Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar
Steampunk Chronicles #2
Source: Received an e-ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed the first book The Girl in the Steel Corset and was super excited to pick up this second book, content in the knowledge that it would be a standalone book without a cliffhanger (I bet you could read this without having read the first although I don't recommend it), excited to have more character development, and intrigued to discover a steampunk America. Most of the steampunk books I've read have been set in London, which makes a journey to America standout.
We are quickly reunited with our main characters from the first book: Finley Jayne, a girl with incredible strength who is struggling to understand the two sides of her personality that almost turned her into another Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Griffin, wealthy duke who feels a great responsibility to those in his crew; Emily, sweet redheaded genius; and Sam, part man, part machine. There is also one other character, Jasper, whose capture ended the first book. He is being taken to America to repay a debt to a powerful gangster who is keeping Jasper's old love Mei in a clockwork collar that could strangle her at any moment. Now that we have our characters reintroduced, what about the rest?
The America that is presented to us is exciting, offering glimpses of the elite of society as well as the rough and tumble dangerous areas of New York City. It's all together in one place, the city that never sleeps. One awesome side-character is Wildcat, a gang leader who has a past with Jasper and has amply earned her nickname. Another character was a society miss desperate for a title who confounds the group's plans several times. Then there is the gang leader who is holding Jasper and Mei captive. He is quite ruthless but very far-thinking once you discover what his ultimate end-game has been.
I did think this was better paced than the first book, which I thought could have used some more help with editing. But I did grow a little weary of Finley thinking the same things over and over again about her split personalities, strength, and feelings toward Griffin (also would have taken more romance between Finley and Griffin although what we got was delicious). The writing was just as good as the first book, very absorbing and good at keeping me engaged. Every time I finished a chapter, I told myself that I probably had time to read the next too and would keep going because I had to know what would happen next! I also felt that Emily (and Sam to an extent) were pushed off to the side to make room for Jasper and Mei. Since I adore Emily, that made me sad.
I remember feeling like love triangles were a big element of the first book and it was something I commented upon in my review. For this book, that definitely takes a backseat. Emily reciprocates Sam's affections although it is not much elaborated upon and with Jasper out of the way, there aren't really any obstacles for them. Meanwhile with the roguish Jack Dandy in London, Finley and Griff only continue to deepen their feelings for each other despite their social divide and his tendency to treat her as something fragile in need of protection. Finley is driven to prove her strength to Griffin, resulting in several reckless instances.
If I had to guess what would happen in the third book (assuming this is meant to be a trilogy), I would say that all of the powers of the ether will come to a head, perhaps with all being revealed to the world. Additionally Jack Dandy will probably insert himself between Finley and Griffin for more tension although I hope they can make it work.
Overall: Another delightful entry in the Steampunk Chronicles with more of the adventure, romance, and fun that could be expected!
Cover: I am so happy that we get to see another beautiful dress in a bright, eye-catching color. Wish we got to see the bottom! I am also happy that we have a Chinese cover model and not someone who was white-washed so bravo to HarlequinTeen for a step in the right direction!