Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset
Author: Kady Cross
Series: Steampunk Chronicles, book 1
Genre: YA Fiction, Steampunk
Publisher: Harper Teen (5/31/2011)
Source: Review copy from publisher
“In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.
When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.”
The Girl in the Steel Corset is book one in the new Steampunk Chronicles series by Kady Cross. There is a prequel called The Strange Case of Finley Jayne. I recommend you to read the prequel before reading book one. The Strange Case of Finley Jayne will give you a better inside about “who is” Finley Jayne.
Finley Jayne is not a normal girl; she has a dark side that comes to the surface when she is upset or in danger. It’s something she cannot control and in some cases it has helped her escape from difficult situations, as it was when Lord Felix, the son of her employer wanted to take advantage of her; behavior for which the young Lord is famous for. But not only Lord Felix could not hurt her, he was taught a painful lesson by Finley. But after these events she is afraid or the consequences she might encounter and does the only thing she could think of doing, she runs away. In her haste escape she was rundown in the street by a velocycle operated by Griffin King, Duke Of Greythorne.
When Griffin realizes what just happened he goes to check on the girl (Finley) laying on the floor; she is unconscious and there is blood and some marks on her. Feeling responsible for her estate he decides to take her to his house, even though his friend and companion Sam Morgan disagrees with his decision.
When Finley wakes up in a strange place her darker side takes possession of her. But Griffin comes fearless to her side and helps her get it under control. Finley realizes Griffin is not normal like her, he has some kind of ability. Soon after this she meets the other residents of the house, Emily and Sam and notices they are all somehow special. Griffin offers Finley not just sanctuary but help controlling her duality. An offer she cannot resist. And with this offer comes the opportunity to belong to something bigger.
I liked Finley’ a lot. She is a very interesting character; she is the female version of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde. Mrs. Cross managed to work both personalities perfectly in the character making it as believable as this could possibly be.
Griffin is charming and with a good heart. He is the richest man (18 year old) in England but he is not an uptight Lord. He is caring, friendly and quiet attractive as well. He is a very easy character to like.
The supporting characters are a big part of the book. Emily, she is smart, but not your normal smart, more like a genius. She knows about everything, even medicine and engineering. She invents the most fantastic gadgets. She is also very sweet and caring. There is also Sam. Whom after and unfortunate accident has become a mandroid, part man, part machine, something he hasn’t come to terms with. He blames Griffin and Emily for saving his life and fixing him with mechanical parts. Sometimes I really wanted to smack him. We also met Jasper, an American cowboy; he is the suave one of the group, he is very flirtatious and funny. And last but not least Jack Dandy. Jack is the antithesis of Griffin. He is a known criminal with an underground network. He is mysterious and very attractive. He is the perfect representation of the bad boy you shouldn’t get involve with but end up head over hills with.
There is a love triangle as in many of the YA novels out there. It’s an interesting one because the guys are the opposite of each other. Each guy is the perfect match for one of Finley’s “sides”.
The friendships are well developed and play a very important roll in The Girl in the Steel Corset. The characters are all between 16 and 20 years old but they felt as if they were older than their alleged ages.
The world building is very detailed and innovative. There is the big steampunk factor but there is also a paranormal aspect involved. We see automatons, velocycles, aether, organites, ghosts, and more interesting components; all these make it a more pleasurable read. I also loved the description of the attires. I was imaging them and wanted more than one for myself. I also looooove Emily’s cat, I want one! The setting in London and the involving of the queen was very interesting too.
The pace is good but I have a little problem with the plot. From the beginning it was obvious who the bad guy was and what were his evil plans. Everything was so lay out there that there were not surprises. I would have been more interesting if there was some mystery involve. The end was a good one; it’s not a cliffhanger but explicitly indicates a new adventure is coming their way.
Overall I really liked The Girl in the Steel Corset. This is a book for steampunk lovers. I don’t think a person who doesn’t like the genre will like it. But if you haven’t had an opportunity to read something in this genre and like YA literature you should give it a chance. As I said before I recommend you to read the prequel first.
The next book is not yet announced but I’m looking forward to read it.
- "Don't cry, Treasure. You'll get me all wet and then I'll melt. I'm made of sugar, don't you know."
My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other books in the series
The Strange Case of Finley Jayne
The Girl in the Steel Corset (5/31/2011)
Other reviews Goodreads