Apr 2, 2014

WIN a Google Chromecast + Review: Obsidian Eyes by @AWExley #steampunk


by A.W. Exley

Publication Date: March 24, 2014
Genre: YA Steampunk
Source: Received for free in exchange for an honest review

DeeJay's Rating
Well-written and fun!

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 ostracised by the girls and stalked by a Scottish lord intent on learning why she is among them.

She begins to suspect why she is at the school 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.

Used to relying on herself, Allie must cross the guild-noble divide to keep Zeb safe and stop the weapon falling into the wrong hands. However, the guilds want the device and she is caught in their trap.

Once rescued from Newgate prison, now she must obey the overlord of the guild and deliver up her friend or he will return her to the gallows. Can she trust her new bonds of friendship to save both their lives? (Goodreads)

I'll admit it up front. I'm going off of a bias here. I'm an A.W. Exley fan NO DOUBT...and that's the problem. I liked Obsidian Eyes, but my heart belongs to Exley's Artifact Hunters series. So yeah, I'm a little bit prejudiced.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this book. A.W. has some serious composition skills and reading anything she writes is always a pleasure. My issues with this book are strictly personal and have absolutely nothing to do with its execution.

First, I don't think I can take on another book that takes place solely in a school. For some reason, the teenaged drama that brews inside of a school just doesn't appeal to me anymore. It was the same old story: popular (noble) versus the unpopular (commoner/guild). I'm just not into that anymore.

OE's saving grace? The nineteenth-century setting. LOVED IT. Made dealing with teenagers actually bearable. I loved the fashion and especially, the mechanical inventions. Oh, Steampunk...why do I love thee so? And I have to credit A.W. for helping turn me into such a fangirl. I can even admit that some of the Steampunk elements were better in OE than in the Artifact Hunters series.

The plot was good. Interesting and complex but not so confusing where it didn't make sense. There's all kinds of military and political intrigue involved which makes for an exciting storyline. There was a really great plot twist I didn't see coming too. I laughed at myself because I should have. It was pretty obvious once I knew. Nevertheless, bravo for getting me, Exley :)

The characters. Loved Allie from the jump. She was spunky, a fighter, witty, and tough. She had a comeback for every insult and usually got the best of others way before they got the best of her. Jared, the love interest, was just okay. I liked him well enough, but I don't consider him special. He was just another rich boy who falls for the underprivileged girl, if Allie can even be considered that. Honestly, her life was way more appealing than his or any of the other nobles'. I wanted to stab Jared's noble ass fiancee (YES! Fiancee) right between the eyes a few times for being such a snooty witch to Allie. Like, literally...right between the eyes. I don't think Jared would have cared much. It was one of those arranged marriage situations and once Allie entered the picture, he wanted out of it. Good for him. That broad was intolerable.

Side characters. Eloise, Allie's noble roommate who was also an outcast, was awesome and quite hilarious (she reanimated dead animals FOR FUN–Go Figure). Zeb was the resident tech geek and also quite hilarious. He had absolutely no idea how hilarious he was without meaning to be so. Duncan, Jared's cousin, was also quite amazing and fun. He was such a flirt, and almost had more chemistry with Allie than Jared did. Almost.

There was some action in this book, but again, I was a bit underwhelmed in this area. With Steampunk, I just have this high expectation for action and adventure. In Exley's other series, satisfaction is guaranteed. I just hope the rest of this series turns out to be the same. There are definitely more books to come even though there is no series name yet as far as I know. So BEWARE! This book sort of ends on an abrupt cliffhanger. But it's a good one. One that'll have you anxious for the next book.

Recommend? Yeah, I do. Despite my personal issues, this is still a good book. If you like your heroines strong-willed and your book boyfriends rich, handsome and protective, then this is the book for you!

Amazon  |  B&N

About A.W. Exley

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.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads



  1. I'm not even sure what a Google Chromecast is, but I think I need one. :)

    1. Ha! It's actually really cool. It's like a thumb drive you can put music and video on and plug into the HDMI port on your TV and watch/listen from there. So yes, I also need one of these in my life, lol.

  2. I def. love the sounds of Allie! I wish I had quick wit when it came to insults I only think of great comebacks much after the fact and it's so annoying! haha. Great review, Diantha! :)

  3. Thanks DJ, I always look forward to your reviews and appreciate the time you put into them. Where do you find the time? I reckon you must have a special coffee blend! lol I've had my detour and now I need to get back to books 3 & 4 of the Artifact Hunters ;)

    1. You're very welcome! I always enjoy your books so it's a real easy decision at this point to be like, yes, I'll review it! I'm excited for the next Artifact Hunters book :)


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