Gilded Hearts by Christine D’Abo (The Shadow Guild #1)

Gilded Hearts by Christine D'AboAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Paranormal Romance – Steampunk

Publisher: Forever Yours

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Pam

Samuel Hawkins, Sergeant in the King’s Sentry, has been called in to investigate a murder case. As he awaits the Archivists to arrive—the team who will use a special device to extract the memories of the dead man to help find clues to his murder—he never expects to come face to face with the woman he’d left behind when he’d fled the Archives five years earlier.

Piper Smith has grown from the girl Samuel remembered into a strong woman and full-fledged archivist. Shadowed by her mentor, Master Ryerson, Piper will be performing her first extraction. When she sees Samuel, she must push aside her childhood crush, else risk her standing within the Guild.

As the two begin working together to find the killer, Samuel and Piper explore their intense attraction to each other. But “Jack the Ripper” proves to be harder to catch than the two originally thought. What’s worse, they discover he may very well work for the Archives. Now, Samuel and Piper must battle internal and external threats as they try to foil a plot against the Crown and stop Jack the Ripper from taking his next victim.

Gilded Hearts is a fascinating Steampunk paranormal romance filled with an amazing, interesting world, a mystery to solve and romance. This is the first in the series, a world were Archivists take and store memories of the dead to help solve crimes, this one caught me from the beginning and kept me engrossed until the end.

Samuel Hawkins fled the Archivist facility five years ago and has built a successful life working for the King’s Sentry. He is a sergeant in the Sentry and is now investigating murders in New London. Not only was he an Archivist but he also has other interesting qualities, he can manipulate machines with his will and is empathic, which comes in handy while investigating killers. He had a horrific childhood while as an Archivist and does not relish working with the Archives Guild Master.

Piper Smith is younger than Sam but they were best of friends when he was still at the Guild, and she was heartbroken when he left, now that she sees him again Piper realizes she still feels the same way about him, and maybe something more. The serial murders of several women in the Whitechapel district has brought them together again, and they grow closer as they investigate, but the danger also grows as they believe the killer is someone close, maybe someone from the Archives that they both know.

A truly unique world where machines are an intricate part of everyday life and the world is ruled by companies and kingdoms. It is a dark story but I really enjoyed the premise, those with a special talent are taken from their home and trained to extract memories from the dead and use them to solve crimes. More interesting is that you would think these Archivists are thought of highly in the community but they are not, they are shunned and most call them Zombies. They are also not treated well in their own guild; the Guild Master is a strange man who is abusive and a hard task master and there is a lot of secrecy within.

As in most books with different settings, there is a lot of world building and sometimes it was a bit confusing, but overall the story is well done and the ending comes together nicely. I really like both Sam and Piper, he is hurting, not only from living a nightmare while with the Archivist but also the reason why he ran. The romance is a side note but the author does a great job of working it into the story and I liked that the ending is a true HEA and everything is wrapped up.

Gilded Hearts’ pace is fast from the beginning and does not let up as they try to solve a gruesome serial murder mystery. I enjoyed several of the secondary characters, Emmet is another Archivist who will be the main interest in the next book in the series and Timmons, who is Sam’s partner, are both instrumental in finding the killer and help complete the story. This is a great start to an intriguing series that I am looking forward to continuing, and as a side note, I love the author’s twist on history.

I give Gilded Hearts by Christine D’Abo 4.0 stars!

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