Review: Transmuted by Karina Cooper

Transmuted

Series: The St Croix Chronicles #6

This edition: NetGalley ARC

Publication: January 26th 2015, by Carina Press (ebook only)

My rating: 5/5

NOTE: some vague(ish) plot/series spoilers below!

Synopsis:

In this final installment of Cherry St. Croix’s adventures, only one thing could compel the disgraced countess to return to Society—the threat of immortality.

All is not peaceful in the wake of the Midnight Menagerie’s ruin. Although the Karakash Veil has been forced to flee its stronghold, the mysterious head of the criminal organization is not content to fade away.

Above the foggy drift, a priceless diamond vanishes. In the dangerous Underground, a murderous rampage demands retribution. The hunt for the mastermind behind these misdeeds sends me back to Society—and into the unforgiving embrace of the world I’d left behind.

Nothing is what it seems. Enemies, allies—and a man who struggles with a nature even devotion cannot tame. Torn between the scars of the past and fragile new beginnings, I must create balance in the world I have chosen—and with the people I have come to love. The game has changed; should the Veil achieve the immortality it craves, I will have nowhere left to run.

*Deep breath* This is it, folks. *Grabs tissues* The end of the line. *Dabs at eyes* And what a journey… *Sobs*

*Starts again*

So, yes. In just a few days it will officially be time to bid farewell to one of my favourite urban fantasy series, and one of my favourite casts of characters with it. And damned if Karina Cooper isn’t seeing it done in style.

The final volume in The St Croix Chronicles is by far the best read yet, which is only fitting for a finale. One seven hour reading binge (broken only by the need to sleep) can testify to how easily, and utterly, I fell into this book. I have waited all series long for that experience, and it paid off tremendously. I was shocked, intrigued, overjoyed and heartbroken, and here at the end I can only say that I’m nothing short of satisfied across the board.

Though I may never forgive Cooper for the heartbroken thing.

It’s been noted that before I actually picked up the first book and settled down with this series, I’d mistaken it for something more akin to paranormal romance than urban fantasy – and while I’d say elements of PNR are definitely present, they’re far from being the focus. This is, all told, a story about relationships – but why focus on one when you’ve got a whole family to build? That’s the real bedrock of this story, and I loved seeing it unfold. Cherry has had to go through hell to figure out where she belongs in the world, but however dark the world got she was never in it alone. There’s a message in there somewhere, isn’t there…

On the other hand, this may not have been a flag-waving paranormal romance, but let’s not lie – there is a romance here, even if there isn’t much swooning and fainting involved…

Oh, Hawke. Goodness. *Fans self* I admit, if I was going to take on insane supernatural villains with mad dreams of immortality, I might well consider it for someone like him too. The button-pushing. Cooper does it well. Ahem.

Admittedly, Hawke and Cherry probably caused a lot of their own trouble just on account of not being able to leave each other alone – but then if they’d done that, we’d have much less here to talk about. I love to read about relationships that are actually about forming a partnership and not just about swooning and fainting and ohnoImustn’t, and for all that they butt heads and take FOREVER to actually ‘get’ one another (so to speak) … with these two, it’s worth it. I bought it. All of it. Would buy again.

And the finale. As with the book in general, if you’re going to spend six volumes building up to something, it’s got to be worth it. It’s got to be Big. And again, Cooper nails it. The spectacle playing out in my mental theatre had me on the edge of my seat. There was nail-biting, there was actual yelling at certain people (SPOILER CHECK), and if I hadn’t been holding my Kindle at the time there would’ve been applause.

In the build-up, though, there was also the aforementioned heartbroken-ness. Now here, I can’t say very much because I refuse to spoil things, but … well, this wouldn’t be much of a finale if absolutely everything came up rainbows, would it? And indeed, it doesn’t…

Just trust me. If you’re as invested in this story as I’ve been, you’re going to need tissues.

Damn it, Cooper.

Okay, so, in conclusion… Buy these books. And if you’ve bought these books and are going to buy this one, clear your schedule for a day. Evidence suggests you’ll need it.

Best seven hours I’ve spent sitting still in a long time. Farewell, Cherry and company. You’ll be missed, but I’m bloody glad I didn’t miss out.

 

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