TREASURE DARKLY by Jordan Elizabeth
Verdict: A western romance. Doesn't look like it, does it?
Seventeen-year-old Clark Treasure assumes the drink he stole off the captain is absinthe…until the chemicals in the liquid give him the ability to awaken the dead. A great invention for creating perfect soldiers, yes, but Clark wants to live as a miner, not a slave to the army—or the deceased. On the run, Clark turns to his estranged, mining tycoon father for help. The Treasures welcome Clark with open arms, so he jumps at the chance to help them protect their ranch against Senator Horan, a man who hates anyone more powerful than he.
Sixteen-year-old Amethyst Treasure loathes the idea of spending the summer away from her bustling city life to rot on her father’s ranch, but when a handsome young man shows up claiming to be her secret half-brother, her curiosity is piqued. He’s clever, street smart, and has no qualms jumping into the brawl between the Treasures and Horans. Caught in the middle, Horan kidnaps Amethyst, and all she gets is this lousy bullet through her heart.
When Clark brings her back to life, however, the real action starts, and Amethyst joins him in his fight against the Horan clan—whatever the cost. Defeating the Horans may seem easy at first, but going up against men with the same fighting vengeance as Clark, and a Senator with power he’s obtained by brainwashing the masses? Well, Amethyst’s boring summer at home has turned into an adventure on the run, chock full of intrigue, danger, love, and a mysterious boy named Clark.
To all potential readers: The cover might be beautiful, but that mysterious girl doesn’t capture the likeness of anyone I’ve read about. This is also primarily a western romance, not steampunk, action, mystery, or anything else you might be hoping for.
It started strong with intriguing concepts, relatable characters, and a prose that pulled me in. There’s a lot to enjoy in this story, especially towards the start, but the longer it went on the less invested I felt.
A lot of what spurred me to read this book – necromancy, wanted by the army, warring clans - was actually fairly irrelevant to the overall story. I almost forgot it was supposed to be steampunk until a devise was mentioned with ‘steam’ in front of it, like steamcycle instead of motorcycle. It’s a little disappointing when you can tweak away the genre.
As the blurb states, Clark gains the ability to bring people back to life, but he also has a ten minute gap afterwards where he can take a life. He also has a perfectly working gun... I can’t say I fully understood it. I wanted to know how he discovered this side effect of his power, how it worked, and how he knew it had such a tight deadline to abide by, but alas it was never used. I have no idea why it was mentioned.
Clark is instantly likable, as a modest survivor who’s just thankful to be alive. Amethyst on the other hand is a character that will probably grate on a lot of readers, but I found her entertaining to read. She’s spoilt, attention seeking, and enjoys flirting, including with her new half-brother, Clark. I’m not a fan of half-sibling romances. I found it just as peculiar yet predictable in this novel as I did in the Mortal Instruments series. Maybe it’s because I’ve never fancied any of my family members before, but it’s also somewhat due to the amount of times the author wrote something along the lines of, ‘Bloody gears, I can’t think about my sister like that’. The repetition irked me just as much as the persistent flirting.
As well as repetitive phrases, the plot was repetitive before it grinded to a halt. All I’ll say is Amethyst reminded of a yoyo. But as soon as she stopped being a yoyo, nothing else happened. Okay, so they went camping, talked about garden designs, and threw a party, but nothing interesting happened. The romance overshadowed the plot to the point it can barely be categorised as anything else.
I just wasn’t expecting this to be a straightforward romance novel. I thought there’d be quirky inventions, an overarching plot involving the main villain for more than just a cameo role, and at least one original and clever situation for Clark to use his skill.
The book is very different from the one first painted in the opening chapters. If you’re looking for a paranormal romance set in a non-standard western, then hop on in. It’s not a bad book, but it just wasn’t what I hoped for.