Tarnished  - Karina Cooper This review also posted at A Bookish Compulsion

I very much wanted to like this book, and in the end was saddened by disappointment. The entirety of this book seemed more of a set-up for future volumes than a story in and of itself. I also found the plot proposed by the cover blurb to be a bit misleading in regard to the personal goals of the protagonist. Instead of being motivated to gain funds for scientific experiments what we witness throughout the book is motivation spurned from an intense opium addiction; the money needed to buy more of this drug in its various forms. While I do not have a problem with this as a basis of motivation, and indeed it was even somewhat compelling thought this work, it was not the story I was lead to believe that I was going to read.

There were some strong elements to this book; the world itself I found truly fascinating. The idea of a steampunk world having air pollution is nothing new, but the concept of building up and having a London above the drift of smog, fog, and other unmentionables was intriguing, as was the societal split of above and below the drift. However, the sporadic integration of elements ranging from London fashion to scientific experiments to magic just didn’t gel for me.

Sadly, as I had to actually force myself to finish this book I can only give it two stars.