Obsidian Eyes by A.W. Exley
Published by: Curiosity Quills PressPublication date: March 24th 2014Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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 ostracized 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.
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I must admit that usually i don't fall many times before to dystopian/steam-punk genre, but as I saw Obsidian Eyes cover I just fell in love . It is so beautiful and I had to read the blurb and all the rest is history... I couldn't stop reading and I must sat that now I want to experience more from A.W. Exley books. The action and the imaginary world that she created and the way the characters seem to leap off from the pages is a real fun. Each character, situation, mechanical invention, and setting brings life to this story. They are all parts of a whole that has such depth and warmth and wonder to it.
The setting is Pre - Victorian England. Girls and guys didn't attend the same schools, and girls certainly didn't take calculus. actually there is a huge gender inequality and of curse boys and girls would never be left alone together without a chaperone. The Social gap is so wide that there would be no way, that commoners will permit to mix with the highest ranking classes (also at school). The nobles also, never give a dam about the poor and were very busy in plotting against princess Victoria (a woman ) to prevent her from being the next ruler of England.
Allie - a seventeen year old with a shadowy past and a very strong, no-nonsense, bad-ass main character. Our heroine had narrowly escaped with her own life, five years prior from , the cruelest prison in England, Newgate, then she used to live in a Harem in Egypt. As a member of one of the under world guilds, she love and has a talent for weapons and martial tactics. Allie was born into a world where loyalty to your own is the only thing that really keeps you from certain death. the under world of the four guilds- The Runners (thieves), The Skin Dancers (assassins), The Grim Reapers (war profiteers), or The Whisperers (spies).
When her poppa, a professor of history, found a job at one of the most prestigious, aristocratic, English boarding school, St Matthews Academy, all these above, would surely, makes her stand out. She will tell you that she is a girl who just happen to have some boundaries issues, especially, around some high noble-blooded personalities, who try to pick on her. A proud girl like her also won't not put her head down in front any male, not like all the females of her time.
Usually guild and nobles are tow different world that don't mix together and this why, Allie fears she's being used by her guild overlord to break a treaty between the guilds and the nobles.
In st. Matthews, Allie found areal companionship with an odd assortment of fellow students - Eloise, her ingenious roommate , who would love to go into biological studies [Dr. Frankenstein in the making? ;)], Zeb, a boy who's already finished school, who created interesting and funny mechanical creatures and helps his father with top-secret military projects, Zeb who is totally lost with his social skills, who can't see Eloise's affection for him, and the cousins Duncan and Jared McLaren, Scottish lords who seem interested in Allie for more than just the purpose of learning the guild secrets.
Jared, - the son of the Duke of Lothian, a his father is King Rab’s adviser. As the Marquis of Kerr, he is the one of the highest ranking nobles at school , even if he is a Scottish. He is asked to discover the truth behind Allie's attendance at St. Matthews by their martial tutor. Who also thought that sparring with her, is will improve their both skills. Jared discovered that he and Allie are both equal intellectually, and complementary in there other treats. They also, share the same heart desires, and all this will enhance their feeling to each other....
But....Oh! almost forget to mention a very important fact ! Jared's parent already contract him to another high blood noble, which mean that by the unwritten laws of the society, he totally not available to any other serious relationships. especially with any lowborn female. What he can do - he can flirt, but always he will has to return to his future fiance.
The book starts with Jared's perspective, focusing around him when first introducing the reader to Allie, and then it switches to Allie. Later in the book, we will get a few more glimpses of Jared's thoughts but they are rather brief. I would loved to see more of him. What made baffled about him - (a) his apparent choice of weapon, a katana instead of a more traditionally Scottish weapon such as the broadsword or a Scottish long sword. (b) his totally lake of involvement in preventing his future fiance Madeline's bulling of Allie.
all along, Allie and her friends she will unfurl the plot that might actually challenge her own personal morals and could change her view regarding that loyalty. It also can threaten her own life in the end.
Excerpt.Allie's heart pounded; an echo of her footsteps on the hard slate floor of the hallway. As a guild child she learned to wield a knife like noble girls learned needlepoint. Swords and throwing stars were her pianoforte and deportment classes. Her sparring partners were often boys, so why did this particular one make her pulse run faster than a bolting horse?
He had circled her with the easy grace of a dancer. His hair draped over his forehead, so black it bordered on blue, cut short on the nape but rangy in front, almost obscuring that pale grey gaze. Eyes so mesmerising she thought a wolf watched her. Pure predator looked out, assessing her weaknesses. Her skin burned under her tunic where his arms held her. The memory of his lips at her neck made a shiver pass down her body.A foolish reaction or worse, a deadly mistake. Her mind whirled as she traced her path to the girls' dormitory. She flung open the door to the room she shared and pressed it shut behind her. With short, quick movements she stripped off her loose cotton pants and kimono top and threw herself on the bed clad in just her chemise and knickers.Lying back she stared at the ceiling. Her roommate, Eloise, had painted an intricate sky scape during her long internment at the school. A dark blue night-time sky with constellations painted in swirls of gold and silver stared back at her. The walls were a forest of climbing vines fit to conceal Sleeping Beauty. Eloise was a genius with her hands whether painting, sewing, or dissecting wild life.Allie gathered her thoughts and calmed her mind, before she dressed for class. The colors over her head reminded her of the harem, where the walls were decorated with tiles painted in azure blue, startling orange, deep green, and sunshine yellow. The brilliant mosaics were a hard contrast to the lush silken drapes and velvet floor cushions so large she used to curl up on one, like a kitten in a lap."I wish you would stop killing my frogs!" The genius in question had stirred and risen from her bed only to find the lifeless amphibian on her desk."Stop reanimating them and I wouldn't have to," Allie countered, rolling over on to her stomach. "And to be fair I don't kill them, I just disconnect them. How can you sleep with their limbs twitching and jerking? It woke me up again this morning."
Books and writing have always been an enormous part of Anita’s life. She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.
Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.
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