Treasure Darkly (Book One of Treasure Chronicles) by Jordan Elizabeth
**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**
3 ½ stars!
Growing up with no father around and with a mother that is a Tarnished Silver, a prostitute in a small mining town called Tangled Wire, Clark Treasure does what he needs to get by – even if that means stealing from his mom’s clients now and then. But when he comes across a vial of what he believes to be Absinthe and he drinks it – he changes his future forever. Next thing he knows, his mom is killed, he figures out he can now raise the dead (or kill) with a simple touch, and the army is now looking for him like he’s enemy #1 as the substance he ingested was actually a serum the army owned to create the perfect soldier that could do just as Clark figured out he could do. On the run for his life, Clark turns to the only people he can think of – the Treasure family, to his father who spent a night with his mother 19 years prior, was unfaithful to his wife, and got Clark’s mom pregnant.
The family accepts him, given the letter and photo Clark has regarding his parentage – both Garth and Georgette Treasure give him a home along with their other children Jeremiah, Zachary, and Amethyst. No one knows the secret that Clark is keeping, that with a touch he can either bring or take life from someone. Clark sets out to get to know his family – however reluctant the boys are – his wild-spirited sister Amethyst makes up for it by trying to learn as much as she can about him…which includes following him around as she is extremely intrigued by him. But Clark has discovered another “power” from the substance he drank two years earlier – he can sometimes see spirits, and when Amethyst is kidnapped by a strange aircraft, it is Clark to her rescue, but not before a spirit tells Clark what the craft is. He feels this must just be a coincidence and is focused on helping to rescue his sister, but when Clark later finds out that the spirit is really his deceased father – an inventor named Eric Grisham, Clark is mystified that his attraction to his “sister” isn’t something to be ashamed of. Upon saving Amethyst from the evil land owner, the Horen family, Clark’s father explains that he wants Clark to liberate the inventions that are in the Horen’s possession that were stolen upon his murder by the family and are rightfully Clark’s. But on a fateful day, Amethyst is once again the victim of the Horen family – this time with a bullet to the heart. Clark restores her and is forced to trust her with his secrets. And when the two fall for each other, they are forced to keep their love a secret or be obligated to expose all they have learned.
This was my first steampunk novel and I really enjoyed how all of the inventions were described and created, all without having indoor plumbing in most homes. Clark was a strong and noble character, who has only ever wanted a family to call his own. Amethyst is wild and stong-willed – she is a perfect complement to Clark as she brings fun and excitement to his life. The rest of the Treasure family is the perfect balance of sophistication and grace in their accepting of Clark and everything he encompasses. My sole complaint was the format – there were multiple POV’s, and there was never a really clear change, other than a little marker between paragraphs. You had to be reading for a while to figure out whose prospective you were listening to, which it would have been nice to have made the separation and POV a little clearer. This was an enjoyable story that left readers on the edge of their seats with a cliff-hanger ending, and I am looking forward to seeing what else is in store for the Treasure/ Grisham family.