it down.
Carolyn F.
3 stars out of 5

This book started out super slow and it was hard for me to get into it. Then it turned around for a short time and I started enjoying it finally. Then it ended up full of Cherry being in these drugged states at the mercy of people she doesn't know whether to trust over and over again while she's still thinking she's some kind of bad ass. The bad guy who is really, really bad turns around and helps her. I hope she remembers what he has done in this first book because it sounds lik
Nicola O.
Apr 17, 2012 Nicola O. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm at a loss to review this without giving away huge, huge chunks of plot.

Tarnished sits well over the line in the Urban Fantasy section; there's no Happily Ever After to make it a candidate for Romance-- but there's no lack of sexy possibilities. I really liked it... my only issue is that it's a bit grisly in places; Cooper definitely brings some classic horror elements to this story. That's a preference of mine, not a problem with the story.

Moody, evocative, creative, surprising -- I loved i
I enjoyed the read to a point and am interested in reading the next book but there were many things that didn't add up for me, mainly regarding the heroine's motives and how she got away with the things she did.

This has Steampunk elements but isn't s Steampunk in the technical sense. This is a generous 3 star grade.

A more throughout review coming.
Christen *Goldilox And The Three Weres*
3.5 stars

Tarnished is the first in a new historical steampunk series by paranormal romance author Karina Cooper. This series veers away from the steamy romance of Cooper's other books into very different territory.

Set in an alternate turn-of-the-century London, the St. Croix Chronicles follows independent young woman Cherry as she navigates (read: avoids) society life, juggles the mild attention of two very different men, and leads a double life as a collector. Typically a man's job, a collector
*Rating* 3.0
*Genre* Steampunk


Tarnished, by Karina Cooper, is the first book in The St. Croix Chronicles. It is also the first book I have read from this author that was unknown to me until I found this on Edelweiss.

Tarnished is a steampunk/mystery/suspense novel that features 20 year old Cherry St. Croix. Cherry is the daughter of a genius, yet society believed him to truly be a madman especially since he died, along with his wife, in a fire of unknown determination. Cherry lives two sep
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

It’s a page-turning, action-packed steampunk murder mystery with even steamier romantic elements. It has a feisty lead character so it’s a perfect read for the fans of Gail Carriger – only it’s a bit darker.

About: Petite and feisty redheaded Cherry St. Croix is a bit tarnished. Orphaned at an early age, she is from an upper class family and lives comfortably with a variety of servants in her estate home - albeit as a ward to a never-present male benef
Dec 11, 2012 Mara rated it liked it
Tarnished has taken a bit of history and transformed in a very good alt-his.

But for all the intriguing world (and my love of London), Tarnished failed to grip me. Do not take me wrong, it's a book worth reading. Unfortunately I could not warm to the heroine and the plot had many, many cliché (plus, to be honest, a surprsing ending, albeit completely unfinished).

Cherri St Croix came out as a mystery and not in any good way. I understand that the upper/lower level London represented class. This
All Things Urban Fantasy
Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
One of my favorite approaches to worldbuilding is when an author takes an existing city like London and transforms it into something completely new. In TARNISHED, London has finally been consumed by its famous fog and pollution causing filthy and unhealthy living conditions for a great portion of Londoners. The upperclass have built communities a few miles above the fog where the air is clean (they even use gondolas to travel around on top of the fog). I had T
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

I’m a huge fan of Karina Cooper’s, so when news came that she would be starting a brand new Victorian London/steampunk/paranormal series, I was so there! Cherry St. Croix is the daughter of a genius, considered by many to be a madman, and stands to soon inherit the estate and holdings left to her by her late father. Not quite part of the peerage, yet still considered within polite society, Cherry is no lady, and I mean tha
I am a huge fan of steampunk novels so I was really excited to start this series. This ended up being just an okay investigative steampunk romance novel. I had some trouble engaging with the characters and the plot, but the world-building was intriguing.

On the surface this book had a number of things I love about steampunk series; the Victorian setting, interesting devices and a heroine that’s torn between the underworld and a glittering high society. Unfortunately all of this just kind of fell
She-Wolf Reads
I liked this book. I liked it a lot. From the unique setting of a London above and a London below, to a heroine that is complex and problematic, Tarnished has some very unique qualities that set it apart and make me interested in what happens next to its main protagonist, Cherry St. Croix.

The world Cooper created here is fantastic. This is a steampunk Victorian London where the city is divided in two – London above and London below. Due to industrial development, the polluting fog created by fac
Nov 05, 2015 BrokenMnemonic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, steampunk
On balance, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I liked the world-building within the novel in particular, with the division between upper and lower classes being even more visible than usual thanks to the homes of the rich literally being elevated above London on giant mechanical legs.

I struggled with Cherry St. Croix as a protagonist in some ways, because I wasn't certain if I was supposed to believe that her belief in her abilities was based on actual experience and development or a misplaced se
Jan 16, 2013 Visionary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

My first foray with Karina Cooper. Bittenbybooks brought her to my attention, and I seen the first book of her steampunk book was for 99 cents on kindle. So I decided to take a chance and read it.

This series is the third steampunk I read. I've read Delilah Dawsons and Meljean Brooks. And I like how eacy steampunk book is not the same. That each author has their own unique twist in the world.

Same with Karina. The world is so different from the other. The heroine leads a sort of double-life, wi
Feb 13, 2013 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
3.5 stars, I wanted to like this a whole lot more than I did. The setting and rich descriptiveness of a steampunk London both below and above 'the drift' didn't make up for characters that felt shallow to me.

While we get quite a bit of background on Cherry herself the rest of the people who surround her were curiously underdeveloped. There isn't much romance to keep things humming and the nature of the relationships she does have with the men in her life were disappointing, well with one except
Britt Marczak
Holy whoa.

I had a difficult time getting into this book, but once I got past that stumbling block and really settled into the book, I could only hold on and go for the ride with Cherry.

And boy, was it a ride. The entire cast of characters is AMAZING and so very rich. I, for one, swoon for the sweet tooth, the other big bad collector. (What does that say about me? Moving on...)

I also swoon for Hawke. And the earl. And Teddy. OH FINE. I love them all, for different reasons.

The world is absolutely
Feb 02, 2013 Beth rated it liked it
I really loved the next book in this series, which I did read first. Deciding to go back and read the series through the beginning, I purchased this book. I just couldn't get into it. The first 1/2 moved very slowly and did actually pick up mid stream but now judging it by book #2 I'm giving Tarnished 3 stars. I'm definitely glad I read it because I got the back ground I didn't realize I was missing.
Jun 09, 2015 Angela marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk, library, kindle
9 June 2015: $3.49 on Kindle
Mar 11, 2016 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit macabre, a bit sexy. Looking forward to the second book (mostly because I HAVE to know if my guesses are right).
Oct 19, 2016 Tamera rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this - another foray into steampunk, and the description sounded interesting. Cherry St Croix is living two lives. In London society, she is scorned as the "mad scientist's daughter", a woman waiting another year before she is old enough to inherit her deceased parents property and live an independant life free to debate and work in science. In the underground world, she is a collector, a bounty hunter for pay to the menagerie in Underground London. Her life is shady and ...more
Dangerous Romance Book Reviews
My name is Cherry St. Croix. Society would claim that I am a well-heeled miss with an unfortunate familial reputation. They've no idea of the truth of it. In my secret world, I hunt down vagrants, thieves . . . and now, a murderer. For a monster stalks London's streets, leaving a trail of mystery and murder below the fog.

Eager for coin to fuel my infatuations, I must decide where my attentions will turn: to my daylight world, where my scientific mind sets me apart from respectable Society, or to
Apr 19, 2012 Lisarenee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meet Cherry St. Croix

"My name is Cherry St. Croix. I am a collector, one of the many who are employed to acquire, kill or investigate for bounties. My rules are simple: I don't collect children, and I don't murder for coin. Truth be told, I've never killed for any reason...Many of the bounties I pulled from the collector's wall came from the Menagerie. They paid well and often."

Cherry St. Croix is leading a double life. A wealthy orphaned society Miss by day and a collector (bounty hunter) by ni
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A dark and dangerous hunt for a serial killer where magic and science clash in opium-laced perceptions.

Opening Sentence: I was nine years old when I picked my first pocket.

The Review:

Steampunk is a beautiful blend of the Victorian Era and Industrial Revolution: Tarnished takes this one step further. The London of this world is split into two distinct areas; above and below. The pollution and poverty was left on the ground when the movers and
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Tarnished (St. Croix Chronicles 1) 1 3 Aug 22, 2012 06:36AM  
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After writing happily ever afters for all of her friends in school, Karina Cooper eventually grew up (sort of), went to work in the real world (kind of), where she decided that making stuff up was way more fun (true!). She is the author of dark and sexy paranormal romance, steampunk urban fantasy, and writes across multiple genres with mad glee.

One part glamour, one part dork and all imagination,
More about Karina Cooper...

Other Books in the Series

The St. Croix Chronicles (6 books)
  • Gilded (The St. Croix Chronicles, #2)
  • Corroded (The St. Croix Chronicles, #3)
  • Tempered (The St. Croix Chronicles, #4)
  • Engraved (The St. Croix Chronicles, #5)
  • Transmuted (The St. Croix Chronicles, #6)

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