The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney

The Golden City, Book 1

Synopsis: For two years, Oriana Paredes has been a spy among the social elite of the Golden City, reporting back to her people, the sereia, sea folk banned from the city’s shores….

When her employer and only confidante decides to elope, Oriana agrees to accompany her to Paris. But before they can depart, the two women are abducted and left to drown. Trapped beneath the waves, Oriana’s heritage allows her to survive while she is forced to watch her only friend die.

Vowing vengeance, Oriana crosses paths with Duilio Ferreira—a police consultant who has been investigating the disappearance of a string of servants from the city’s wealthiest homes. Duilio also has a secret: He is a seer and his gifts have led him to Oriana.

Bound by their secrets, not trusting each other completely yet having no choice but to work together, Oriana and Duilio must expose a twisted plot of magic so dark that it could cause the very fabric of history to come undone….

Review: I did not know about the novel, but after seeing the cover of the second volume on a few blogs, I was curious to discover this story. The volume is part of the ROC Fantasy collection and it’s true that I wondered what it meant. Yes, because if we read carefully the synopsis, the story is more reminiscent of the urban fantasy genre than fantasy’s. And finally, I think I rather put novel in this first part. But the story takes place in the 1900s and features different creatures like sereia and selkies. All this could only please me! To discover a new era, all with sea creatures? Oh yes completely for me. And I can tell you that I had a great time with this first volume and I can not wait to read more now, especially after such a purpose!

Oriana is a young sereia, a kind of creature that can be compared to sirens, spying on behalf of her superiors in Golden City. For a long time, the beings of her kind do not have the right to go to the cities or they could end up with serious reprisals. Oriana is therefore hiding her best her condition (her hands, her body …). But while working as a companion for a girl of high society, she now considers her as a friend; they are both abducted and abandoned until they both drown. However, the skills of our young heroine allow her to escape without yet being able to save her friend. Oriana decides, against the orders she is receiving, to find the person responsible for the death of Isabel and to make him pay. Thus she will meet Duilio, a consultant for the police who is convinced she is the key of the murder investigation and that she can help him understand about the replica city that begins to appear in water. To help him and so he could help her in return, Oriana will become the companion of his mother and together they will try to understand what is really going on.

Several stories take place in the novel, and all are linked together in a surprising way. I was fascinated by all the events throughout the chapters, with this different world and the creatures that inhabit it. I always enormously appreciate to discover new species and to learn more about them and I must admit that the two types of creatures were really interesting. But in addition, we also have characters with amazing abilities and I’m very curious to know more about them.

Oriana is a heroine I loved to follow. She takes to heart her mission and really hopes to find the culprit behind all these crimes, even if it is difficult for her to manage her rebellion. She is a young woman who wants to take her destiny in hand, who will do anything to help her friends and who hopes to find someone she could trust. That’s how she discovers Duilio, the man who will do anything to protect her. He is courageous, and is also trying to find the answers to his questions and always puts his family first. I took great pleasure in seeing them both together. You can feel the tension that exists between them and even though we do not really have a love story, something grows gradually to become a tangible connection. It was very touching to see their feelings evolve and I’m curious to see what will happen thereafter for both because their love will not be easy and many obstacles face them. A story that should not exist between two persons from two people who do not like each other. But it’s also what brings spice to the story and I really hope they will eventually find a solution.

Many events take place in the story and even though some points are closed here, several others are barely started, and I’m sure they will have an impact later. Whether in relation to this mysterious police or the history between our two heroes or even the Oriana’s past. In any case, I can only recommend you to try this story that I loved. The author was full of ideas and her writing is a delight to read. It’s a fabulous mix of sea creatures, plots and intriguing characters. A must read!



20 thoughts on “The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney

  1. Sereia and selkies! Haven’t actually read any to do with selkie’s, so that should be fun. But I’m a bit hesitant when they’re lots of stories going on in one book that connects to a bigger picture, I do love them, but sometimes they can be really confusing. 🙁

  2. Glad you liked this one! I was so happy to discover a book that is a great mix of historical fiction and fantasy, set in a unique place featuring paranormal creatures we don’t usually get to see so often in this genre. I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel.

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