Series: Obsidian Eyes #1
Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: March 24, 2014
Publisher: Curiosity Quills
Page Count: 278
Format: Digital ARC
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Amazon~Barnes & Nobles~Goodreads
Synopsis: 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 why she is at the school 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.
Used to relying on herself, Allie must cross the guild-noble divide to keep Zeb safe and stop the weapon falling into the wrong hands. However, the guilds want the device and she is caught in their trap.
Once rescued from Newgate prison, now she must obey the overlord of the guild and deliver up her friend or he will return her to the gallows. Can she trust her new bonds of friendship to save both their lives?
About the Author: Website~Twitter~Facebook~Goodreads
I just want to say something and get it out of the way before I start this review. I freaking LOVED Pbsidian Eyes. *flails* #thefeels all that good stuff you would usually put in a tweet to express your inexplicable love for a book.
Anyway, as you may know, I sign up for A LOT of blog tours, and sometimes life gets in the way, and I'm not able to read and review the book by my date, or I don't like it enough to give it a rating if 3 stars or above. I had actually pondered telling Giselle (Xpresso Book Tours coordinator) that I couldn't participate in this tour. I am sure as heck glad I didn't do that now.
How about u let you in on a little secret? I have never read a steampunk book before. When I was asked what steampunk meant, I had absolutely no clue as to what to tell say.
The urban dictionary says it's "A sub genre of speculative fiction usually set in an anachronistic Victorian setting, including science fiction, fantasy, and horror"
Anyway, part of my love for this book is dedicated to the fact that I had never read anything even remotely like this. Yes, there has been the occasionally urban fantasy that's setting was weird, a historical fiction with advance technology, and so forth. But I have never read ANYTHING like Obsidian Eyes.
One of the largest aspects of this book that I enjoyed were the quotes. I think we all know by now that quotes can make or break the rating and my overall opinion of a book. Obsidian Eyes's unique writing style and voice was presented from the very first sentence, and I knew I was in for a treat. You know how I usually have maybe 10 highlights in an e-Copy, a few annotations, etc? I kid you not, I had more than 3 dozen quote highlights alone for this book. Exley's writing was so poetic and euphonium without being the kind of language stuffy English professors use. It's artistic, and beautiful, yet humorous and thrilling.
Jared and Allie's romance is one of the most well crafted I have seen in a long time. There was insta-attraction, but because of boundaries, rules, and more that stood between them, their romantic involvement had to slowly develop and brew. Jared was #swoonworthy and my new book boyfriend. It is so easy to have a first impression of him. Read two sentences and you think you know exactly who he is. On the contrary, it takes time to get to know the layered person he is. You think he is an arrogant, intelligent, Multi-skilled, talented.....you understand my point. But both Allie and the readers find out that he is so much more. Allie definitely held onto her self-respect and didn't go running into his arms like some helpless girl that needs a man to protect her (if anything! she would be protecting the man). She was conscious of her actions, decisions, and thoughts, and was aware that Jared could easily play and break her. Yet, she didn't submit to him, and they were evenly matched in all controllable aspects. When Exley wrote the scenes between the two, the passion they had for each other resonates off of the page. They were strangely erotic, without being graphic in the slightest.
The premise of this book was extraordinary. Exley weaves in the conflicts of upper and lower social classes, underground organizations, 20th century women being strong and independent, ancient Egypt, and much more. There were the guilds consisting of the Runners, Whisperers, Grim Repaers, and Skin Dancers that all have a role to play in this world that is so familiar, yet different compared to our own. There is advanced machinery playing key roles in the plots fuel. There's this.....There's that. An endless amount of threads that make up the tapestry of this truly fantastic novel.
I only had two issues with the entire story. The first, was how unfulfilled I felt at the ending. It was obvious that there would be a sequel (that I have to wait over a year for!), but almsot everything had fallen in to place. The second, was that Allie's best friend, Eloise didn't get the attention of the guy she liked. I know the entire time, I've been saying how independent and strong Allie was, and how she didn't need a man, but Eloise was so lovestruck for Zeb that I was dissapointed when they didn't end up together in the end of book one.
Conclusion: This was one of the best books I have read in 2014. The writing was crafted like slowly churned butter, the romance was like swordplay, the premise was original, and the story itself was phrenomenal.