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.
Synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Book: Raven Episode: 1
Series: Chronicles of Steele
Author: Pauline Creeden
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
Publisher: AltWit Press
Page Count: 57
Genre: Fantasy, Novella, Science Fiction
Cover Artist: Alchemy Book Covers
My Rating: ★★★★
Human life has value. The poor living in the gutter are 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.
The first episode of the Chronicles of Steele gives a delightful introduction to this four-part series. The full version can also be read here: Raven
Raven is a reaper, a trained assassin. For most of her life, she has known death all too well. However, she hasn’t become immune to it. For every death, a life must be saved, serving as a sort of “penance” to those who had died before. The deaths by her hands will forever stain her mind. Now that her record is “even,” she desires for a life of peace and quiet. But that time will not come because of a request made by a Baron to watch over his sick younger brother. In her attempts to escape the life she knew before, she finds herself being sucked back in.
This story hits the ground running, giving no time for the reader to ease into the story (which is good!) The pace continues to move quickly, flowing from one scene to the next. Steampunk elements sprinkle the plot, adding unique a modern twists to the tale. Need I mention the metal horses?
A few minor set-backs for me liking this story more were the lack of description and physical details of the characters and is a bit predictable.
Overall, it’s verbally clean, action-packed, and has some meaning and purpose! It’s a fun and quick read. There is some violence, but nothing too graphic.
“In battle, decisions must be made quickly. One’s wit must be sharp or death is certain. Outside of battle, take one’s time in deliberation. The wrong choice in life can kill as well.”
“The pistol is an idiot’s weapon. One does not need to be faster than a bullet. One only needs to be smarter than the one who holds the gun. Distance, a moving target, light, and the gun handler’s fear can all be used against him. Outsmart the idiot.”
“Fear is not the enemy. The enemy’s fear is a great weapon. It will cause him to make poor decisions. One’s fear will do the same unless it is embraced. If fear is vanquished, it will quicken one’s senses and increase strength.”
“A mistake learned from is an experience. A failure is when you learn nothing from your mistake.”