Series: The St. Croix Chronicles, #4
Published by Carina Press on February 10, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Steampunk, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 333 pages
Sexual Content: some semi graphic sex scenes
Reviewed by: Kristina
Book Four of The St. Croix Chronicles
Forced out of London's coal-blackened streets, Cherry St. Croix is faced with her most difficult undertaking yet: sobriety.
At long last, my guardian, the enigmatic Mr. Oliver Ashmore, has revealed himself—and his order is clear: I am to be dried out at once, regardless of my wishes.
I loathe the country estate I am imprisoned within. Footsteps follow me, voices call for me, and my sanity wavers. In my fevered dreams, I am haunted by those I failed, while waking proves no protection from the ghosts of my reckless past. The craving for laudanum plagues me. I require a distraction.
To unravel the alchemical mysteries of my mother's family, I must rely on Ashmore's tutelage. I am lured to the art and drawn by the secrets my guardian possesses. Yet the deeper I delve, the more I believe that something dreadful disturbs these haunted corridors. In my madness, I fear that what it wants most...is me.
Where the previous books in the St. Croix Chronicles were fast paced with danger and dangerous people lurking around every corner, TEMPERED deals with more internal battles and emotional trauma. Cherry has gone through so much externally dealing with the Veil and Society it felt fitting to have a story spend some time dealing with the internal effects of what happened to Cherry. A large portion of the book is dedicated to Cherry's addiction to opium, how she became an addict, and what she goes through mentally as she detoxes. Being familiar with detox from movies like TRAINSPOTTING which depict detox and a harrowing and scary thing to go through I think TEMPERED did an excellent job of depicting the paranoia and sickness Cherry feels.
In the midst of dealing with Cherry's addiction there is the mystery of her guardian and the large house she is trapped in. I loved the gothic horror aspect of TEMPERED where we have a dark, foreboding house with ghosts and dark secrets hidden within the walls. The house is almost its own character and it was thrilling to go exploring with Cherry as she opens doors in search of answers to just who her guardian, Ashmore really is and learn about her family's twisted past. When Cherry finally learns about how Ashmore is related to her family the plot becomes a sort of dark soap opera filled with betrayal and obsession. Along with the revelations and internal struggle there are some pretty steamy scenes between Cherry and Ashmore that after we find out more about Ashmore had me questioning her choices in regards to suitors.
TEMPERED also deals with a lot of alchemy and metaphysics which was really confusing but actually seeing the alchemy in action was pretty cool. With this much needed rest from the outside world I am looking forward to see what is in store for Cherry as she goes back to London, her friends, and the ever mysterious Hawke who seems to grow more mysterious and confusing with every new fact we learn about him.
- Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger