Piper Smith is an Archivist, a person who takes the memories of the dead for information that they hold and store them in the vast Archives under New London. In Gilded Hearts by Christine D’Abo, Piper’s first assignment is more difficult than she ever imagines it would be, not only is she taking the memory of a woman murdered by Jack the Ripper, but the Sergeant working the case is Samuel Hawkins, the only man to ever leave the Archivists training, taking her heart with him.
Sergeant Samuel Hawkins has worked hard to leave the Archives behind him, disagreeing with their methods and the cost to the individual Archivists. When Piper starts working the case with him he will have to balance his feelings for Piper against the differences separating them. But as the clues to whom Jack the Ripper is and why he is on a killing spree start leading back the Archives, is Piper safe from becoming the next victim?
D’Abo’s Steampunk world is intriguing and different. Set after a war with France has caused damaged to England (a nuclear type war), the government has undertaken to store all the memories of important figures, or those connected to crimes, especially violent crimes. But those who extract the memories into their own heads must have those memories wiped or they would go crazy with a set of memories that aren’t their own, after so many wipes they start affecting the memory and personality of that individual. I loved the machines inhabiting Gilded Hearts, they are super fascinating and an interesting mix of contemporary machines and fantasy creations. Piper was a great heroine: strong, loyal yet with a believable need to be loved and to create her own family unit with those around her. Sam was a little harder to like, having run from the Archives, you get flashes of his memories of what happened sprinkled throughout Gilded Hearts but don’t know the whole story until the end. This take on the Jack the Ripper story was interesting but, as a reader, be prepared because the memories of the prostitutes are just that, memories of prostitutes. There is also some use of the “F’ word. D’Abo’s secondary characters are fabulous, a good supporting cast and I have to admit I would love to spend more time with and get the back story of David and his very interesting female butler Aiko. Overall, Gilded Hearts was a great read if a little on the dark side.
You can read an excerpt here.
Shadow Guild Reading Order:
Title: Gilded Hearts
Author: Christine D’Abo
Format: Paperback, eBook
Page Nos.: 384
Publisher: Forever Yours (Grand Central)
Release Date: January 2014
Available for purchase: Amazon
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.