Title: Obsidian Eyes
Author: A.W. Exley
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: March 24th 2014
Page Count: 264 pages
Age Rating: YA, NA, Adult (violence and vague sexual references)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Purchase: Amazon B&N
1836, a world of light and dark, noble and guild. The two spheres intersect when seventeen-year-old Allie Donovan is placed at the aristocratic St Matthews Academy. More at ease with a blade than a needle, she finds herself ostracised by the girls and stalked by a Scottish lord intent on learning why she is among them.
She begins to suspect the underlying reasons when soldiers arrive to see her friend, Zeb, a mechanical genius. On the hunt for answers she breaks into his underground laboratory. There, Allie discovers he is not just constructing sentient mechanical creatures, he is building a devastating new weapon for the military.
The guilds want the weapon and Allie is trapped by ties of blood. She must obey the overlord of the guild and deliver up her friend, unless she can rely on bonds of friendship, to save both their lives.
It’s 1836 and Allie Donovan is a new student at St Matthews Academy, an aristocratic English boarding school with a unique curriculum, where she doesn’t exactly fit in among the high born students. Allie is guild born, meaning she was born into one of the four guilds that make up society’s underworld: The Runners (thieves), Skin Dancers (assassins), Grim Reapers (war profiteers), or Whisperers (spies) – but she’s very tight lipped about which one it is she belongs to. Allie’s been sent to St. Matthews for a purpose – she just doesn’t know what that purpose is. In the meantime, she makes friends with her lovely roommate, Eloise, a girl with a taste for Frankenstein-ish experiments, Zeb, an inventor of living mechanical beasts, and a pair of Scottish Lords, one who makes her blood boil in both irritating and intriguing ways.
The world building in this book is really fantastic and vivid. I especially loved the clothing descriptions – one of my favorite things about Steampunk is the awesome outfits and I could really picture the amazing ones the writer put together for the characters here and it really helped to draw me in and visualize the story. I found the mechanical, political, and spy vs spy maneuverings to be a little bit hard to follow, but interesting all the same.
I really loved the main character, Allie. She’s tough and streetwise and a talented fighter – but at the same time she’s completely relatable as a regular teenage girl with family issues, a crush on a boy she thinks is out of her league, and a deep sense of loyalty to her friends. Her roommate/best friend, Eloise, is also a really fascinating mix of seemingly incongruent characteristics – she a girl who knows her fashion and can sew you up something gorgeous on the spot, but also loves to spend the majority of her time performing experiments with electricity on dead things ( I really loved this about her).
There’s a lot of intrigue and action in this book and a lot is left up in the air at the end, so I’m hoping there’s more books in the work because I really want to find out what happens. Overall, Obsidian Eyes is an intriguing story set in a well written Steampunk world and I would recommend it to lovers of Steampunk (of course) and strong-yet-vulnerable female characters that know their way around a dagger.
Caribou Coffee Obsidian – it’s a dark roast coffee that you can sip and marvel over all the different and intricately subtle flavors (it’s bittersweet and fruity and chocolatey and smooth and really one of the best dark roasts out there). It’s a perfect fit for some of the complex and interesting characters we see throughout Obsidian Eyes (still love me some sweet, fashionable girl who likes to experiment with dead things -so awesome)
Tour wide giveaway
- Giveaway: Obsidian Eyes by A.W. Exley (US/Canada) (yabookscentral.com)
- A diverse narrative (mrsbrownsbooks.wordpress.com)